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Set up a server with XP?

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#1 winchester_101


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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:38 PM

Hello again.

I've found much help on this forum for another problem, so I thought I'd pose another question.

I have 2 computers and a wireless printer running on my home network. Both machines are running WIN XP SP3. The network is wireless through a router.

I'd like to add an additional computer to my network to act as a server to store files such as videos and music so that I can stream them to the other computers on the network. Mostly to minimize duplication of what is stored on both computers. I'd also like to use this additional computer as a place to back up data from the other computers, in case of a need to do a clean load of windows on either machine.

I have an older computer on-hand, that with some hardware additions I think will work for my purpose.

So my question is, will this be a good idea to accomplish what I want? Will XP be an acceptable OS? Suggestions on hardware and set-up ideas?

Thanks for any input.


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#2 Andrew


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Posted 10 May 2012 - 09:37 PM

As to which operating system to use:

Windows XP will work fine, unless you expect to have more than a dozen or so computers connecting to it simultaneously. XP has a built-on restriction on the number of client computers it will allow at once. This is a licensing issue rather than a technical issue; Microsoft wants people to buy their more expensive server version rather than use their cheaper home version for that purpose. Still, from what you describe I don't think this will be an issue for you if you pick XP.

Microsoft also publishes Windows Home Server which is exactly what its name suggests.

Another option would be a non-Windows (i.e. Linux/BSD) OS. There are a number of advantages (and disadvantages) over a Windows-based OS. Chief among the advantages are the facts that there are numerous distributions (versions) of Linux and BSD which are specifically geared towards servers, especially headless ones -- which brings me to the next advantage: you don't need a monitor. Linux can run completely without a graphical interface or even a keyboard attached. Remote administration tools are aplenty, assuming you don't mind a little command-line-fu.

Hardware-wise there's really not much to say. A low-traffic server isn't going to be particularly taxing even the most sickly of post-2000 PC hardware. That said, you will probably want to beef up the storage capacity and make sure it has a good, fast network card. Also: if at all possible, connect your server to your network with actual cables; wifi will saturate very quickly if more than one file is streaming from the server at once.

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