Build It Yourself: Windows Home Server System (Part 1)

You could spend $500 or more for a ready-made Windows Home Server system, but you don’t necessarily have to. Microsoft’s Windows Home Server, previously reviewed, is an operating system specially optimized to handle home network storage chores. It provides a central place to store and share data, and provides a convenient way to access files remotely when you’re away from home. Windows Home Server will automatically backup multiple PCs for you, and it can monitor the overall health of your PCs and network.

The ideal way to get Windows Home Server is to buy a device that already comes with the operating system installed (HP’s MediaSmart Server is one such example). These specialized and compact storage appliances offer relatively low power consumption in addition to their small size, as well as convenience features like externally accessible drive bays for price tags that start north of $500.

But you don’t necessarily need to shell out for a pricey new piece of hardware to enjoy the benefits of WHS. A more budget-friendly option is to buy an OEM copy of the Windows Home Server software— which is available for around $100 (recently reduced from $180) from various online retailers including,, and— and install it on your own spare PC.

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