Windows Home Server 2011 “Vail” RC Released Without Drive Extender

Microsoft today announced the immediate availability of the Windows Home Server 2011 “Vail” Release Candidate to the general public – the first build of the platform released following Microsoft’s controversial decision to strip the product’s core storage technology, Drive Extender.

The removal of the technology reduces the suitability of the platform for Windows Home Server’s target consumers. Key features including the ability to create storage pools from a variety of hard drives, as well as redundant data protection, both present in the currently shipping version of the product, have now been removed. Users will subsequently have to rely on more complex technologies such as RAID, external backup or other third-party solutions to offer the data protection required for the digital media stored on Windows Home Server 2011. Check out our look at life without Drive Extender in A Fresh Look at Storage in Windows Home Server 2011 “Vail”.

Following Microsoft’s announcement in December regarding the removal of Drive Extender, thousands of existing Windows Home Server owners have threatened to abandon the platform, or refrain from upgrading. OEM support for Windows Home Server 2011 also appears to be minimal, with only Acer and system builder Tranquil PC pledging support late last year. Microsoft’s announcement did not mention any new hardware manufacturers seeking to offer Windows Home Server 2011-based solutions, and there’s silence as regards existing partners LaCie, ASUS and Lenovo. The industry at large may well be watching carefully to gauge user reaction to the Release Candidate.

Storage aside, Windows Home Server 2011 offers a number of improvements over its predecessor. The product sits atop Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, the very latest edition of Microsoft’s server platform, which offers greatly improved driver support, as well as the ability to backup the server itself – both key missings from the Windows Server 2003-era first edition of WHS. Elsewhere, remote web access has been greatly improved with a new widget-based user interface plus support for mobile devices, whilst a Silverlight-based media streaming application also ships with the platform. Support for Apple Mac OSX computers is available for the first time (although Time Machine support remains broken from our initial testing) and a new Launchpad client application will offer fast access to Windows Home Server 2011’s key features.

However, the removal of Drive Extender has left a rather nasty taste in many prospective user’s mouths and with an ever improving range of competitive offers in prosumer storage from the likes of Drobo, Netgear, Synology, LaCie, QNAP and others the question remains whether Microsoft have made a grave error in killing Windows Home Server’s core differentiator. Whilst Redmond will be glad to close the door on Vail development, the community will now look to OEMs and third-parties to see whether integrated or after-market solutions will be made available to restore the storage magic of Windows Home Server.

The new build is available to download now from Microsoft Connect.



    1. Advanced Format is directly supported by the underlying OS, so it would no longer present a problem.

  1. Not really interesting as a home server without drive extender technology. I won't upgrade as RAID is a messy, costly, more technical solution. WTF Microsoft? Your customers, and most vocal advocates, have been loud and clear about their interest and need for the drive extender technolgy in a home server product – its really unbelieveable that you announce a release candidate without even an explanation. I suspect Home Server 2011 will be the last version of the product. You simply can't win if you are this arrogant toward your customers.

  2. I can't understand why they would remove it when it's known to be such a popular feature. Severaly friends who run windows home servers (okay only 3 using windows for this purpose) won't be upgrading if DE isn't featured – "what's the point?" I reckon that translates to a lot of others judging from a quick google!

  3. Microsoft has now lost me as a home server customer, along with whoever I would have recommended WHS to.

  4. I've never heard of de-featuring a core capability of a product — did these guys even ask customers what they wanted? This is one customer who is walking away (for good!)

  5. Ditto, I will be tearing down the WHS box and installing Linux just as I have recently done to my desktop. Windows is history.

  6. I agree with the rest of the users, without Drive Extender this product is almost worthless. The revision will probably go down the same path as "Windows ME". I've been a really big supporter Microsoft, this won't be a win for you.
    There is some really cool new features, but the primary element is no longer there. 🙁

  7. Microsoft has, once again, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory! WHS was, for a short while, an excellent reason for sticking with Microsoft's operating system platform, primarily because of its innovative Drive Extender technology. I even had hopes that DE would be expanded into other appropriate product lines. Because of this, I will not be upgrading further and will be eventually migrating back to the Unix/Apple operating system platforms. Both HP and Microsoft have lost me and my community of users permanently – there has to be at least an appearance of vendor loyalty to develop and maintain a loyal customer base. If they don't care about me and my customers, then we certainly don't care about them.

