In a blog posting on the Windows Home Server Blog, Microsoft today announced a public beta for the next version of Windows Home Server.

Code Named “Vail,” Microsoft says the Beta includes feature improvements in three areas for consumers: Extending media streaming outside the home or office, multi-PC backup and restore, and simplified setup and user experience.

The company says Vail also provides expanded development and customization tools for programmers hoping to expand on Microsoft's offering.

For any wishing to try out the Vail beta, Microsoft warns that this is beta 64 bit operating system which should not be used as a production machine.

If you don't want to install the beta but would like to learn more, you can check out MediaSmart server's " Vail overview and review " which takes the new software for a test.

Discuss Vail in Digital Home's Windows Computing forum .