How To's & GuidesInstalling the Windows Home Server Vail Beta Refresh on...

Installing the Windows Home Server Vail Beta Refresh on a Friday night – Video Edition


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This Friday night I decided to upgrade my Vail Beta test server to the new Vail Beta Refresh. Are you interested in upgrading to the new Vail Beta Refresh? Check out this article and watch the 10 minute video for an introduction to the Vail Beta Refresh and an overview of the installation process.

Windows Home Server Vail Beta Refresh


The Refresh was released Monday but I could not get to the installation until this Friday. The wife was in San Diego for the weekend and I had a fridge stocked with cold beverages from four different continents. What else could I ask for? A Skype call from Diehard to get me motivated for a clean install of course! Let the good times begin!

I changed into my Vail t-shirt, cranked up the smooth jazz, did a quick defrag of the refrigerator and started the party.

Windows Home Server Vail Beta Refresh

Beta Beta Beta

If you have the time and resources to test the Vail Beta then I hope you do. We all need to get in there and test it, break it and tell Microsoft what we want. Be a part of the experience program. Download the Log Collector and file your bugs. It is easy to be critical of a Beta. The hard work is in following through with the bugs, feedback and the CAB files!

I love me some Vail. It has issues. So do I. It is still a Beta. I am over it.

Equipment Needed

  • 64-bit test PC or server with keyboard, monitor and mouse
  • 160GB or larger internal hard drive
  • Vail Installation ISO on a DVD or USB Drive
  • QFE file from Microsoft Connect
  • Network Connection
  • 3 Beers (optional as always)

Software Download and ISO Image

You can download the Vail Beta Refresh ISO image from Microsoft Connect at:

You MUST register and join the Connect program with Microsoft to be able to download the Windows Home Server files.

Once you have the ISO image you can burn it to a DVD or use the Microsoft Download tool to put it on a USB Drive. Read about the Download tool at:

USB Drive Issue

Make sure you have your USB Drive in the rear USB slots. I had my USB in the front slots and it took me half a beer to figure out that my server only supported USB Boot at the back slots. Doh!

Windows Home Server Vail Beta Refresh


There are three important things you should know before installing the Vail Beta Refresh over existing Vail Beta.

  1. The ISO image file is too large to fit on a 4GB USB drive so make sure you have a 8GB or larger drive ready for installation.
  2. Backup all existing data on the server to an external drive before starting the installation. This is a clean installation. Trying to use the existing Vail backup data through a Restore process can cause sharing and rights issues with your files. It is safer to just copy your files to a external drive or client machine.

  3. Say goodbye to your PC backups from the first Vail Beta. The folders and structure has changed and a normal Restore cannot be performed.

Vail Beta Refresh Introduction and Installation Video

Take your time and do not force the process. I am running a Dual-Core Intel CPU with a standard SATA hard drive. The process took 38 minutes with a USB install so plan for about an hour with a DVD drive. Enjoy your beverage and play your favorite BYOB or Home Server Show podcast.

Home Server Show

With that said, let’s see some video!

Windows Home Server Vail Beta Refresh Introduction and Installation

Timothy Daleo
Timothy Daleo
Timothy Daleo is a Project Resource Analyst and Oracle Applications Trainer in Pasadena, California. In addition to financial analysis, Tim has been developing training materials since 2003 and supporting direct projects through various auxiliary databases since 2005.


  1. Will it be possible to migrate backups from the current version of WHS to Vail when it is eventually released?

    I have backups of laptops I no longer physically have and would like to be able to access the files from time to time.

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