  8. No DE, no MCE = No Deal!!! Microsoft you have killed a product that was before its time a second time. The first time was the v1 release and no marketing!!! Now that you have a following that can market your product for you, you have gutted the product of the most import features to a consumer. WHS v1 wil run in my house as long as possible and never be upgraded!!

  9. So, what's the point in this product now? Honestly, I haven'y tried the beta, as I do not have the time nor passion to test their product, so I don't know if there is any killer apps in v.2. If I'm forced to upgrade one day, and have to use raid, I'd much rather buy a W7 Home OEM license and share my folders out…. and maybe buy a decent multiple-license backup tool. So what would WHS v.2 offer over that, outside of maybe an included backup tool? I'm confused as to what market MS is hoping to appeal to now.

    I guess we were all hoping MS would do a 180 on us, but that does not appear to be the case.

    I'm sticking with WHS v1 until it becomes an inconvenience.

    1. Mega dittos on V1. I read that MS has pulled money from WHS and is in the process of killing it. I feel sorry for the developers who I'm sure spent many a day trying to create a wonderful product then management said, no we aren't going that way any more.

  10. Ok. I have an EX470 and DE is a very convenient feature. I agree, RAID is more complex. But even without DE, WHS has such great features that make consolidating data and backing up individual machines around the house so easy. I redirected all of my docs, media and pics to the server, and then I have Carbonite running on it – backing up a ton of stuff. TV shows that I record on a workstation are automatically copied to WHS so I can watch anywhere in the house.

    What other product does all of this as seemlessly?

    The bigger issue here is HP's getting out of this market. Will WHS2011 be solely the domain of the DIY? Or will a new manufacturer come up with a $500 box with sufficiently raided drives and WHS2011 preinstalled to pick up the slack?

    1. Don't count on Carbonite, lost a lot of needed info through them and no explination. Wast of money and fell ripped off.

  11. Microsoft obviously have enough money to employ people to produce a product that won't sell.

    May be they're using Windows Home Server to train people up for working on Windows Server?

  12. Without DE it has no use nor value to me. I will not be upgrading, instead I will try to sell my version 1 if I can.
    WHS is dead to me now.

  13. Looks like I'll be sticking to V1 for a good while longer then.

    My home built WHS box is basically just a pile of hand-me-down kit and has 3 totally different hard drives in it. The cost of this device is basically the cost of WHS itself.

    In over 2 years, it has never crashed and the only time it has been rebooted is when an update or upgrade makes it necessary.

    How on earth will I manage to upgrade to V2 without spending a considerable amount (in comparative terms) getting it to work?

    I can't see Linux dealing with my Windows PC backups as well as WHS so there's no chance of me moving but without drive extender, any advantages of Vail has been totally wiped out.

  14. WTF ?
    and I just upgraded my WHS from a Nforce 4 motherboard to a AMD760G without having to reinstall the system. new motherboard, new CPU, new GPU… and just updated the drivers. WHS v1 rocks 🙂

  15. This is absurd!

    I have been an MCSE for years. I have been a loyal MS guy since the beginning. I have never migrated away from Microsoft. Sure, I felt sorry for them when they screwed up Millinum and Vista but I just stayed on XP sp3 and waited for 7.

    But now, I can honesty say that I feel hatred for Microsoft for the first time. I love my Windows Home Server and was really looking for an upgrade. But, to strip out DE is like a MS rep coming up to my face and cussing me out and then punching me has hard has he/she can in my face…and walking away.

    From the unbelivable amounts of comments on the web on this…it is evident that everyone loves their home server and feels that they have been disrespected by this decision. I believe that the passion for this particular product leaves EVERY current WHS v1 user feeling exactly the same way as I do….cussed at, punched, and walked away from with indifference.

