One of the struggles in building Windows Home Server has been trying to figure out a simple and easy way to deal with usernames (or "Logon names") and passwords, so that accessing information within your home and from outside your home is easy yet secure.
It seems that everybody has an opinion, from the simple -"I don't use passwords" to the complex - "the first thing my daughter learned was how to type her complex password into the password prompt". So how do you strike a balance between these extremes?
Windows Home Server enables you to define 10 users in the Windows Home Server Console. These users can be granted permissions (Read/Write, Read/Only and No Access) to the Shared Folders on your home server. Additionally, you can decide which of these users can remotely login to the home server if you enable remote access to your home server.
The key thing to remember is that you should create usernames (or "Logon names") on your home server that are the exact same usernames that you use on your home computers. If you have a username "Todd" on your home PC, then you should create a user with a logon name of "Todd" on the Users tab of the Windows Home Server Console. Initially, you should use the same password for "Todd" on the PC and "Todd" on the home server, and Windows Home Server has the ability to help you keep the password on a home computer "in synch" with the password defined on the home server.
There are a few missing pieces to Windows Home Server Beta 2, in that we have heard that a few people would like to set a default password policy - eg. either "Simple" or "Complex" with a 3rd setting somewhere in the middle. "Simple" probably means just that - either no password is required or perhaps the minimum is a single character. My password for many years was simply the tilde character (~) until all of this complex password stuff became the norm. And what is a complex password? You will probably have some sort of minimum length (7 or 8 characters) and use a combination of UPPER CASE, lowercase, number5, and symbols!!!. For example, my current password is "WindowsHomeServerBeta2isGreat!!!!butIwishIcouldsetaPasswordPolicy?" (now if you only knew the IP address of my home server ....)
We feel that usernames and passwords are important, especially if you choose to enable remote access on your home server. We know it may be a little bit of a hurdle for someone to figure out the usernames on all of their home computers, but hopefully not to big of a hurdle.
Todd - our silver tongued product planner and author of many of the posts below - recently did a recorded interview with Ian Dixon for The Media Center Show on TheDigitalLifeStyle.com. Take a listen for some great insights about the product philosophy, as well as details about specific features. The interview starts at about the 12 minute mark.
Also...today Computerworld's Scott Koegler posted a very comprehensive (and very positive) evaluation of Home Server. His bottom line: "Its simplicity and automation will make it a winner with many home users....For my part, now that Home Server is installed on my network, it's not going to be unplugged."
Sent out another big batch of Connect Invite IDs today. One person had registered fourteen (14!) different times - welcome to Beta2 !!
We also posted the Windows Home Server Beta 2 documentation on the Connect site (http://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer ). Just click on the 'Downloads' link on the left. It's a good read - if you are still in the queue...
Thanks for the great feedback. The number of quality bugs that are being submitted is fantastic. The more descriptive you are, the easier it is to reproduce the problem and start working on a fix.