I have a bunch of 80GB, 120GB, 160GB hard drives full of all my data, and I need to set them up the same way you would useing FreeNAS on XP Pro SP3. (I can't use FreeNAS as this will need to format the HDD's before use.)
Now, My current setup is:
CPU: Pentium 4 3.06Ghz
RAM: 512MB DDR PC3200
MoB: Unknown, but supports Sata/IDE.
HDD: 3 x 80GB IDE, 1 x 80GB Sata, 1 x 120GB Sata, 2 x 160GB sata
I found an unused sata PCI card, so I got an extra 2 sata ports.
I'm a total noob to networking (belive it or not) and I need step by step instructions on how to configure XP Pro SP3 to work like a FreeNAS setup would. Like, setting up IP's and what not. (don't forget total noob to networking, I can't even setup my own home router without getting confused.)
1. Connect all the computers to the computer that has the storage by means of a router. If you have alot of computers that are going to be connected to the share usinga wired connection, you will need a network switch as well. You can also connect them using a wireless connection.
The easiest way is to go to best buy or a similar store and get a router. The router will help you with making sure that all the connected computers, whether they are wired to the router or wireless, get the correct IP address so that they can 'talk' to each other.
The instructions on the router will help you in setting up your network.