    I have NEVER been willing to abandon Microsoft and look for alternatives until now. If I was the decision makers at MS…this reality (of their hard-core supporters) would scare me more than anything!

  16. For me DE with file duplication was the single most important feature that Windows Home Server offered. I've already got a QNAP system with 5x1TB disks in Raid 6 being used as my central data storage system for they 5 PCs on my network. WHS vs 1 was albeit with the earlier faults, what I wanted as a backup system for all my computers, plus other data storage uses. With version 2 on the horizon I decided that as 64bit was the favoured architecture that it was time to rebuild my server – new motherboard and cpu plus a few extra disks would come in handy – I now have a much improved and expensive platform (9 hard disks!) with nowhere to go now that DE is no longer offerered – exceedingly poor show is a polite way of putting it!

  17. Looks like i'll be riding this existing version until the wheels fall off or I find a better alternative. You were halfway there, Microsoft. You admitted that you missed the mark on this one. The least you could have done was make it right instead of bailing on it all together. Now I have to figure out what to do with a 10 Terabyte drive pool. Use to run FreeNAS but wasn't overly thrilled with the network performance on it. Looks like I might be switching back though because I haven't seen anything else even remotely close in my opinion.Ya just had to go and do it again!!!! :'(

  18. This is a "downgrade" of an excellent product. Without drive extender WHS is a dead duck. It’s hard to believe the stupidity & arrogance of MS at times. I will be sticking with V1 for as long as I can.

  19. Wow, what a stupid move. It's like Ferrari deciding to only sell cars with 2 liter four cylinder engines. Why bother?

  20. I plan to leave my WHS box running for backups, but all other uses I plan to migrate to a linux box (Amahi being the primary candidate so far) with Greyhole, linux's version of drive-extender. I see no viable reason to upgrade now or in the future.

  21. No Drive Extender, no upgrade for me. That was the primary reason I selected the technology, and was hoping to upgrade due to some of the bugs in the prior version. Can’t see how MS plans to sell this by removing the one feature that really set them apart and made adding internal or external storage to the existing pool ridiculously easy.

  22. I will stay with version 1 until it dies and then move to Amahi which just announced they have the Linux version of Drive Extender and have made leaps and bounds on improvement and apps. They offer a great alternative to WHS and without DE it's simply a no brainer. Their install is very user friendly and you can easily install, manage, and upgrade without knowing any Linux. Talk about someone listening to their customers they do it very well.

  23. WHAT???? WTF is M$ is doing? I build my own legal home server platform and the only reason is that disk extension was so easy and now MS is leaving this concept??? So no upgrade and for as long its working and supported I will stick to it and later I will look for een open source alternative.
    What a shame and waste of money….

  24. Whats the real reason that they are pulling Drive Extender? Is it really technical in the sense that it somehow messes up their strategy to merge Code with SBS 2008 sometime in the future? Is that really it? I heard that explanation a while ago. However if that is it, than why not have future versions of Windows Server 2008 or Small Business Server eventually evolve to the drive extender technology?

    Think about it.

    We have automated so many things in our lives. Computers now a days are easily powerful enough and intelligent enough to handle all sorts of mundane and technical tasks that make our lives easier. Therefore why isn't the goal at MS evolving to an automated drive system that can also self heal itself?

    In my opinion that was what drive extender attempted to do, and in my opinion did very well – right off the bat. Sure, it probably needed improvements behind the scenes with the problem of drive letters for 3rd party applications but is this or any other technical problem worthy of throwing the baby out with the bath water?

    Am I missing something when virtually all consumers for this products target market is demanding this evolution? When even small business and larger IT servers in the future possibly evolving to this higher level of self awareness whether MS does it or not?

    One logical reason that MS is not "co-operating" with the needs of the market is that WHS was probably cutting into its lucrative software server business market that needs expensive fees and services and licenses, and has a higher turnover of Hard-Drives since everything needs to be matched up perfectly in a Raid system.

