Can I make my old computer a file server?

I have an old computer now, that hasn't been used for able 6 months. I think I still have some files (specifically mp3s) that I'd still like to get off the HD.

Lately, I've been wondering if it'd do me good to make it a file server. I'm just scared that my HD would crash. I wouldn't mind buying another network card for my newer computer, and have two NICs installed. One to go to the old computer, and the other for my DSL connection (dynamic IP).

I have Partition Magic, too. I was thinking if I can download a Linux distribution, repartition the HD to have as much space as possible for my files, and get a cable to run from the new computer to the old.

<b>Old System Specs:</b>
Integrated Audio/Video
SiS Motherboard
6.4GB Fujitsu HD (super slow)
Kingston NIC

If anyone can explain how I can do this, or if there's a better way, please enlighten me. Honestly, I have no clue...LoL :smile: Thanks!

Kernel32.dll, son of a.... :eek:
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More about make computer file server
  1. how many computers do you have in your house..
    because if you only have the two...and would be primarily using the newer one...then i would say to just take the old hard drive and put it in the new computer....
    but if you have more than those two computers..
    then set up a home network!
    it is pretty easy, and not too expensive..
    just get a hub ($40), enough network cables to connect the computers (depending on length, but from fry's electronics, about $1.10 a foot i think with connectors on a cat-5 cable)(make sure that you get cat 5, or it will not work), and then on the computers set up the correst protocols and ip addresses, and then reboot them all..
    then on the one you want to be a file server, share the files you want to be shared, and then make a folder that you can store stuff on...full access sharing..
    if everything is set up right, then you should be able to see all the computers on the network, and share the files..
    good luck, and since i dont know much about linux, then maybe someone else can help you with the linux end of this setup..
    in my house i have 5 computers right now, and planning on adding another, and have the parts to build like 3 more..
    i also have been maintaining my home network, and upgrading it as i as far as windows 98se and 2000 goes, and maybe nt, i can network for the home user...
    my house is like a lan party sometimes....playing massive games of red alert2...and when my friend brings his computer and his laptop over, then the games get bigger...
    home networks are great...just dont get too frustrated, you might mess up if you are frustrated...
    good luck!


    -Vacuums suck...really...-
  2. Apartment, actually. A one bedroom, with my mom (I'm only 20...LoL). She isn't really computer literate, at the time, so it's basically me using the computer.

    The old computer is only really good for internet, word processing and similar stuff, and serving up files. I guess sticking the old HD into my new computer would suffice. I actually tried installing it in my new computer, and it wouldn't fit. What do I do about this?

    Anyways, I'm just scared because that old HD will crash, since it's like 4 years old. So, I guess I wouldn't wanna use it as a file server. Would it be okay if I just set the old HD down on the side, and just plug it in? Then, get the files? That's what I was thinking.

    I guess I kinda just wanted to know how to do it as well. I know there's one at work, and I wonder what it runs on, how it runs, and if one can just run without a monitor. (Especially since I only have one.)

    Thanks for your reply!

    Kernel32.dll, son of a.... :eek:
  3. can just plug it into the cable when it is sitting on its side....make sure that the pcb on the bottom is not touching metal, and then make sure that the breather hole is not being pushed in....there is sometimes a sticker over is just to help with the expanding air in the drive as it heats up..
    and as far as running a file server without a monitor...i think that you would want to have a monitor on it, just to be able to administer things, and run checks, and to make sure that it is on!.....
    if you really wanted to use it as a file server, then you might be able to check out a computer show, or look for monitor repair places in the phone friend picked up a 17" monitor refurbished like 2 years ago for $80....
    and it is still working, and looks great..
    sometimes monitor repair places have used monitors lying around..
    for cheap.
    you might be able to rig up a hard drive folder with some slot covers...
    i think that gideontech has a guide on how to make one..i will try and get the address...
    but what size is your case..
    is there room under the drive cage which you could hang a hard drive on...
    that is what you will need to put a hard drive there
    also, a metal drill bit, and a drill...
    it is a pretty easy mod..
    look at or i will post the link here..
    oh and if you just hook the hard drive up, and run the computer with it reting on it's side, then you might want to turn your tower on it's side, and place the extra hard drive on the cage that holds the installed hard drive...
    just put it METAL me, other side down will make huge sparks....hehe not good!
    good luck, and i think i will be posting a link here so that you can make that mod for the hard drive holder..
    BTW, did you build the new comp, or did you buy it from a manufacturer?
    just a question so i can get an idea on what case you used..and if you built it...what case did you use?


