WHS Outlook 2011

Posted Posted by Mike in Windows Server Solutions 2011     Comments 4 comments
Apr
7

Well, I’ve finally done it! I went and wrote a version of WHS Outlook for use with Windows Home Server 2011. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of requests I’ve had for doing this over the last year or so. However, I was reluctant to do it for a couple of reasons. First, seeing as Microsoft added no backwards compatibility for WHS V1/2003 add-ins to WHS 2011, I knew that it was going to take a substantial amount of work to write a new version of the add-in, from the ground up, to support the WHS 2011 platform. Second, I really wasn’t convinced that the WHS 2011 platform was something that I’d ever want to use on a personal level. Well, I can tell you that once I took a closer look at WHS 2011, I ended up really liking it, and WHS Outlook 2011 naturally followed from there. And yes indeed, it sure was a whole lot of work just as I expected it would be. Wow!

In the end, I think (and I’m sure you’ll agree) that it was time and effort well spent on my part. The new remote application features in the underlying Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system, as well as the built-in Remote Web Access website in WHS 2011, really allow WHS Outlook to shine like it never could in WHS V1/2003. WHS Outlook 2011 can run a server-installed copy of Microsoft Outlook from any computer just as if it were running directly on the local computer. Outlook runs in its own fully resizable window with its own entry in the taskbar. Its popup windows are redirected to the local desktop, its notification area icons appear in the local computer’s notification area, and the local computer’s drives and printers can be redirected to it; making a completely seamless “Outlook” experience for your end-users.

WHS Outlook 2011 is actually a Windows Server Solutions add-in, meaning that not only will it run on Windows Home Server 2011, but it will run on all of the Windows Server Solutions, including Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials. It allows a single server-side installation of Microsoft Outlook to be accessed by up to 10 users of your network (up to 25 when used with WSBS2011e or WSS2008R2e). Using the remote application capabilities of your server, WHS Outlook 2011 provides your users with full access to their very own instance of Microsoft Outlook just as if it were running on their local computer. They’ll enjoy access to their mail, calendars, contacts, and tasks from any Windows-based computer on your network, or from almost anywhere using your server’s built-in Remote Web Access website.

There’s a fully functional 21 day evaluation period available, so go and try it out for yourself. I’m more than sure that you will enjoy it as much as I do. And, as always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

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4 Comments to “WHS Outlook 2011”

  • with the release of WHS Outlook 2011 does this mean we can look forward to a release of WHS Quicken 2011 (I hope)? If yes do you have any target for release?

  • Hi Bill,

    Yes indeed it does! I’m currently working on WHS Office 2011, WHS QuickBooks 2011, and WHS Quicken 2011 releases for Windows Home Server 2011, Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials.

    I’m hoping to have them all publicaly available within the next week or so. Please keep an eye on my website as I’ll update it just as soon as they become available.

    Thanks for your interest in my software.

    – MIKE

  • Hi Mike, first, let me say this is a pretty cool piece of work. great job. Now I just hope I can do what I am wanting to with it.

    Basically I have WHS2011 running, and want my wife, myself and maybe one or 2 others in the house to be able to access and share the same calendar. So, I would have a calendar called ‘family’ for example, everyone would be able to view it and modify it, and also get some type of notification when a calendar event is coming up.

    I can sort of get all this to work, but only if everyone has their own calendar. I have to have outlook running on the server in order for the reminders to fire, but if it’s running I can’t access that calendar from any of the clients, presumably because the file(s) are already open.

    Is this possible? (provided my explanation makes sense!)

    Thanks

  • Hi Tom,

    Thanks! I’m very glad to hear that you like what you see in WHS Outlook 2011.

    Alas, WHS Outlook wasn’t designed for the purpose of sharing calendars, contacts, email, etc. in Outlook. To do something like that, you would need to use a hosted Exchange service like Microsoft Office 365.

    My whole family uses Office 365, and we totally love it! It allows us to sync all of our email, calendars, contacts, and tasks across multiple devices (desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.), and it allows us to share email, calendars, contacts, and tasks with each other as well. Best of all, it works perfectly with WHS Outlook 2011 and WHS Office 2011.

    Based on what you’ve described, Office 365 (or some other cloud-hosted Exchange service) would be exactly what you are looking for.

    If you’re really after a free way of doing calendar sharing, then you could also try Windows Live Hotmail. It offers up a lot of the same services as a hosted Exchange service, but is completely free of charge for personal use. I wrote up a small article on how to set it up with WHS Outlook V3, but it would be pretty much the same with WHS Outlook 2011 (i.e. you just use Microsoft’s free Hotmail Connector software on your server). You can see the article here (but hurry as it probably won’t be there for too much longer as HomeServerLand.com is going away):

    How To Sync Mobile Devices With WHS Outlook

    Microsoft Office Outlook Hotmail Connector overview

    I hope that what I’ve said helps you out some.

    – MIKE

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