    In otherwords the license fees it collected, and server software costs of anywhere from $1000-$4000 compared to WHS of $200 just did not make them much money as this product was not crossing into the small business market because it could be used in place of there more expensive and complicated products. Also I do feel that it served to take the wind out of competitors like Linux and NAS servers from getting a foot hold into the market as WHS ver 1 was more suited to first time server consumers. Now that we are trained in the benefits and the art of client server structures, MS is going to eventually try to migrate us away from these cheap solutions that served the market so well and start getting us to fork over more money.

    Thus in removing DE is MS yielding to the industry's interests to increase revenues by making it more difficult to re-use older technologies and drives. I ask this because it would seem beneficial and have a positive spin off effect as removing DE increases the profits of third party developers, Hard Drive& Controller Manufactures and expensive Consultants & IT departments.

    In other words re-usability is out. Recycling your older drives is a sin and since you are not going out to purchase TWO Tera byte drives instead of just adding ONE and keeping your older smaller drives when you need to increase storage space!

    While this might be considered good for business it is NOT good for the state of evolution in computer hardware, our Environment, peoples extreme time constraints in trying to run a business and ultimately MS reputation. But it IS good for there bank accounts!

    OK for everyone who keeps wondering WHY they are doing this I hope I have at least given some logical conclusions, because removing drive extender just does NOT add up from a USERS perspective – BUt it makes a lot of $ense when you think of the cost of KEEPING it to MS.

  25. Maybe, just maybe, one or more of the RAID controller manufacturers will see this as a market opportunity and implement their version of DE in their hardware.

    It could happen…

  26. I was looking forward to veil until they killed DE, WHS won me over from NAS devices because of DE and all its streaming features no theres absolutely no reason to upgrade especially as theres no MC in veil.
    I think i will stick with my V1 until i find something more appropriate, use a mac mini server for plex on the tv which will also back-up as time machine and have a remote account which will make my home folder work/sync with the server allot like those cloud services like does.
    This will also have the benefit of offering me vpn and all the other services i can use for development.
    The only hope is because of the popularity of the mini/mini server whs and the problems with veil is that apple will make the new lion server more home server friendly and allow it to work as their mobileme does but without using their services and store everything on your server, this would then work with computers and iphones/ipad which would be a bonus.
    The only problem then is finding a storage sollution after whs1 kicks the bucket.

  27. I’ve been running WHS since the original betas became available. Despite it’s problems most of which were fairly quickly corrected it has run flawlessly on my Dell 2850. I’ve enjoyed the reliability of using SCSI drives with the drive extender and all 6 of my drives are 300 gb but different models. I believe that I too prefer the extended over a raid. Raid is easy to implement on the Dell but drive extended has proven more reliable than a second Dell 2850 I have running W2003 Server. I have lost two drives in that box. I’ll ignore this new Vail release as the present WHS has been uber stable for my use… mainly photo file and video storage.

  28. I can't really see myself updating to the new version DE was the main point of WHS as far as I was concerned.

    I've moved over to Linux now for site hosting as I've found that to be more stable. The only thing I use WHS for now was media streaming and backups. Media streaming can easily be handled by my desktop pc and backups in the future I will look at moving online.

    Living in Australia and with all of the floods and hurricanes, etc. onsite does not look so good anymore.

  29. Looks at new unRAID server.
    Looks over at old Mediasmart server.
    Shoots Mediasmart server and dumps it in the river.

    As most have already said, without DE WHS is a poor pathetic shadow of it’s self and no longer has a perpouse.
    I’ve moved to a Linux based solution and couldn’t be happier.
    The only thing my WHS does now is act as a dowload box.

  30. What was the name of the new downgrade? Oh yeah… Windows Home Server “FAIL”. No upgrade in my future…

  31. I wont upgrade simple as that, and if Windows Home server one wont be supported then I will go for different solutions. This was a bad move MS.

