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I've got a small home office with only a few computers that I'd like to back-up automatically. Windows Home Server looks to be a promising solution. The few pre-packaged models I've seen are quote small and consume very little power which is a big plus for me since I'd like to leave it running all the time for photos and music. I've already got a local DC to unify the logins and manage updates, but I'd like to retire it since it sucks a lot of power and home electricity rates are significantly higher than commercial rates.

So the question is, can I run a Windows Home Server as a DC?

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It is technically possible, but according to the EULA you can't:

d. Functionality Limitations.

  • Active Directory - You may not use the server software as a domain controller or otherwise make use of DCPromo.exe. You also may not join the server software to any Active Directory domain.
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It's looking like a no. To quote:

  • Promoting Windows Home Server to a domain controller is unsupported (running dcpromo). We do not test it and it is very possible that it will break something. I'm glad to hear you had success and I hope you continue to share your experiences with it. But it is an un-supported scenario.
  • Joining Windows Home Server to another domain is not only unsupported, but is not allowed under the product EULA. The licensing service will kick in after 24 hours and put the machine into a diminished mode until you unjoin it from a domain.
  • Active Directory - You may not use the server software as a domain controller or otherwise make use of DCPromo.exe. You also may not join the server software to any Active Directory domain.
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Windows Home Server does not run Active Directory. Check out Windows Server 2008 Foundation. It is available preinstalled on a new computer only, and it is designed as an entry-level server for small business. It runs Active Directory with a limit of 15 users.

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  • Does it include all the same media sharing and backup services that WHS provides? – Paul Alexander Aug 8 '09 at 0:22

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