Windows Home Server needs new licensing scheme

Fast development of technology and quickly spreading fast internet with new devices and technology open new ways for us to connect our homes with other family members. Windows Home Server is product that needs heavy refresh and one thing that Windows Home Server team must take seriously is changing current very limited licensing scheme. Here is the overview of situation and what needs to be done to get better licensing that fits for families better today.

Family is connected now

One main point that is changed over time: our houses are connected better than before.

By example, my brother has some computers at home, my cousin has some computers at home, my girlfriend parents have some computers at home etc. Homes have good connections now and more people are able to stay connected with my home. People I’m talking about are also called my family.

For some people in family all this computer stuff is complex and they need something simple to share their media with others and to see what others have put online. This is perfect scenario for Windows Home Server.

Why should we all have separated accounts to keep and share same media we all like? Why should we exchange files over chat clients? Why we should use public services that may come and go? We usually don’t share many aspects of our lives with public space. This is where we want one central for family – something that is easy for everyone to use.

Better and cheaper hardware

The other thing is hardware – it is getting more and more powerful. I have 2TB of mirrored disk space available in my home server. It’s huge space for me and I can extend it. If I discard mirroring then my home server may have up to 8TB of free space. Believe me, it’s huge task for me and my family to get this 2TB of space filled with something valuable.

I am sure that during next couple of years way more storage will be available to buy for same price. Also other hardware is getting cheaper and cheaper. And also web connections getting better and better. It means that we have more and more devices in our homes that we want to connect.

Big picture

This is where we are standing now:

  • we have good internet connections at our homes,
  • we are able to but powerful hardware that we are not able to fully use with only small subset of our family,
  • kids and their parents know way more about computers than before,
  • we have different devices we use to browse the web and communicate with each other,
  • still family IT-guy is usually almost the only one who manages devices of more than one home,
  • families produce way more multimedia than before and members of family want to share their media between each other,
  • it is also good to take control over backups and maintenance of all family computers so also other homes that form my family have their computer safe and updated.

As you can see, situation is changed.

New licensing model

New licensing model for Windows Home Server should be package based like it is for Windows Server. Base package should be 10 licenses as it is right now. But there must be option to buy more licenses. Five license packs should be fine. It it is possible to buy one license at time it is also okay. It may even be better because then we can but exactly the number of licenses we need.


  • Since this is Windows "HOME" server, I fail to see why 10 clients are not sufficient. The only justification is if there is an extention (not 3rd part ie Hamachi) to backup family pcs over the over the internet. Although most homes are connected, I see beyond 10 client connections unnecessary. Unless of course you have 4+ kids and they have desktops and laptop each, or own a huge home and have all your family and inlaws living under 1 roof. Otherwise, this is not a 'Home" server. SBS comes to mind in this other scenario. Perhaps consider retiring obsolete equipment.

  • Still I don't see any good reason why not consolidate all family basic IT needs to same place. There is not only back-ups but also media that family members share.

  • I agree with this post. But it's not limited to that - I'd like to add, that doing offsite backups is also necessary. Just because I'm not in home network does not mean I do not want to backup my PC.

    On the note, in my household I have 2 Laptops, 2 Desktop PC's, HTPC & 2 Tablets running Windows 7. Thats 7 devices total for 2 persons. Now dont forget, that at minimum with each kid there adds 2 computers (probably 3). With current logic, Microsoft only wants me to have one kid?

  • Well, there are at least two problems that make current licensing deprecated: 1. homes of family are connected 2. we have more devices per person than ever before. For home use it is also good idea to just make the number of allowed users-devices to be something way bigger - 50 at least.

    At same time there are business consideration we have to understand. We will have not so loose permissions for different usage contexts anymore but this is not the problem - home server shouldn't be used for business purposes.

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