  32. V1 has lots of shortcomings for me: lousy support for mp3, FLAC, OGG tags over the network – half of my music is invisible through media center connector, inability to leverage shared calendaring without a lot of unsupported effort, very tiny set of add-ins to extend capabilities, external web pages unsupported without a lot of futzing. But it gets my backups done and provides good storage capabilities at a low cost of entry. I'll stick with V1 until it's no longer supported. No Vail upgrade for me, either, especially since my MSDN license is gone.

  33. Wow if amahi runs as well as it does then its time to ditch WHS all together :). Now is there any guides on how to install amahi on a mediasmart server?

  34. Yep reversse engineer it until you can't sell it seems like a real smart business plan.

    I'll find another solution, I bet it won't be a Microsoft product ever again.

  35. Microsoft just couldn't stand having a good product everybody liked right from the start. So, they broke it. Now they feel much better. Order has been restored to the Universe.

  36. As a user and reseller, I and my customers will not be upgrading.

    I'm starting to crack some books on Apache and Linux.

  37. No DE No VAIL for me I will continue with my 470 with V1 which still does it all for me. When it dies I will look to the market for a better solution. Maybe move to free NAS and build my own.

  38. Add me to the list. No DE. No Vail upgrade. I will stay with V1 until I need to transition to something else

  39. Umm

    this is just 'Windows Server 2008 R2' now . . . . It is not WHS!


    Will keep my Media Smart Server thanks

  40. Stupid decision in my mind. I’m more than upset
    Will be running v.1 unless DE is returned back to the code name “Fail”

  41. I've got 3 WHS V1 boxes running and 3 NAS boxes running. WHS is a product that was getting me to move away from my NAS setups. I will still run NAS boxes (I use these to backup the WHS boxes as I am uber concerned about retaining my stuff in my packrat world). I also run slimserver on my NAS boxes right now, although I may ultimately shift it to one of my more powerful WHS boxes.

    I will not upgrade to Vail, I was testing Vail before DE got dropped. I will test it no longer as the sole feature of OS backup is just a tidbit feature (actually should have been easy to implement and should be part of V1 as a powerpack setup) when compared to the loss of DE which was an uber compelling feature of WHS. The curret methodology of storage in Vail just does not make sense in a home setup to have certainty of file retention.

    It is just a shame that MS is abandoning a core feature within WHS V1 for the next version, they will experience even fewer sales than they had with original WHS. WHS rocked, Vail does not.

  42. Glad I got my WHS box before MS stabbed it in the back. I figure I'll just use it till it dies, by then Google will likely offer more Terabytes in the cloud than I'll ever fill up. Till then:

    Vail = Fail

  43. Like most people here, I used WHS as my home server, and also like most people I was very disappointed to see drive extender dropped.

    About a month ago I switched to Amahi (runs on top of Fedora) and it has proved to be terrific experience. Anyone moving from WHS will have a bit of a learning curve if you're not used to Linux, but it's well worth persevering over a weekend to set it up. It's free, out performs WHS and has GreyHole included in the install which gives you the same sort of functionality as drive extender had (and that's just for starters when it comes to features).

  44. honestly they should just kill the platform or promise a 2012 relase with DE back in, or a V3 with it back in to at least keep all the V1 guys looking forward to something, better to wait and offer a good product than to even try to release one with this much push back from so many users, many of whom also installed this product for friends, families and small buisiness. I personally can wait for a V3 if I knew it was coming, but if I move in the meantime, I am gone forever, probably with many of my fellow V1 users.

  45. I forgot to add what happened with Windows ME, lots of hype, but as soon as the "techie" dealt with it a bit and realized just how bad it was, everyone (that I knew at least) was rolling back to W98, similar but on a lesser scale going back from Vista to XP. This is such an obvious non starter I really don't think it will ever get released.

  46. No upgrade without DE. I'll spend the money on an UnRAID server. Telling me I have to set-up a RAID array to expand my home storage is like saying "please look around and see if somebody else is selling what you want".

