Microsoft Announces 64-bit Only Beta Of Windows Home Server "Vail"

Microsoft has finally released an official preview of its latest Windows Home Server software, three months after details were first leaked to the press.

The announcement was made on Tuesday morning by Microsoft's senior communication manager, Dave Berkowitz.

Berkowitz revealed that the beta version of Window Home Server had been modified in the four key areas. Multi-PC backup, extended media streaming and simpler set up were announced, along with additional customised tools.

The company also said that the new version allows easy connection to networks through its homepage feature - a pleasant surprise for those used to Microsoft's existing server software.

Making the announcement, Berkowitz advised users trying out the beta test software, which is currently only available in an English language version, on a secondary computer, to avoid early compatibility issues.

The new version, previously known by the code name 'Vail', requires fairly basic hardware to run: a 1.4GHz 64-bit CPU, 1GB of memory and a hard disk of at least 160GB.

The beta version is available on from the Microsoft Connect web site. Users wanting to test it can download it using a valid Windows Live ID.