How to set up a home network [Question, not Guide]

Well, recently I've stumbled onto an idea I find could be worthwhile for me.

I have multiple pc's in my house, all used for different reasons. One's a gaming PC, one's for music, I have one running linux, and just a random laptop.

I was wondering, how would I go about setting up a home network, where each computer could access the other one so I could listen to music on say, my gaming PC, instead of going to my music PC, instead of putting them all into one, then maybe access my music PC with my laptop. Is there any guide out there I could use to this?

I have wireless on all of my computers, with a router hooked up to the bottom PC .

I have Windows XP professional on all my PC's except the one running Linux. Anybody have any suggestions for some less experienced [not using the biggest terms?]
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  1. I know iTunes has the shared library feature where you can listen to songs on another computer.

    You could set the drive on the music machine as a shared folder and have your music play directed there for the files. Although this will increase network usage plus that computer would always have to be on for access.

    You could get a NAS - Network Attached Storage and have all the music on it.
  2. Well, I just don't want to deal with iTunes as a software. I'd rather be dealing with the hardware side of things, just to get experience, and I'll know what to do.

    Yes, this computer would always be on in my room, well, for the most part when I need it. I was thinking maybe getting an eSATA drive, hooking it up to my computer, and setting up the drive on the network. Would this be a smart idea or not?

    Another question, how exactly would you go about sharing a drive? I think I have an idea - right click on drive and click the button that says share. WOuld this be the correct, and most safe way?
  3. Just share the drive and your set. Make sure all computers are in the same workgroup. Just make sure your wireless is secure and you shouldnt have problems.
  4. Your best bet is putting to use an obsolete comp as a dedicated file server, but put a hefty HDD into it.
    Otherwise look into a NAS unit, but deal with slow transfer rates as it converts files to/and from a conformant form.
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