Building a home server

Hey there.

I'm planning to build a home server. My dream for it is that it will sit there running all day, and every time my pcs connect to the network, it will back up any new or changed files on them.

I will then also be able to use it for remote access when away from home, meaning i dont have to leave on my other pcs.

So it doesn't need to be fast, but it does need to be able to have about 2 tb of HDD. I also need a software solution that will do the backup how i want.

Do people recommend XP with third party software, or should i look at windows server, and if so which one.

Finally, the less energy it uses, the better - since itll be always on. It wont need a graphics card or sound, so i can take them out to save on power draw.

Any ideas welcome!


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  1. Why not use a Micro-ATX motherboard with on-board video? I've never seen a server without a video card (on-board or discrete) and not being able to see what I'm doing when shutting it down would definitely bother me. I prefer Windows Server (I use RDP to manage them remotely), but XP would also work as a file server.

    Will the backup software reside on the server? If so, then you'll probably need an agent on the PCs. Do you want to backup all files or only specific folders? Backing up specific folders could probably be done through scripting.
  2. Thanks for the reply. Okay, so what kinda motherboard would you recommend? You see i was thinking just getting a second hand pc off ebay, then just adding a couple of hench hard drives.

    Probably XP (if i get a secondhand one, itll come with XP free). There are several types of sync/backups progs that wouldn't need an agent.

    It would be specific folders, but huge ones. Ideally i want it to vaguely run in the background, but have an option i can start if i know im going to need to access the files remotely, so i can press it, turn off my desktop, and access the files off my server remotely, the server already having copied it for me. You understand?

  3. If you build a new system, then get a motherboard like the GIGABYTE GA-G41M-ES2L, ASUS M3A78-EM, etc. For a server, you want reliability. Being away with a crashed server might not be what you want. A used business PC like an HP D530 or a DC5850 would most likely meet your requirements and they are very reliable.

    I understand what you're trying to do, but you require backup software that can be configured to run in the background and be able to complete a backup before allowing the user to shutdown the PC. You don't want the backup software to abort in the middle of replacing a file.
  4. How much are you willing to spend on it? Ideally if you are using it to back up files you should have a raid 1 or 5 setup for redundancy.
  5. Ideally i want something small form, for around £250ish. thought about raid, but i think its worth the risk - since ill have all the files on their original hdds, id need my laptop and server to die at once to lose everything. if i have a fire that bad, losing my files is gonna be the last thing on my mind - what about the dogs!
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