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I appreciate that there are a variety of options that are available, but for off-the-shelf ease of use for the millions of Windows-only households out there, it’s nearly impossible to beat Windows Home Server. What should I look out for? (PS I'm not buying off-the-shelf server, I have build my own PCs/Servers for 20 years, I'm building my own :-)

EDIT: I'm after both hardware recommendations for example; what are the "real world" minimum specs ;-) and Setup suggestions, I have 5 laptops at home and 3 PCs (a big family), I want one centralised location for all of my digital photos, movies and music.

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So are you asking about hardware recommendations or the Windows Home Server operating system? – John T Oct 29 '09 at 11:58
Yes, update your question with more information as to what you are trying to build, the scenarios you want to cover. Then we can give you more information about what OS fits those requirements – Wayne Oct 29 '09 at 12:33
Keep in mind that you are nearing the 10-machine limit that WHS imposes. Only PCs are included in that limit. Boxes that you might stream video to (like Roku or an Xbox 360) do not count against that total – David Nov 3 '09 at 17:34
up vote 2 down vote accepted

As you are just looking for a glorified shared disk, your hardware needs are pretty modest.
Read the following article:

Building your Windows Home Server box

But I would suggest not to skimp too much on the hardware.

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this article is close to 3 years old. – Jeff Martin Mar 3 '10 at 20:19

I built my own and bought a copy of WHS as soon as I could.

That being said, I wouldn't do it that way again. I'd buy one of HP's machines - and that's what my friend did when I recommended it to him. HP has put some neat stuff in that adds value to WHS and it was a lot simpler. I spent a lot of time doing setup and discovering, for example, that the motherboard I'd selected wouldn't boot if an external USB hard drive was connected (though an external USB DVD burner was ok)

My setup is about 4TB of hard disk and a dual core processor that works pretty well.

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Hp Mediasmart Windows versions are quite nice, powerful, kiss-attitude easy and you can't have more energy efficient ... Still prefer a linux server but for regular peoples it's decent but not a must-have for me cause there is a lot of alternatives ... – zillion Nov 14 '09 at 15:55
For true hobbyists there are always a lot of alternatives. Still, I've never seen a package that so efficiently and effortlessly combined everything from LAN-wide backups with bare-metal restore capabilities to website hosting. SOMEday I'll get around to playing with linux! – David Nov 16 '09 at 19:39

Check out the Server Guides in the Wiki on the "We Got Served" site. The forums are also a good resource - there's one devoted to self-build WHS systems.

After reusing an old Dell machine for my first WHS, I went ahead and built my own. Been very satisfied with it.

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