Microsoft on July 21 will make Windows Home Server Power Pack 1 available for download on its Web site, and will start automatic rollouts of the update by early August.
"This is an incremental release [with] a range of enhancements," said Joel Sider, senior product manager for the WHS team.
Upgrades include support for home PCs running 64-bit Windows Vista, Sider said. Users will also be able to attach an external drive and back up the home server itself for "personal disaster recovery in case of fire, flood, or whatever else," he said.
Microsoft has also enhanced the remote access capabilities of WHS. "With Home Server, you can log in from anywhere into your personalized Web site and access Home Server, upload content, and give friends and family access," Sider said. "This process has also been streamlined to make it easier to upload batches of pictures."
The device also includes more efficient power consumption and support for Japanese and Chinese languages, he said.
Microsoft in June sent out a patched release candidate of WHS PP1 after users encountered file corruption problems. Monday's full release "resolves the data corruption issue that was reported by a few users," Sider said.
Power Pack 1 will also jump on the third-party application bandwagon with the release of a new SDK (software development kit ) for the development of WHS add-ons, Sider said.
Microsoft released the first version of its SDK last spring (April 2007), Sider said, and developers have thus far introduced more than 60 add-ons.
Among the applications are: WebGuide, which lets users remotely access, listen to, watch, and stream music, photos and videos stored on WHS; mControl from Embedded Automation, which allows for home automation and control; and Whiist, which provides Web site management.
Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard will roll out an update for its HP MediaSmart Server in conjunction with Power Pack 1, Sider said.
"They're doing an update for their system to take advantage of Power Pack 1 and also deliver some security software from McAfee for the server itself and also some additional streaming capabilities [to] broaden streaming options around the house," he said.
The HP MediaSmart update will happen "very soon" via automatic updates, Sider said.