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Microsoft Windows Home Server Unleashed (2nd Edition) Paperback – Apr 5 2010

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Windows Home Server Reference and Home Networking Book - All In One! Oct. 18 2007
By Robert L. Stinnett - Published on
Format: Paperback
How often do you purchase a book on a topic and end up not only learning a wealth of information about that topic, but also getting a treasure trove of information on a related topic? In "Windows Home Server Unleashed" the author has created not only a terrific reference manual for the newly released Windows Home Server product, but also includes an excellent primer and how-to on home networking that is among the best I have seen!

Let's start out talking about who this book is for -- geeks. It's chocked full of helpful information, tweaks and "behind the scenes" information about Windows Home Server. The author not only tells you about what it can do out of the box -- but how you can extend it to bring out its full potential, such as creating shared calendars or your own internal (and external if you wish) family website to display vacation photos, journals, etc. You'll even learn how to use SharePoint technologies to extend WHS in a way that makes it seem as if you've been doing it for years!

The book is also good for those amongst us who are comfortable with computers, but want to take that next step. Who see the value in setting up a home network and using Windows Home Server, but want to do more than just share files and automate backups. It's for the Geeks-in-Training, and you couldn't ask for a better training manual.

The book itself is filled with 800 pages of information about Windows Home Server and home networking. You'll find out everything you need to know to get WHS up and running in your house -- regardless of whether you bought the software and installed it yourself or an "out of the box" appliance with WHS already installed. And don't worry if you are still running Windows XP, 2000 -- or even Millenium Edition in some cases! For many of the examples on how to use WHS features the author covers a variety of operating systems -- including Linux and Mac!

I am a tech guy, and therefore am an early adopter of Windows Home Server and this was the first book to hit the bookshelves on this amazing new software from Microsoft. I was just expecting to get a book that walked me through WHS and its basic features, but what I got was a reference I could use to really tear into it. It's not a book you read cover to cover, but rather one you refer back to each time you are ready to try out something new and push the envelope.

If you are thinking about getting Windows Home Server, do yourself a favor and add this book to your bookshelf. You will soon find that you are extending Windows Home Server to do new things and bringing your home network to life by adding useful features that brings the entire family into the digital age.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Good but starting to get out of date Feb. 18 2010
By Winter - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is probably the most thorough book I've seen about Windows Home Server (or "WHS"). However, it was written some time ago and WHS has changed substantially since then, particularly in December of 2009 with the release of Power Pack 3. Windows Home Server is a very different OS from anything I've worked with before, and it helped to have some explanations as to the HOW and the WHY of Windows Home Server.

A lot of the Windows Home Server is easy to use because it goes through an interface called the Windows Home Server Console. Just the same, not all of the pieces of the Console are easy to understand at a lower level, and that's where Windows Home Server Unleashed comes in. My particular favorite section, however, is the chapter that discusses exactly how WHS manages files, folder replication, and storage: this is (to me) a weird way to do things, and the explanation helped my understanding greatly.

I'm writing this review in Feb. 2010. There is a new Edition of this book scheduled to come out in early April. If you're interested in a good reference, I feel this is the one. However, if you can wait, I'd suggest you do so because the newer version will cover the newer configuration of Windows Home Server, probably with more details on Power Pack 3.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Reference Resource Nov. 24 2007
By Ryan Wu - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent reference and resource book for Windows Home Server(WHS). It is not intended to be read cover to cover but piecemeal as problems or needs arise.

- covers all of the essential, including system requirements, installation, setting up, maintaining and troubleshooting WHS
- has additional tips on optimizing WHS
- uncovers many undocumented features to really bring out the power of WHS
- provides nonWHS related information on TCP/IP, the Windows Server 2003 underlying operating system, and running your own website

- can be difficult for nontechies to read since it assumes a certain level of knowledge of using Windows and also uses certain technical terms without explanation. Even ones that are explained, like a stack or layer, use an explanation that is technical in nature
- sometimes the instructions are redundant in that the book will repeat verbatim a 12 step process that was just covered a page before but with only 1 change in the steps

Bottom line: A great reference book for intermediate users.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
"Comprehensive" it ain't! Aug. 15 2010
By JD - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought the 2nd edition hot off the press in April 2010, hoping for a comprehensive as well as up to date WHS reference. This appears to be the first review here of the 2nd edition, so if the previous edition deserved the praise it received for completeness in earlier reviews it apparently dropped several entire subjects in the update.

Specifically, don't look for help on any of the following:

1. Building or adapting your own hardware platform for WHS. Not a word.

2. Installing WHS software. Not a word. The book assumes you bought a complete box ready to boot up.

3. Add-ins. As far as this book is concerned, the subject doesn't exist.

4. Running other applications on WHS. There is a whole chapter on installing Windows SharePoint Services, (a business-class server app, the usefulness of which in the average household is not clear to me) but that's it. No help on trying to figure out what will work and what won't.

5. Backing up WHS itself. Backing up shared folders is briefly covered, but not a word on backing up the backup database even though Microsoft published a procedure a couple of years ago and a very handy add-in "BDBB" automates the process. And nothing on selecting and connecting an external hard drive to use for backups. (When you're backing up several hundred gigabytes, the speed advantage of eSATA over USB 2.0 is quite significant)

6. Security. Should you install antivirus software? Sorry, no help there. But a whole section on auditing if you want to detect malicious users in your household, along with some standard advice on securing household PCs.

All of the above is not to say the book does not contain a lot of useful information, but the claims that it covers everything of interest are more than slightly exaggerated. There's also a good deal of bloat in the form of excessively detailed step-by-step instructions on working through windows dialogs, along with a lot of stuff on registry editing, VBS scripts, and command-line arguments for those who enjoy doing things the complicated way rather than clicking a few buttons. There is a page-long vbs script provided, for example, to tell you how much free space you have on a hard disk. I guess both kinds of stuff are there to support the claim that the book supports beginners through advanced technical users.

I'm still looking for a comprehensive WHS reference.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Everything you need to know about WHS - and more. Dec 13 2008
By Jerry Saperstein - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a pleasure to find a technical book as well done as "Microsoft Windows Home Server Unleashed" by Paul McFedries. Like all such series, there have been a number of weak titles, but this one shines on top of the hill.

McFedries' writing style is fluid, polished and lucid. He never gets lost in his own detail, even though many of the subjects covered in this book lend themselves to meandering. McFedries stays unerringly on topic - and that is a quality to be praised and appreciated.

Particularly so here, for Windows Home Server (WHS) is a somewhat simplified version of Windows Server 2003, a very potent and complex server platform. Even though WHS weasrs a very pretty face for home users, its internal plumbing is still very complicated.

Effortlessly, McFedries walks the reader through the less complex WHS interface and use - and then explores the deeper roots. He really accomplishes this very well.

There are about 750 pages of text on WHS and related subjects and around 80 pages of appendices.

In 23 chapters, McFedries tells you everything you need to know about installing, administering and using WHS. The level of detail is very impressive. The author covers related subjects that may not interest everyone and may be well beyond the competence of many, such as running a SharePoint Site on WHS, working with the WHS Registry and scripting WHS. That's not a complaint: it's as compliment. Everything you really might need to know about WHS is to be found between the covers.

McFedries has turned out a remarkably lucid technical book on an inherently complex subject. If you're considering installing or have installed WHS, you should really consider this book. It's the only book I've bought about WHS and the only one I can see needing. Excellent.