Microsoft Shoots Itself in the Foot with Vail Decision

I’ve written quite a bit about Windows Home Server and how great it is, I’ve also done a good job of recommending it to family and friends as a storage solution for all the family pictures and videos. Today I read that in the upcoming release of Windows Home Server (codename Vail) will be stripped of one of the most useful features, Drive Extender.

What is Drive Extender?

Drive Extender is the technology that allows Windows Home Server to create a storage pool from disparate hard drives. So if you have a two hard drives, one that is 500GB and another 1TB, DE will automatically pool those drives into a 1.5TB storage pool.


This also means that if you run out of space you can add another terabyte and Windows Home Server takes care of the rest. If you ask me, this is one of Windows Home Server’s strongest selling point.

For a more detailed write-up about this feature check out

Microsoft’s Excuse

According to Michael Leworthy (Windows Home Server Blog), “…we have received feedback from partners and customers about how they use storage today and how they plan to use it moving forward. Today large hard drives of over 1TB are reasonably priced, and freely available. We are also seeing further expansion of hard drive sizes at a fast rate, where 2Tb drives and more are becoming easy accessible.  Since customers looking to buy Windows Home Server solutions from OEM’s will now have the ability to include larger drives, this will reduce the need for Drive Extender functionality.” Really? So what should I do about the 4 terabytes of data I have spread between 4 hard drives? Not upgrade? I am sure that I am not the only one that feels this way, just read the comments here.

Ultimately Screwed

Existing Windows Home Server users (that rely on Drive Extender) will not be able to upgrade to Vail to take advantage of the new features offered in Vail unless they switch to the new 4TB hard drives Microsoft predicts will be available at the time of release. There’s a call from WeGotServed, one of the top Windows Home Server destinations asking Microsoft to drop Vail and continue updating the current iteration of WHS until Microsoft can get it right.

What do you think? Will you upgrade to Vail if this feature is axed? Please post your thoughts below.