    -Vacuums suck...really...-
  4. File server will have to wait. I built my computer, based on the Tom's Hardware Guide for a DIY PC for under $1000. I have a Mid Tower. You can see it on <A HREF="" target="_new">this page</A>. But, below the HD cage, I have an 80mm fan running. Tomorrow morning, I'll try to see if it'll fit.

    I forgot that I've done this already with this drive, erasing everything on it with one of those free wipe programs. But, do you think it'll be an okay drive to store some files? I'm kinda freaked out that it'll die on me. To be honest, I'm kinda paranoid to store anything on it.

    My mom's friend has a monitor that isn't being used, and will probably give it to us (yay!). But, no one will really use it. I can't think of a use for my old computer. I'm thinking of trying Linux, but I don't think my time permits me to. The place I work at (non-profit) need a computer, but my mom won't let them...LoL Go figure, huh? <b>We're not even using it right now!</b> :lol:

    What you were mentioning about hanging the HD below the cage was actually how it was setup on my old Packard Bell. But, what's a HD folder with slot covers?

    Kernel32.dll, son of a.... :eek:
  5. From my experience of old HDD's you can useally tell when they are going out. You get things like scandisk needing to be ran all the time, defrag's contantly needing to be ran, really eratic access, jive like that. Useally drives are fine and there is no need to worry bout em tell then. BUT if its a real serious deal to you, back up the files on another media (another hdd or cd) and have no worries. My guess though is if you haven't seen any of these symptoms its worth the gamble. I know people that have had drives way over 4 years with no probs.

    For a file server on a side note, not to applicable for your situation, if you install win2k with terminal server you don't need anything pluged into the box except the power cable and the ethernet cable (after you have setup the box that is) its a pretty sweet setup. Its what we use in our house for our file/mp3 server. That is neither here nor now.

    You can get external drive slots that fit in the 5 1/4" (?) drive bays for nuthing. I have even seen drive bays that plug into comps by USB, makeing anything you want an external drive. Might be an alternate solution for yah instead of freakensteing your comp (though that is always kewl)


    Hell hath no fury like a womens scorn for Sega
  6. You're right. I shouldn't really sweat too much about it. I'm about to try to see if I can fit my old HD into my computer.

    Even though I'm not gonna do a file server, that was pretty helpful. How exactly do you go about setting up Windows 2000 as a terminal server? Plus, in the future, if I were to do something like this, what components would you suggest it has? Can my old computer be set up that way? I'm thinking no, because it only has 64MB of RAM...

    Kernel32.dll, son of a.... :eek:
  7. ok, i found the link..
    there, they show you what i am talking about..
    and sorry, i had a typo...not a hard drive folder, a hard drive holder...
    basically drill a few holes in one of those slot covers that you use to cover unused slots in the back of your case, one hole to attatch to the screws holding in your original hard drive, and another to screw the new one into.
    and as far as i know, the hard drive should be okay as long as you arent hearing clicking noises coming out of it, or as stated earlier, if you are constantly getting errors like having to run scan disk, and haveing to defrag, and other stuff like that....generally, a hard drive is pretty reliable, until you start hearing strange noises...
    but then again..arent strange noises coming out of your computer a bad thing anyways? a thought!:)


    -Vacuums suck...really...-
  8. Hey, thanks for that link. It was an interesting article, but I don't have a dremel or anything. I don't think I'm gonna use that old hard drive, because it's so sluggish compared to my new one.

