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HP's Windows Home Server box goes on sale

HP's Windows Home Server box goes on sale

The first hardware boxes with Microsoft's Windows Home Server went on sale worldwide, as the company announces more partner support for its first server OS aimed specifically for home use.

Hewlett-Packard's MediaSmart Server is set to be available for pre-order on Amazon.com, Bestbuy.com, Buy.com, Circuitcity.com and CompUSA.com. Online retailers will ship the product to customers later in the month, when it also will be available on site at other retail outlets, Microsoft said. HP is selling the product in two versions -- a 500GB version for US$599 and a 1TB version for $749.

In addition to HP, Microsoft has more than a dozen hardware partners that have signed on to develop offerings with Windows Media Center pre-installed, said Joel Sider, senior product manager, Microsoft.

New hardware partners include Lifeware, Maxdata and Velocity Micro, though only one of the new partner's wares will be on sale Monday. Velocity Micro's NetMagix HomeServer, based on Windows Home Server and with 1TB of storage, is available now. Lifeware plans to offer a Lifeware Entertainment and Automation Storage server based on Windows Home Server early next year.

Other companies that plan to have Windows Home Server hardware available in the next six months include Iomega, Tranquil, Medion and Fujitsu Siemens. Gateway and LaCie, in France, also have signed on to offer Windows Home Server products. System builders Ace Computers, Avantec, PC Club and Universal Systems now offer Windows Home Server on custom boxes.

Tom Kampfer, president of Iomega, which specializes in consumer and small business storage devices, said he liked the idea of combining a storage product with a built-in OS, which is why the company signed on to build a Windows Home Server product. Iomega's Home Center Server, which will be available in the first quarter of 2008, is aimed at providing one place for a family with multiple PCs to store multimedia files and even host and build a Web site.

"We think it’s a great opportunity for the home user who’s not really technically sophisticated to get a handle on this product," he said.

More information about Windows Home Server is available on the product's home page on the Microsoft web site.

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