Using old tower

I am purchasing a new Intel Core 2 Quad Processor system. I wish to keep and use my old Dell Dimension 8200 tower with extra hard drives, optical drives and 1.44 floppy drive for storage and whatever. My new machine has Windows Vista Home Premium. The old machine has Windows XP SE2. My home network has three computers wireless and wired.

My questions are where can I learn how to set up and utilize this older tower on my home network? Do I need to leave a full operating system on it? Will I need to boot up the old tower to Windows? I don't want to have a monitor connected to it so how does this work? What else do I need to know to make this work efficiently? I'm using a Verizon Router and DSL. I have a home network already set up with three computers, wired and wireless. Remember, I know nothing!

I am guessing the old tower would be a "server." I'm a neophyte when it comes to these matters. All help including the very basics would be much appreciated.
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More about using tower
  1. Get a KVM switch. These are easily attainable for $25 - $50 or so. You can have it sitting beside your new computer and just switch to it for whenever you need to do anything. If you have Windows XP pro installed, you can use it as a file server for backups or something. I currently have an old PC with a 200 GB hard drive and a small linux file server OS installed for use as a backup server. I have Acronis True Image workstation running on my other computers that backup the entire hard drive once a week at night. In order for this to work, you'll need a decent size hard drive installed in the old PC, probably as a slave. You can get a good Seagate 5-year warranty 320 gig drive for around $80, about $120 for a 500 gig and $150 for a 750 gig. You don't have to use Linux as it is more difficult to setup. Windows XP Pro will work fine, but not Home. Just create a folder, share it and map a drive from the other computers to the share. Example, if your computer name is "Computer" and the folder is called "backup". Then the share would be \\Computer\Backup. Make it an X: drive or something.
  2. Interesting, I'll check that out. Will that eliminate the need for a monitor on the old tower?
  3. Yes. A KVM switch (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) connects the keyboard, video (or monitor) and mouse to 2 (or more) computers. They come in PS/2 or USB flavors. PS/2 is the old style little round connectors. USB is the newer flat ones. All new Dells only use USB. If your new computer, keyboard, mouse are all USB, then get a USB KVM switch and it should work with the old computer also. The only possible issue would be if you are using a DVI connector for the monitor. It's a larger white-color one. You might have a harder time finding a KVM switch that is DVI. On my setup at home, I have the DVI cable connected from the new computer to the monitor and the KVM switch VGA connector (blue) connected from the other port on the monitor to the KVM switch. I just have to switch the KVM and press the video source button on the monitor to view the old computer.
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