  47. A mystery and a regret.

    A mystery as I don't understand to which audience this version of Windows Server (Vail) is targeted to ?

    A regret that neither the documented opinion of Terry (among others) nor the wishes of hundreds of WHS users were considered with anything more than contempt.

    It's a shame, and a BIG failure for Microsoft.

  48. Without DE WHS is worthless… DE was the main reason for me to choose WHS; and now other products such as QNAP and Synology are much more interesting…

    RIP WHS!

  49. I've been waiting for over a YEAR to upgrade to Vail, and finalize my WHS server build. Hearing this "news" COMPLETELY turns me off to purchasing this new software from M$. I guess it doesn't surprise me tho, as M$ has been slowly losing it's handle on the software needs of the world, and this is just one more example of their 1970's intelligence and business savy.

    OK, Google! Your turn.

    Step up to the plate. It's time for YOU to step in; FIRE the existing coach, and hit one of your typical, no brainer… Winning Home runs!

    And M$ wonders why so many people pirate their software… Come ON M$!! Are you REALLY that stupid??

    NO one wants to pay $$$ for products that don't meet their needs.

    BING that!… Ooops, I meant, GOOGLE it…

  50. difficult to think of anything to say that hasn't been said but a linux solution will be my choice when V1 dies. The real value of WHS for me was its ability to be set up and leave running with no intervention for months. Its hard enough having multiple PC's and laptops around the house with family members seemingly doing there upmost to kill them without having a server to administer too. Run out of drive space? no problem add a drive tell whs about it and go back to whatever you were doing before.

  51. The real reason they pulled DE was only because they wanted to sell a clone of WHS into small businesses as it had some awesome features for them too, and they then found that some business software didn't work with DE. So it's no more and no less of a reason.
    Well blow me down if the business users get what they want, there is no way they could have two different products was there, and well the home user, whom I am more than 100% certain out-number every business in the world 10 fold, get screwed, again. Shows where their sales goals lie doesn't it. Consumer? What is a consumer????

  52. I have a WHS V1 and a Netgear NAS running here. If Microsoft release Vail without DE then it just means that I will increase the size of the Netgear NAS and just keep the WHS until Microsoft no longer support it.

    Why doesn't Microsoft listen to it's customers….???

  53. I tried to get my friends to get their own server. I'm now sorry that I did that since this is an utter fail. There is currently no affordable solution to support my currents usage of DE. I won't be upgrading nor will I be recommending vail to anyone.

  54. No DE=No Vail. I will stick with WHS until it dies and then move to something else, smooth move Microslop, lazy bastards. Vail=Vista, what a flop!

  55. This is the dumbest move MS has made for awhile. It would make much more sense for MS to provide an improved alternative while continuing to support DE. As everyone has said, this the main reason most of us bought WHS. OK, so MS has just taken away the reason for new customers to buy the product?! MS needs to be reorganized, the WHS product manager needs to be FIRED, and Ballmer needs to go. I went with WHS instead of Linux (even though I have UNIX experience in my past) because I thought that MS would be able to integrate WHS better as a home server. Now they are taking away a core capability?

    APPLE WOULD NEVER MAKE A MISTAKE LIKE THIS, no wonder Apple is soaring while MS is floundering. MS is far to inbred they need fresh leadership. I held MS stock for 11 years and it went nowhere, this kinda thing is the reason why. Glad I sold it all back in December.

    I'm just gonna find some kinda NAS and call it a day…Bye WHS

  56. Just read up on Amahi and that is the way i will be going, to hell with Microsoft. Amahi supports everything i use WHS for and then some. I have been a Windows user since 3.1, and with this move M$ is making me go elsewhere….Real smooth MicroDope.

  57. I have been running WHS v1 for over 2 years and use it primarily for media/computer backup and to store my computer repair business docs and utilities. I have found great utility in this product and have been talking it up with several of my small business clients who all need backup solutions. I am very disappointed to find out that Microsoft turned a deaf ear to those of us who are closest to the product and have been depending on its features, especially DE. It's hard to believe that MS would remove one of the most important feature of WHS. MS, you just lost a lot of future WHS sales! I and my customers will not pay a penny for WHS Vail.

