Microsoft's Home Server software is one step closer to reality.
The software maker on Tuesday released a near-final "release candidate" version of Windows Home Server, a custom version of its Windows Server 2003 operating system. A final version is expected to come out later this year. Microsoft is pitching the software as an option for multi-PC households to manage burgeoning collections of media files.
Chairman Bill Gates announced plans for the product at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, saying that HP would build a product based on the software. At last month's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), Microsoft announced additional partners, including Gateway and Medion.