Microsoft has announced that its Windows Home Server is generally available in the States.

One of the first hardware products to market is the HP MediaSmart Server, from $599, powered by Windows Home Server software, that's now available for pre-order in the States for shipping later this month.

"Digital devices and content are everywhere in our day-to-day lives and they are more important all the time", said Bill Gates.

"With the launch of Windows Home Server, Microsoft and its partners are creating a new consumer product category that will help people keep their digital media safe and make it easier for them to enjoy it with friends and family."

Windows Home Server claims to offer a simple, easy-to-use solution for backing up Windows XP-based and Windows Vista-based home computers, provides a central place to organise digital files, and includes a free Windows Live Internet address to access the home server from virtually anywhere and share content.

It also monitors the "health and security" status of home computers and can stream media to other devices in the home allowing people to enjoy digital music, photos and videos on their television.

Microsoft also released a list of coming soon Windows Home Server products, both hardware and software, which is as follows, taken directly from the Microsoft release:

Available in Europe in late 2007, the Fujitsu Siemens Computers SCALEO Home Server 1900 offers 1TB capacity across two hard drives, Gigabit Ethernet and advanced power management features.

Iomega Corp. today unveiled new details about its home server product due in early 2008, the Iomega HomeCenter Server, which will ship with one 500GB hard drive and four "easy-swap" drive bays for storage expansion.

Available in early 2008, the Life|ware Life|storage will offer enterprise-class capabilities to consumers, including Life|ware Entertainment and Automation Server software for home management.

The MAXDATA Belinea, which will also be available in Europe soon, is energy-efficient, offers advanced management and media functions, and allows up to four hot plug SATA hard drives.

Also available in Europe later this year, the Medion Home Server comes with up to 2TB of storage capacity and will offer universal plug-and-play media streaming based on PacketVideo PVConnect software.

Available now, the Tranquil PC T7-HSA Tranquil Harmony Home Server is a small, quiet and energy-efficient solution with 500GB and 1TB options.

On sale today, the Velocity Micro NetMagix HomeServer is a small, sleek unit that can be situated in a horizontal or vertical position, starting with 1 TB of expandable storage capacity.

Avira GmbH in Germany today announced that its malware detection and removal technology will support Windows Home Server.

Diskeeper Corporation today released a special edition of its Diskeeper 2008 defragmentation software for Windows Home Server.

Embedded Automation Inc. released the mControl add-in for Windows Home Server, providing home automation functionality.

Proxure Inc. announced the release of KeepVault for Windows Home Server, providing automatic, online backup and storage of data.

SageTV LLC released SageTV Media Server for Windows Home Server, enabling media streaming from Windows Home Server to any PC or Macintosh, at home or over the Internet.

SightSpeed Inc. announced SightSpeed 6.0 video chat service compatibility with Windows Home Server.

Telligent Systems Graffiti CMS is compatible with Windows Home Server, enabling users to quickly create personal Web sites and blogs.

WiLife Inc. announced the release of Command Center Software version 2.1 home security software for Windows Home Server.