    1. Dan,
      I am in a similar position but have experience implementing v1 at a number of small businesses. Not having DE does not kill the deal for me; in fact DE presented problems with SQL-based software. The regular backups with versioning, remote access, shared files and 10-20 seats makes it an ideal platform for a small business – compare that to the cost of SBS. Upset about DE? I haven't given vail a good look, but at the moment assume, based on SBS 2008, one can have a small, fast C: drive and use dynamic disks for the data, which is pretty simple to configure. (computer dr in chicago area).

  58. I have read some pages of new Windown Home Server 2011 and see it is much complaining that the drive extender is gone in this new version.
    But it's not the end of the world … it's probably some tricksters who can create an add in package that works in new home server and brings back the drive extender.
    Give it some time …
    Software RAID-5 is an option but takes time to build up.
    Anyway … it is possible to put in a raid card and run raid-5 or 6 on multiple drives.

    1. It is not an option. Without DE built in there is no easy upgrade path to Vail. I was looking forward to update my server and not having to worry about transferring all my data to a new system. Now if for some reason I wanted to upgrade to Vail (which I now don’t) i would need to build a whole new system and then transfer ALL my data to it.

      No thank you, MS really blowed it big time. Makes me wonder if they moved the Vista management to the Vail team. They are making the same stupid mistakes.

  59. I currently use WHS v1 with over 20TB of data stored and can find no alternative under $10000 to do what I am doing. I, like many other people, where really hoping for an 11th hour rescue of the DE, however disappointment was what we recieved.

    I guess Steve Bahlmer looking into it consisted of …nothingness.

    I like the rest here on this comments i will not upgrade until the very last …

  60. Potentially for MS, WHS if a direct threat to their other systems with similar functionality which they did not foresee when the product first was introduced.

    If you can use it to back other servers in the small to medium sized business market then WHS is a direct threat to them and their partners and that’s why the decision to remove DE was made I’m guessing, and not for any “technical” reason.

    Of course WHS was not actively marketed from the outset for this very same reason as by the release date the conflict with other MS products had just been realised.

    Whilst there is no technical limit to drives that you can add in WHS 1 its not been verified to work with “odd drives” over a certain number, I think eight or nine was the limit at some stage.

    Of course affordable individual hard drive capacities have increased enormously since WHS was introduced and by the end of this year (2011) 4Tb drives will be in the mainstream.


  61. Implementing a Raid solution in software (most home use motherboards) is not any type of solution as moving to a Raid solution requires dedicated hardware when utilising many hard drives, and conformity. WHS 1 solved that problem but of course now they have to backtrack as it is going to hit their bottom line big-time.

    MS has shot themselves in the foot, another vendor will pick up the torch which will from MS point of view be even more disastrous as their very own “high end” server products will be decimated at the back end.

    Good thinking MS… I feel a change at the top is needed, and soon.

  62. I'm upset with no DE as well but c'mon; Vista = Win7 and Apple wouldn't bother with a home server market at all because they would rather you just get bigger ipods and use itunes. DE getting removed is old news now, I'm surprised how many people are reacting to that, I guess you guys had some sort of faith dispite MS officials clearly saying it was gone.

  63. I too am disappointed but I'm not surprised. Think about it.

    M$ = Enterprise
    Apple = Consumer

    And NEVER the two should meet. There will be folks who say "What about XBOX360?" I say that is an aboration. M$ has never done well in the consumer market and won't. WHS is a consumer focused product. A potential 150M market for providing backup in homes isn't something they are really after. Who knows why? It's just frustrating.

    I've been wanting to re-build my WHS and it looks like I'll just do it with WHS1. I don't want to go through the hassle of RAID.

    Please refrain from using the word idiot in this thread. That is actually a complement to whomever made the decision.

