Setting up a home file server out of an old machine

A little background info:

I have a 750GB Western Digital mybook. It started life as a 500GB Western Digital mybook and i have since replaced the WD 500GB HDD with a 750GB Seagate HDD because I landed a sucker punch on that thing that shook tokyo. Actually I smacked it across the room on accident (yes really it was an accident). I plugged the drive back in to find that it no longer would work. It would start to spin up and shortly after it would go "TICK TICK TICK TICK" loudy... which means I trashed the drive.

So I cut my losses (around 300GB worth of personal data, torrent stuff, music, movies, family photos, backups). I ordered a 750GB sata and reacquired almost everything I lost through one mean or another.

About a week ago I was transferring some of the downloads on my XPS laptop over to the mybook and I accidently knocked it off the table. I think it was unplugged though. However when I go to plug it back in the drive came up as "uninitalized" although it spun up fine and didn't make TICK TICK noises.

After trying nearly everything I stumbled upon a post to try a MBR recovery prorgram. IT WORKED!!! I had saved myself from loosing 350+ GB worth of data!!!

I vowed after that I would build a home file server... I had no need for the portability and this was almost the second time I got burned. I have files on here that I can't get back. For example a complete laptop backup for someone that paid me to fix their laptop. Well now they need it fixed again and I almost lost their backup. They didn't pay me to or ask me to but they were very happy to find I had kept the backup data. I tell everyone I do repair work for that its a prevention method and it actually makes me a good bit of money in tips.

So now I need to build this home file server. I will be reusing my old rig.

It has an AMD Opteron 165 at 1.8ghz, 2 GB of DDR memory, dedicated graphics, 500W PSU and should be great for a file server... plenty fast.

I plan on taking the 750GB drive out of this mybook and putting it in the file server. This drive will not be an OS drive... just a data drive. I have a 320GB drive already in the machine that I will use for an OS drive.

I can install windows XP or windows 7 on this machine. Now here are my factors for choosing the OS:

I want this to be as easy as possible to implement with at least 2 of the computers I have already at home. One runs windows 7 and one runs windows vista. In the future I will be building another machine which will run on windows 7.

I have a wireless router. I want any machine connected to that router (via ethernet or wireless) to be able to access the file server's hard drives (not OS, just stores drives).

If possible I would like to be able to have access from computers running windows XP, windows vista and windows 7. (although vista and win7 are my main concern).

Also I would like the ability to restrict the access to the file server. Meaning I want anyone who can get on the network to be able to "see" the file server but not necessarily be able to get on the file server.
This is entirely optional but I would like it if it is possible to do this.

To recap and sumarize:

I want to build a file server out of an old machine (still fast for "old").

It will be accessed via my wireless router, either by ethernet or wireless

I can use any windows os but would prefer either XP or windows 7

The file server should be able to be accessed by machines running XP, Vista and Win7.

I would like to not use any software I have to pay for.

I would like the ability to be able to easily add new storage disks to the file server machine at a later date.

This machine preferable will be "headless" (no monitor). How can I manage it from another machine (most likely my XPS running win7).

Would like the ability to restrict control to the file server. Sorta like user accounts or along that line.
3 answers Last reply
More about setting home file server machine
  1. for this big explanation , the simple answer in " XP Professional "

    every one knows about XP, so no need to explain it..
    just install XP on old machine & enable RDP ..
    disable themes & other unwanted services..
    you may give a try with NLITE OR Bart PE to slimdown you XP or get it from internet & replace the key with your OWN genuine KEY..
    they will be damn fast..

    using NTFS permission you can control the access permission with different users..
  2. The better solution I can think, I have it at my home, is Windows Home Server as OS.

    Automatic backup of your pc (Win 7, Vista, XP) every night, good file service, duplicate share on more than a disk if you have it, and you have.

    Some others interesting things.

    Works as expcted.
  3. If you want something to be light on your system. Look at a program called FreeNAS. I'm using it and I'm loving it. It has A LOT of features. It can be virtualized, ran from a usb stick or CF card for a reduced chance of failure. And it can to RAID to protect in case of another one of your slapping accidnents.


    Check it out. I think you'd really enjoy it. It would probably be easier than fighting with NTFS permissions.
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