From Microsoft Connect, it is now possible to download a beta version of the new Windows Home Server with code name “Vail”.

Microsoft needs help to search for any bugs in Windows Home Server V2, which also goes by the codename “Vail”, and has now released a beta version to the public. It can be downloaded from Microsoft Connect.

Windows Home Server V2 includes improvements in areas related to backup and recovery of several computers, installation, interface, customization tools for partners, and streaming media outside the home.

The two screenshots above is taken from the website Windows Now and they have taken a closer look at the new version. Here are some of the news they reports:

  • Built on the RTM bits of Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • Will come in 2 flavors, HOMESTANDARD and HOMEPREMIUM
  • Requires an x64 Processor.
  • Requires a minimum of 160GB primary hard drive.
  • Server “Desktop Experience” is installed OOB (meaning Aero, Media, etc).
  • Built-In HomeGroup Support (unlike WS2008 R2)
  • WHS Console is now the “Dashboard”, and has a cleaner Add-In model (all pages are now AddIns).
  • There will be an online catalog for add-ins hosted by Microsoft.
  • While there is a “Recorded TV” option in the folders, there does not presently appear to be deeper media integration. That may come in later builds.
  • It *appears* that WHS now backs itself up.

Read the full article and the rest of the screenshots here.

Microsoft does not recommend that you install the software on a machine that already contains the first version of Windows Home Server.

Here is a video that will walk you through the new user interface of Windows Home server V2: