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Using Win XP Pro for Small Business Server

Last response: in Components
May 23, 2012 5:07:46 PM

I am by no means a networking, computer, or software expert, but I work with my father as an appraiser and he has asked me to find a solution to a workspace problem we have encountered. We use WinTotal, an appraisal software package, to develop reports for homes that we appraise, and it has many powerful features, but it is often difficult to manage files that are being transferred between two different computers. We are aware that there is a server version of the software that can be installed and used to allow a centralized file system so we can stop transferring the files between us. A second task he wants me to work on is finding a way to allow remote access to central installation as he frequently travels.

Currently, we have an older HP Compaq with Windows XP Professional SP 3 installed, two laptops running Windows 7 Home Edition, and a NAS (our current and under performing solution that moved us from transferring via thumb drives). Also, we are using a wireless network for the laptops and the XP machine and NAS are wired to the router used for the wireless network.

The XP machine has the following specs:
AMD Athalon Dual Core Processor 4450B, 993 Mhz
1.87 GB Ram
80 GB HD - 40 GB free

This link is the PDF of the installation guide for the server software LINK.

My questions: Assuming I upgraded the processor to meet the specifications provided in the guide, what modifications, if any, to the XP OS are necessary to allow us to use it as a server to run this program? What measures are necessary to allow the remote access he has requested?
May 23, 2012 5:22:21 PM

As a second consideration, I am willing to spend a little bit of money and buy a newer Win7 machine that meets the recommended specs in the guide. Would a Win7 Professional computer be easier to set up for this type of use, or should I stick with the XP machine?
May 23, 2012 6:35:56 PM

To turn an XP Pro into a "server", you should do following:
- create user account (on the "server") with same user name and password as you are logging in from your other computer;
- create a share (shared directory) with these accounts havving access to;
- from your client computers: mapping this network share to a drive letter (e.g. F:) ;
- direct your software to store its file on that drive instead of on C:

As for remote access: There are several issues to look after. If you can install your software on the "server" computer as well, you can "remote desktop" onto it from outside, and work as if you are working on that computer. There are lot of remote desktop solutions, have a look at e.g. TeamViewer, or LogMeIn. Just make sure you protect all these accounts with strong passwords - you don't want your neighbour' kid hacking into that computer.
May 24, 2012 1:41:45 PM

Hello friends,

Windows XP is an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops and media centers. Windows XP analyzes the performance impact of visual effects and uses this to determine whether to enable them, so as to prevent the new functionality from consuming excessive additional processing overhead.

Agili Ron