Coming Home to Windows Home Server, Part 16

Cool software for your Windows Home Server
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Coming Home to Windows Home Server, Part 16

May 4, 2009 11:02 AM, By Eric B. Rux

Cool software for your Windows Home Server

What kind of software is out there for your Windows Home Server (WHS)? Besides all of the cool Add-ins, there are also some third-party software titles that may be of interest to you. This month, I scoured the Internet to find four useful utilities: Two for antivirus and two for disk defragmentation.

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But first: How about Windows Home Server itself? When WHS was first introduced, it sold for a list price of about $200. More than a year later, you can find it online from sites such as NewEgg for $99. Mate this up with an old computer with at least a 1GHz PIII CPU, 512MB of RAM, and an 80GB or larger hard drive, and you’ll be on your way to WHS Happiness. Of course, a P4, more memory, and a couple of big hard drives would be better, but even with a little hardware, you too can have your very one home server.

Now, let’s take a look at the third-party software that can really make your Home Server sing.

Antivirus

It’s no secret that the Internet can be a nasty place. With our computers and now our Home Server constantly connected to the outside world, a little added protection isn’t a bad idea. I found two products specifically built for WHS:

Avast has antivirus products for just about every kind of computer for the home, small business, or corporate network. They even have a version for Mac and Linux. To round out its offerings, Avast now has a Windows Home Server edition that will protect the files that you store on the network. Avast is integrated into the WHS Console, and it includes the same scanning engine that is in its other award-winning products. Avast Antivirus is $39.95 for one year of protection, $57.94 for two years, and $74.13 for three years.

F-Secure is another popular antivirus product that now has a version for Windows Home Server. It is integrated with the Windows Home Server Console. A PDF on F-Secure’s website explains that the WHS version protects you from viruses as well as spyware. F-Secure is sold in 1-year protection intervals for $49.45/year.

Defragmentation

All Windows operating systems suffer from disk defragmentation. And, because Windows Home Server is built upon Windows Server 2003, your WHS disks can become a performance bottleneck. Because of the way WHS accesses the files on the hard drives, it is important that you don’t run just any disk defrag tool; be sure to use one that is built especially for this special version of Windows.

PerfectDisk has a couple of features that will be of interest to Windows Home Server users. The first is SMARTPlacement. This technology identifies the files that you use the most and organizes them accordingly, helping you access these files faster and preventing from becoming fragmented in the future. The AutoPilot Scheduling helps you schedule the defrag process when the server is least likely to be used. PerfectDisk also claims to be the only disk defragmenter to be able to defrag in only one pass. PerfectDisk sells for $49.99 per server.

Diskeeper is a name that has been around since “disk defrag” became a common phrase. The company’s defrag product is integrated with the WHS Console, but with its InvisiTasking technology, you won’t spend much time tinkering with it. InvisiTasking senses when your WHS is idle, and it automatically defragments the hard drives in the background. If your Windows Home Server has a terabyte or more of space, Diskeepers Terabyte Volume Engine (TVE) helps keep files from getting fragmented in the first place. Diskkeeper for Windows Home Server sells for $69.95 per server.

Windows Home Server continues to grow in popularity. These four products are just a foretaste of the ones to come. I’ll keep my eyes on the lookout, but if you spot something, email me.

Until next month, have fun with your Windows Home Server.

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