All right.  I admit it.  I have a problem.

I read my favorite "Tech Deals" site, (, and I just can't control myself from buying hard drives.  They just keep getting cheaper and bigger and cheaper and bigger.  The one that showed up today was $132 shipped for a 500 GB drive.

Fortunately, I have an outlet for my collection of drives.  Windows Home Server allows me to add drives, one at a time, and they become part of a giant pool of Hard Drive space onto which I store my music, pictures, and computer backups.  Due to the magic of Single Instancing,I am able to backup all of my family's computers onto the server, while taking up much less than the total space used by all the different computers. 

Definition: Single Instancing is technique that allows you to store two or more copies of a file for the space cost of one copy. For example, if images 1, 2, and 3 all contain file A, single-instancing stores a single copy of the file A and points images 1, 2, and 3 to that copy.

I have the option (which I use) of duplicating files stored on the server, and behind the scenes, Windows Home Server makes sure that the files are present on two physical drives, so any one drive can fail completely without losing my data.  Very handy when I am plugging in drives of every shape, size, and vintage! I am also able to remotely connect (through my Linksys firewall) into the Windows Home Server, access my files, pictures, and music; as well as remotely connect to PCs on my internal network.  Very snazzy! 

Rather than fill up my blog with pictures, I"ll leave you with a screenshot of my menagerie of hard drives, and point you to Paul Thurrot's blog, where he he has written (rather copiously) about the new capabilities, and provided (many) photos of the new user interface.

The one thing I will point out (if you decide to start throwing your entire collection of old hard drives from teh closet

Having 1.55 TERABYTES of space is not enough for me however.  Windows Home Server is running very stably (a little too stably), and I like to live on the edge.  I am downloading the latest CTP of Longhorn Server as we speak, and I will try loading the beta of Windows Home Server inside the beta of Virtual Server, on top of the Beta of Longhorn server.  Woohoo!  Certainly not for the faint of heart, but I am curious to see if it can be done.  I'll report back after the jump.

While you're waiting, make sure to check out: