Setting Up A Home Network Part 2: Turning A Old PC Into A Server

I’m sure like me you probably have a computer sitting around collecting dust as a door stop. Now that you have that router setup (as talked about in part one) now let’s put that old computer into good use as a home server. There are so many benefits to having a home server such as file sharing if you have allot you need to save and always being able to get to thoughts files on any computer in your house. Printer sharing is another good one if you have family and only one printer its grate for that too.

So let’s get started now I used my Vista PC to do this but you can still do this with XP as well. First thing you will want to do is wipe that computer out. Do a clean install of Vista or XP. Now that you have done that Get rid of any crap ware that may have come with that PC if it is a store bought PC. The less stuff you have on it the better. Now I would just start doing updates make sure you have the latest service pack for Vista or XP. You have the computer up to date now it is time to start installing things.

The first thing you will want to install is Log Me In it is a free remote desktop software that you can use to remote access your server form any ware. Now I know that Windows has remote access built in but it is hard to setup and this is just a lot easier to setup then the windows tool.

The second piece of software you will want to install is Hamachi from Log Me In it is a VPN client free for home use. This is very useful now that you have server a computer that is always on you can setup a VPN. VPN stands for Virtual Privet Network which means if you’re out and about on your laptop and you are connected to WIFI you’re not sure about just open Hamachi and log in to your home network from that not so trusted network, now everything you do is encrypted plus you have access to your network resources like shared files and folders.

Itunes 9.0 would be the third thing I would put one the server. My rezoning for this is because of the Home Share that is in Itunes 9 witch works if you all your music is on that computer now you can share it to all the computers in your house that is authorized to your account.

There is one more thing you may want to put on your server and that is a AV (antivirus) just because you’re going to have files coming and going your server (especially if you are sharing with a family or roommate) and you just don’t know what thoughts might be so better safe them sorry.

Ok you have all this software installed and it is all configured so now what… your done? No not yet almost though. You should have some kind of file structure like in my cause I have a folder on my server called home network then in there I have on called Users which has a folder with my name that I put things in to. One for everyone else in the house that they can use as well. You may or may not do this put partitioning the hard drive is a good idea if you want to limit everyone on how much they put on the server. I did not do this just because I don’t put big things like video’s on my server so I know my files stay around the 1 GB to 2 GB mark.

Once you have all this done now just right click the folder and tell it to share it and make sure that file and printer sharing is on. The way I have it show up on everyone’s computer is I mount there folder as a network drive which is easy to do. Just go to My Computer or Computer.

Select Map Network Drive and it will bring up a screen.

hit the browse button and find the your server and browse until you found the folder you want and hit ok then hit Finnish  and that folder will show up in Computer as a drive. This you will have to do with every computer that you are giving access to your server.

After all this you have everything on your server you maybe thinking what happens if something happens to the server? Well you better be backing up witch I talked about in a earlier blog post that is called “Back Up People”.

That about ends how to turn your old computer into a server. After reading all this you might be asking yourself "there must be an easier way to do all this" and there is, that is what I ‘am going to be talking about in there third and final part in this series . Now if you have any questions leave a comment or e-mail over at the side there with thoughs questions and I will get back to you. Also try out the message boards if I can’t help you maybe some else can.

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