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At my school they are selling some 4 year old ancient computers, when I say ancient I mean single core Pentium 4's and Celeron's. But they are going for around a $100 with a small 15inch LCD, keyboard and mouse. So my friend suggested if we could perhaps use one as a home server to well share movies, music and some website hosting, I also suggested a Private WoW server just for fun. But my problem is I dont know anything about well, how to do this, how to set it up or really what kind of tools I'm going to need. We thought if we bought one add a stick or two of RAM as it only has 512MB and some extra HDD's for storage. But one problem has occurred, the people selling them at school have said...that the hard drives are IDE.

 

Please just give me some suggestions on well, how to set this up.

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if it's x64 capable, go to MS connect and sign up for the WHSv2 beta, code name Vail. it's a free download for now.

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512Mb is actually enough for some basic server stuff (depending on OS used).

As smadge said you could try WHS V2 if the boxes have 64 bit cpus (does not sound like it).

Otherwise you could try Linux, freeBSD or OpenSolaris or Windows Home server V1.

Easiest solution for basic server stuff may be just install Windows 2000 and set up file sharing etc.

 

As far as SATA drives go the, wouldn't surprise me if the mobos have at least one sata port, just not used.

Otherwise a cheap multi port PCI sata card will do the job.

http://www.scorptec.com.au/computer/9/87/?order=price

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Buy some IDE drives (they still exist, i even use them in some boxes), and throw on a simple to use linux distro. Have a friend who uses mandriva for his home server, very easy to configure. But yeah, would look at new drives. Otherwise, perfectly usable.

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Honestly? I'd avoid a 4 year old hard drive that has been in a school PC...

 

Depends HOW old; there are some relic drives out there (sub 10GB), IDE, that i'd trust after 10 years of operation in a school way more than any new drive. Some of them just dont die! (just dont touch the IBM Desk(death)star drives, you'll regret it.

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Honestly? I'd avoid a 4 year old hard drive that has been in a school PC...

 

Depends HOW old; there are some relic drives out there (sub 10GB), IDE, that i'd trust after 10 years of operation in a school way more than any new drive. Some of them just dont die! (just dont touch the IBM Desk(death)star drives, you'll regret it.

 

We had 100 computers running with Deathstar drives for years without a single failure.

Then again, another batch of computers which was ordered two weeks later had to have all 15 drives replaced within a year of service.

 

If you are looking at file sharing on your network, you could also look at something like FreeNAS which would easily run on some older hardware and would offer you some authentication and RAID (if you are worried about them)

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Hey guys, thanks for the enthusiasm so far!

 

I have been sussing it out, it's actually SATA but the nooby guy doesn't know if it's SATA or SATA2. See me and my mate are trying to distribute movies and music to just a small group of mates at our school. So we are looking at buying more HDD's for this exactly. I know that is has four SATA ports in total with one being used at the moment. And thankfully has a brand new copy of windows XP coming with it. Yet we have not been told if this is 64 or 32 bit. Secondly we are not sure if it's DDR2 compatible. The brand is ASI and is four years old. They haven't had problems with them as we still are using the same ones in class. The guy is going to run through with us there to make sure there are not any problems. Is RAID also a smart idea? Through any suggestions my way Im happy to read.

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Does the case have a sticker describing what model it is? If so, get googling, find out what parts it uses.

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Does the case have a sticker describing what model it is? If so, get googling, find out what parts it uses.

But that would be a logical decision. :P

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if it's a school computer, it will be xp home (specially if it's a p4 or cele). Most license agreements for schools require all the machine's to have some form of xp license on them, so naturally they use the cheaper xp home license. And i know at my school where i work, all the machine's from 4 years ago came with the OEM XP home disc =).

 

Oh, and i would think they would be sata1 if they're p4's.

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Yep it will almost certainly be sata 1 but thats okay sata1 is still faster than what your network will be capable of, so don't worry it wont hold you back. It's important that you check they pc does not have a 137gb limitation. If you have a drive thats bigger than 137gb plug it in and see. I would say not though during the p4 era was where this limitation was broken and it was early in the p4's life - but its still something you need to look at.

 

ram wount really help you aside from making it a bit smoother of a desktop experience but as a basic windows file server id be tempted to leave it with 512mb. Two reasons for this is that its either going to be running DDR1 ram or RDRAM. Either of these ram types are quite expensive now.

 

if you decide to go with something like freenas (don't have any experiance with this) then everything should be web administrable and you can shove the box in a corner out of the way somewhere. you won't need a mouse or keyboard connected.

 

oh and this forum does not implicitly like to acknowledge copy right infringement - read the faq. So we all take lots of photos and are amateur film makers - if you catch my drift.

 

as for raid. You have 4 sata ports this gives you the promise of running 4 drives in RAID 5. Going with a simple example you will recieve the capacity of n -1 drive with n being the amount you buy. eg you buy 4 * 1tb drives you will recieve 3tb for your storage. The extra space in taken up by parity. What this gives you in return is the ability to hit one drive with a hammer and then replace it (with a new one) with out loosing any data.

