Microsoft could own Backup

Assuming they don’t get sued for being a monopoly by owning backup.

If Microsoft created a new, MUCH simpler backup NAS server based on the new, slim Windows 7 core (HTML interface only, please) AND included a free copy of it for every version of the desktop OS they sold. Or even better – commit resources to FreeNAS and make it “Windows Friendlier”. Give the source to the project.

Make it drop-dead easy to install. Target it as, “Got a new computer? Don’t throw your old one away -recycle it – as your home backup server”. Even a semi-modern laptop with a 120 GB drive can be a very good file server.

Make it a Media Extender. Tie the Zune into it as well. Tie in Live Apps that allow me to flag certain data as being important enough to me that I also want to back that data up “in the cloud”.

Don’t try and backup my entire drive – just my data. My documents, music, videos, pictures and Internet preferences. And all of my preferences and data for Live! services.

I can live with a new Operating System install every now and then. But protect my data!

Windows Home Server was an interesting attempt at a home backup solution but it failed for a few simple reasons:

  • It was based on a full-blow Windows Server installation. Managing security patches for this was enough to make me move back to FreeNAS
  • The Windows Home Server Connector software that had to be installed on every machine was too bloated, too invasive, and it ate resources even when it wasn’t doing anything.
  • There have been some data consistency issues. I can’t afford those with my backups.

But if Microsoft could tie all of these “Live” applications together with my desktop AND provide me with a reliable low cost (free) local/online backup solution as well, then they can beat Google and everyone else at backup. And backup is becoming more and more important. Now we are creating content we expect our great-grandchildren to one day see. Our data is now much more important to us then last year’s third quarter financial report was.

And whoever holds my data holds my attention.


  1. @James – you should search here for my series of articles of FreeNAS (which get thousands of pageviews/month). Once I got through the fact that the initial install would not boot, FreeNAS became much more friendly (but I still have to use an ATA disk for the OS – I can’t get FreeNAS to boot on my SATA drives).

  2. I am curious about what makes FreeNAS unfriendly. Without sounding like a know it all geek, I find many things about open source to be intuitive and easy, compared to the licensing requirements of windows ;). I know that I have suffered greatly in order to have this understanding, so I wonder if you could help me to understand what you mean by unfriendly.

    My curiosity helps me to understand the needs of people that want to use a tool like FreeNAS. With the right setup, this tool is just like Mac’s time capsule – which is really cool.

    I am developing solutions with these tools, and your perspective would be insightful for me.