I would like to learn as much as possible about networks and servers in as little time as possible. I'm only seeking the basic knowledge at the moment, I'll get deeper into it later on.
So basically what I'd like to do is establish a network with a server in our own home, so I can practice it all this way (since I don't have a chance or resources for building a real network from scratch).
This is a scheme of how things are set in our house:
The computer A is my main computer which I am using daily. The computer S is an older desktop which I will be using as a server to learn from it, both computers are in my room (as is the switch). The computer B is a laptop connected wirelessly in another room and modem & router are located in the third room.
My main question is: how to set everything in such way that when the desktop computer is on it acts as the server and I have a network from which I can learn as much as possible but when the computer S is off, then all the computers can still normally work and connect to the internet through the router - exactly as they did up till now (before I started learning about networks and servers)? I would like to know if this is possible, before I start, and how.
On the computer S I have already installed Windows Server 2008 and on my main computer A I have Windows 7 (computer B is still running Windows XP). I have updated Windows Server 2008 and installed a free AV for servers on it (Clam AV - no resident protection sadly).
I am very concerned about security - my computer A is very securely configured. Will I be exposed to more threats by building this network with the server withhout a "proper" antivirus (or not at all)? What do I have to be careful about when having a network exposed to the internet? I don't know much about ports (or anything else for that matter) yet.
Things I would like to learn first are:
1. How to set it all up so that it will work properly (active domain and stuff like that).
2. How to share a few files, maybe share a printer (it's physically connected to the computer and similar.
3. How to make it all very safe and secure for all the computers involved.
That's already too much text for the first post, I hope you will help me, any help would really be much appreciated!