Windows Home Server trial period expires early (!). Alternate rec's?

Note:I could find no category "Windows Home Server", or I would have put this there. WHS is based on Win Biz Server 2008, which is the same core build as Vista. So this was the closest category I could find.

I got the 120-day free eval of Windows Home Server. Thought I'd try it out to see how I like it since I have an old case sitting around doing nothing, and I happen to need a file server.

The problem I ran into is that while the MSFT website and product packaging claim a 120-day free eval, the actual eval period expired after something like 90 days. Not even, in fact. So while the "Console" interface says that the eval will expire in May, I found out by looking into the event log that MSFT already considers the eval period to have expired.

So rather than me getting a popup or something inside the console saying, "your eval period will expire in X days", or even, "your eval period has expired", or even some kind of network status alert similar to what they do to tell you a backup failed, what do I get? The computer reboots every 2 hours. And I don't mean a soft reboot that waits for you to shut things down. It kicks off immediately, open-files-be-d@mned, just like hitting the reset button.

That's not good. I don't want my hardware cycled every two hours. I don't want my files getting corrupted because they are stuck open in the middle of a reboot.

So fair warning to fellow enthusiasts: if you're evaluating MSFT WHS, keep an eye on the machine's up-time and make sure it doesn't start kicking over on you (months before it's supposed to!).

Anyone else have this happen?

Anyone recommend something better for a file server that does the backups, is expandable, redundant, etc. but doesn't require a lot of maintenance?
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  1. First there is a tweak that will allow a little longer time period to try it out.
    Try this link, Im fairly sure it is here.

    Second Ive never really run across a time when I have needed a home server edition as compared to Ultimate or the Business Edition, so perhaps you can help me with that as to the reasons.
    (I'M not trying to be an ass)

    Third and I cant be sure of this but I have never heard of any edition of Windows that will restart after 2 hours.
    I realize that they use reduced functionallity to get you to BUY IT and possibly they use that in a server edition to get you to succomb to their charms, but I would go for the ultimate edition as it sound like you may also want (I'm guessing) the media center options in a home network.

    You are correct in that it is basically vista is the same as the server edition, so the extension should work fine but I would think that every 2 hours suggests something different.
  2. Windows Home Server (WHS) is not the same thing as Vista Home (Premium or Basic) Edition. It's a server, not a client. It's based on Windows Server 2008 Small Business Edition, but without most of the valuable features, and simplified to reduce complexity for non-techie types. OEM price ~$99 on NE.

    I just need a file server with backup and expansion capabilities. WHS happens to have that (works pretty well, in fact). As a bonus, it gives me remote access to computers on my home network via Remote Desktop, if I ever dare turn that on. Might be nice while I'm traveling if the wife has a problem with her computer. I don't have to buy a network appliance for ~$350, nor be limited to however many drives it happens to have, nor have the performance hit those usually incur.

    The rebooting is built into the eval, apparently. I say this because the eventvwr log says something along the lines of "Windows Home Server eval license expired. rebooting in 1 hour" That's apparently how they plan to get you to make a purchase. What irks me is that it started happening at least a month early, and with no warning or indication other than what appeared to be a flaky network connection. So now I'm rushing to get a license because I don't want to turn the thing on until I have one - instead of getting one in advance and maintaining up-time.

    I only mentioned the similarity between Vista and Server 2k8 because of the fact that WHS is based on WS2K8, and there's no forum for WHS.
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