    I'm gonna hold off on the file server. I don't really need that, though. Right now, though, I'm trying to see if installing with <A HREF="" target="_new">98lite</A> (micro) will make my system more secure, less prone to errors, and make it as quick as possible. So far, it is, except for the fact that Opera v5.12 can't get into Hotmail, even when I tried their "fix". Other than that, I like it. Anyhoo...

    Kernel32.dll, son of a.... :eek:
  9. hey, that sounds great...and i dont think that you need the dremel to make the holes, as long as you have a drill that can drill through metal...
    i think that if you used that hard drive to store mp3's or something, or word files, you should be ok, because access time isnt really noticeable on slower drives, unless it is like 15 years old..
    my little brother has a computer, and in that thing is a 4500 rpm 512k buffer seagate* (* i think that is the brand)
    and i can stream video and mp3's off that thing over the network. and his computer is a pentium 233mmx!
    so i dont think that the drive being slow would hinder storage ability...
    but if you really dont want to bother with making the holders, then i would say screw it...
    alright...sounds like you know what you are doing from here..
    by the way, how much is the windows 98 lite?


    -Vacuums suck...really...-
  10. I'll probably use it on my old computer sometime, but I don't think I will in the near future. It's about 4 years old, though. And, mp3s are precious sorta, because you have to download them and all. The documents would have to be on a more reliable drive, though, that's for sure.

    For <A HREF="" target="_new">98Lite</A>, I think it's $25, but there's a free preview version. It doesn't include...well, you can see the site for yourself. :smile: I think a lot of people will say that it isn't worth all the trouble, but whatever I can do to make my computer better will be attempted to be done.

    Thanks for your help!

    Kernel32.dll, son of a.... :eek:
  11. Update: I can now access Hotmail from Opera. Just make sure that if you use 98Lite and do a fresh install, make sure you enforce the suggested directions to ensure Hotmail accessibility. I'm still gonna use POP3, using Pegasus mail, instead of Hotmail. Now, off to install the rest of my applications...

    Kernel32.dll, son of a.... :eek:
  12. Update 2: Nope...not anymore. After logging out of Hotmail, changing some settings (not the required ones), and restarting my computer, I tried again to log into Hotmail. Didn't work. I'm gonna use Netscape for now until Opera gets fixed.

    Kernel32.dll, son of a.... :eek:
  13. wow...lots of trouble with opera eh?
    that doesnt sound too bad for an "upgraded" operating system...
    but i think that i have something that "kinda" does the same thing...
    have you ever heard of that? it just makes windows more customizeable, and you can disable certain funcitons that windows 98 runs in the background..
    you can also make windows and option menus pop up faster...which i think is kinda nifty.

    also, when there is a faulty uninstall, and the program remains in the "add/remove programs" list, this thing lets you remove it from that list..another nifty feature..
    but i havent had experience with 98lite...
    but i understand what you are talking about with reliability...but i think that if the drive is working now, then it should be able to work in the future..
    and as far as reliability goes, you should have warning signs of the drive wearing lost files, corrupt sectors, strange clicking sounds coming from the drive, and constant scandisk runs...
    but it is all up to you...but personally, i would take all the storage room i can get..
    and since it is a slower, older drive, i dont think that heat coming off that thing should be much trouble to your computer...
    but is all up to you..
    and why cant you give that old comp to the non-profit organization..i think that (depending on what they need a computer for) that thing should be good..
    much better than no computer..
    and it would put it to use..
    i have a bunch of comptuer parts sitting around (used to have more, before i moved) and even though they are old parts, i like to put them to use, like building my little sister a computer, or selling them to people, or trading a bunch of them for something newer...
    anything to either get them off my hands, or put them to use..


    -Vacuums suck...really...-
  14. oh yeah, thanks for the e-mail man!...
    maybe you want to share that link...*wink*wink* you know what i am talking about..


    -Vacuums suck...really...-
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