    1. Really? So I buy the controller, install it in my current system, connect the drives, install the new WHS, and everything is there? I don’t think so.

      I am not up to building a new system. Too expensive.

      If Vail still had DE then there would have been hope for a straight upgrade path. Without DE there is not one.

      Buy a couple… money falls from trees around your neighborhood it seems.

  64. like others: excellent excuse not to upgrade and stick with whs1. it works and that's all that counts.

  65. Now I have 4 x 2tb that i cant use. NO DE. What you make Windows 7, and you think your the cream of the crop again. Serenity Now…… Microsoft

  66. No update for me. Without DE, WHS indeed is dead on arrival. What's even worse, though: MS has managed to shatter my trust in their ability to even develop technically advanced products. Giving up on a great software because you simply can't make it work reliably is a shame.

    Well, no use crying over spilt milk. I'll stick with V1 for now, which works very well, but the next thing won't be coming from Microsoft, i guess…

  67. I have no interest in upgrading now. Will run V1 until it dies. Without DE, what's the point? That's what WHS is all about. We are not the users they want. They are definitely catering to corporate only. Will probably look at Linux after V1 ceases to serve my needs.

  68. Seems like a strategy driven by "Cloud" computing. They simply don't want to make it easy for people to have access to large volumes of local reliable storage. We saw this coming. I now own a QNAP TS-809 8*2TB and it works flawlessly. Maybe I'll get another.

  69. What really ticks me off about the whole DE thing is that I have Beta tested on a small form factor using three 1 TB drives and I have reinstalled the newer editions and now in anticipation for the release of "Vail", they throw in a kink that will ruin this product for many users . I also have been buying hardware for a new build. I have purchased a $250 cpu (which by the way is useless as well, as it is a 2nd gen i7 that I have to return anyway ) and a P67 Motherboard , four 2 TB drives and a new 4U rack case for the final build. It looks like I might just have to keep my Version 1 WHS and build a nice HTPC with the parts after Intel works out the Sandy Bridge fiasco. The problem is, I ALREADY HAVE A VERY NICE AND POWERFUL HTPC!!!

  70. Microsoft needs to rename the project "FAIL" instead.

    I have spent thousands of dollars over the years on their software and products like VISTA, XP , Word , WHS and the list goes on.
    They just do not listen to their customers. I hate raid and it will not be easy for the people who do not understand how to set it up and maintain it. Like my mother and a lot of my friends. Also the last time I used Raid I needed a floppy, who the hell has those anymore or a floppy drive for that .

  71. I agree with every sentiment expressed. I'm using v.1 until I no longer can. Hopefully by then someone will have stepped in with a solution as good as v1 was. Microsoft… wow!!!

  72. Likewise no upgrade form V1 for me either. A number of guys at work have put up with me raving about WHS V1, but I'm now saying don't bother hanging out for V2.

  73. I love my WHS box, in fact I might even say that I can't live with out it. BUT, I can without reservation say, that without Drive Extender, I will not be upgrading to the next version of WHS! Vail is now pretty much completely useless to me. Sad thing for MS is that I was a guaranteed customer. I have even sold many friends and family on various WHS solutions. Why in the world would MS do this? I guess I will have to look elsewhere to spend my money once the old HP MSS ex470 gives out. (Let's hope that MS pulls its head out of its hole before that happens!)

  74. Microsoft is totally off base with this release. From the start, Vail's media center abilities were week. Looks like all of the budget was spent on their Silverlight music streaming app. The removal of DE makes it useless at worst, and at best, inferior to it predecessor.

    I've been an IT consultant for more than15 years. In that time, I've been a outspoken avocate of Microsoft products. Recently, I've been working a good deal with Apple products, and while I don't agree with the "closed box" approach, the marriage of hardware and software does have its appeal.

    Microsoft needs to learn that it's not the only game in town on any technology. Nor does it have a competiive advantage on most, other than marketshare, and if WHS 2011 is any indication, this will continue to erode.

    Very dissapointed. Looks like Amati might be for me. Bring on the open source.

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