Bill Gates unveiled Windows Home Server last Sunday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The software is designed to run on a dedicated device that automatically backs up the information on all computers in a home. It can also stream media and provide remote access to documents over the internet.
The server targets households with two or more PCs and a home network, of which Microsoft estimates there are about 40 million to 45 million worldwide.
Price will mostly depend on storage capacity, but Microsoft expects the device to retail at $500 to $1,000.
"The goal is trying to take the seams out [of backup and recovery]. There are too many choices and too many knobs and we ask too many questions. And we expect the people to know the answers to every question," Todd Headrick, a senior product manager with Microsoft, told vnunet.com.
"We are designing the product for families and the second-tier purchaser, the enthused follower who really looks at the enthusiast for guidance.
"The dream is that for Father's Day, a wife would buy one for her husband because she understands the benefits of backup and remote access."
Windows Home Server software is based on Windows Server 2003. It borrows technologies from a series of other Microsoft products and offers new ones.
The ability to stream video and music to devices comes from Windows XP Media Center Edition.
Microsoft first unveiled a feature that allows users to access information stored on the server or a computer that is connected to it as part of Windows Small Business Server 2003.
- A video demonstration of the Windows Home Server software and hardware reference designs is available on vnunet.com's CES Blog
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