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Ok, home server here is what you need to consider.

 

Purpose:

 

You said you wanted to setup the ability to share files around with your friends.

See me and my mate are trying to distribute movies and music to just a small group of mates at our school.

Are you intending to share the physical systems around once you have files on them or setup FTP access into your home network?

 

If it's FTP into your home network, you need to consider many points including:

 

1. Static IP address or DYDNS + firewall configuration (see if your modem/ router supports port forwarding)

 

2. Securing your environment and ensuring you are using something current which updates regularly as you expose your system to the entire internet

 

Hardware:

 

So you have figured out you have SATA ports which is great. I don't think it matters too much if they are SATA 1 or 2 - Sata 2 drives are fine with Sata 1 ports.

 

As for 32bit CPUs or 64 Bit CPUs - for what you are using it for it doesn't matter all that much unless you are using an Operating System which requires it.

 

The Windows XP version coming with it will almost certainly be 32 bit. Linux distros all come with 32 bit and 64 bit versions and if you are going that way just make sure you download the right one for your CPU. Perhaps your admin can fire one up and give you a CPU model number to check.

 

512mb may be enough to get it running but I would suggest more RAM. 1GB would be safer than 512mb although I have found that Linux w/ ample swap space seems to handle lower memory. RSYNC is the only service I have found that killed my 512MB servers and I don't think you would be running that.

 

Operating System:

 

Windows XP: is actually fine for basic "server" use. It will support a software RAID 1 to give you some redundancy with two drives but really, you should be considering something else especially if you intend to allow external traffic into your box.

 

Linux/ Unix Distros: I am not sure if you are familiar with nix environments at all. There is generally some learning that is needed especially when it comes to permissions. It's amazing how many posts on forums are from people who don't understand permissions and is the cause of their problems. For user friendly you can look at Ubuntu or pretty much

 

Pre Rolled: Project like FreeNAS (which seems to be in limbo although there are now two splinter projects which may or may not have launched) are good alternatives. Imagine a pre-rolled ISO which, once installed, gives you a web based interface that allows you to add drives, create RAIDs, add shares etc ... I found FreeNAS pretty good although the Apple sharing gave me problems with permissions and generally when setting up a share I often found I needed to SSH into the box to fix permission problems.

 

Windows Server: I can't really comment - I haven't played with it.

 

RAID:

 

RAID is generally a great idea. RAID 0 will allow you more storage across your drives, some potential speed increase but no redundancy (one drive fails, your RAID dies). RAID 1 will give you mirroring with some speed impact but I would say it's negligible for your intended purpose. RAID 5 should be fine on a linux distro so long as you have enough HDD bays for 3 or more drives.

 

For $100 though, I would grab the box and try some scenarios.

 

If you are with a decent ISP (eg. Internode or iinet) you will find all the linux distros your heart desires on their mirrors meaning unmetered download.

 

Start with the hardware you get - install the OS and see how far you get. MAKE NOTES! If it works - add your RAM and Hard Drives and expand/ reinstall.

 

Good luck - a wonderful journey of discovery awaits :)

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Sounds fun Im thinking of turning a old p4 box into a ftp server. Connecting it to my desktop which has all my drives and data.

 

 

Make sure you keep this thread updated Im keen to see how it goes.

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Okay, I've been looking into FreeNAS, Snow Leopard Server, Windows 2008 Server and Linux. Apparently Linux is a bitch to use. And there I am unsure of it. I just need to know which is the best. Ive been running around the net for reviews, a lot say Mac Server is faster and is compatible with UNIX and Windows users.

 

Also how can I load the OS onto this computer? Am I to burn it to a disc or can I stick it on a USB and do it off that? HELP LOL!

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A Linux Live distribution needn't even be installed, and might even run off a USB key if you can figure out how!

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Only way to install OSX server is to either hackintosh your PC or do it in a VM. Other then that BL.

 

 

I would say go with with Linx SUSE or windows server 2003/2008

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As I said Windows Home Server dude. Simplest and easiest server to set up for home use.

Although it would run better with 1Gb ram.

If the CPu is non 64 bit then the current version is the one to get.

I am running mine on a Via C7 1.5Ghz low power CPU (but I do have 2Gb ram although it doesn't really need that much).

It automatically sets up media shares and can also do automatic backups of your home desktops.

I can even stream to my network enabled TVix PVR.

30 day trial can be downloaded here

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/...erver/eval.mspx

Oh and I wouldn't bother with a web site hosting unless you have some serious up bandwidth as it is a good way to get your connection hammered to death and also opens your network up to more risks. Use a remote host for that.

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Yes Windows does definately look like the best option. I will get it! Just can someone give me a link on where to, you know get it. And well, how do I install it on this computer, am I to burn an ISO image to a disc?

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