Windows Home Server ships this month

Server will be available Aug. 27; pricing not announced

Microsoft Friday set the availability date for its upcoming Windows Home Server software as August 27.

Although the company did not trumpet the date, an update to the Support Lifecycle section of Microsoft's Web site listed the release as the last Monday of the month. Noted Windows blogger Long Zheng, who writes the istartedsomething blog, first reported the Lifecycle listing.

Windows Home Server (WHS) was released to manufacturing just over a month ago, on July 16. With that milestone, the code was handed off to Microsoft's internal distribution teams as well as the hardware partners, which will unveil ready-to-go systems later this year. Those OEM partners include Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Iomega, LaCie and Medion.

No partner has yet disclosed a ship date or final price for a WHS-based server, nor has Microsoft discussed pricing for the system builder version, which it will sell as software-only to smaller computer dealers and hobbyists. The latter can then use the system builder edition to install WHS on existing PCs.

WHS, which is based on Windows Server 2003 code, provides automatic backup; disk, folder and file restore; file and printer sharing, and remote Web-based access for up to 10 Windows XP or Vista PCs connected by a cabled or wireless network.

Microsoft did not immediately reply to a request for comment and additional information on the date and WHS's pricing.

Although Microsoft has been coy at times about the ship date for WSH, last month Microsoft senior product manager Joel Sider said the first hardware wave would probably hit in late September or early October. In January, when Microsoft unveiled WHS at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Steven VanRoekel, the director of Windows server solutions, said the software would roll out "in the back-to-school-ish time."

WHS's on-time release is news only because Microsoft has had trouble shipping software on schedule lately. Windows Vista's delays have been well-documented, but the most recent push-back was by the company's Macintosh team, which two weeks ago said it would not wrap up Office 2008 for Mac this year as it had originally promised.

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