Latest Windows Home Server Beta Enhances Mac Compatibility

It’s rare for fans of Apple to consider incorporating a Windows server into their home setups. However, the benefits of doing so might be more appealing than you think, especially with the enhanced Mac support in the latest beta version of Microsoft’s Windows Home Server OS, as reported by Engadget. As someone who has transitioned from Unix to Mac, I’ve been using one of HP’s MediaSmart servers for nearly a year. It integrates seamlessly with my Mac devices, thanks to some clever enhancements from HP.

Here’s a closer look at how I’ve integrated this system into my home. I’ve set up iTunes to run directly on the server, which I control via my iPhone.

This setup allows me to stream music to my living room or kitchen through an Airport Express, independent of whether my MacBook is awake or asleep. Additionally, HP offers a complimentary iPhone app that streams media from the server to my phone over the internet, even on a 3G connection.

What’s more, the server acts as the host for my Time Machine backups. My MacBook backs up data to the server hourly, similar to how it would with a Time Capsule, but with added redundancy across multiple hard disks for enhanced data protection. This feature is crucial for me as a self-proclaimed backup enthusiast, providing peace of mind that my data is safe even in the event of a hardware failure. This functionality is partly due to HP’s software, though it seems Microsoft may integrate similar features into the base OS in the future.

The storage capabilities of the MediaSmart server are virtually limitless.

It includes four SATA drive bays, three USB ports, and an eSATA jack, allowing for potential expansion up to 20TB or more. This is a significant advantage over many of Apple’s offerings, which often lack such extensive expansion options. For many Mac users needing more storage, the alternative has often been to opt for a Drobo device. When I purchased my MediaSmart, Drobo primarily offered basic models without smart server capabilities, which led me to choose the HP device.

While the MediaSmart server excels in many areas, it does have its limitations. For instance, it struggles to run the Air Video Server effectively due to its modest CPU power, though HP does offer models with more robust processing capabilities.

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Richard

Ryan is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing insightful and engaging content to Apple enthusiasts around the world. With a deep understanding of Apple products like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, Ryan offers readers a unique perspective on the latest news, updates, and trends. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex topics accessible to all. When he’s not writing, Ryan enjoys exploring new tech and staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving world of Apple.