Noobie in need for first time server set up

Hey every one so im looking to set up my own server, for the first time too!

So im coming to you all to ask if you can give me some step by step guides on what i need to do or whats the best way to go about doing it.

So ill try to break this down in the smallest chunks i can.

What i will be working with:
So This is what i got and what im looking at getting so we all know the playing field we are on.
First off my PC running win 7
the server im looking at getting is this:
In addition i will be using Microsoft Windows servers 2012-data center 64 bit (Because i get it for free :D )
A wired Ethernet connection

What im looking at using my server for:
I wanted to set up this server and have it for me, my friends, and family to share media, games, data, and what not, also for storage for all of my crap, work, school, games, ect ect

What i would like to know:
So what do i do once i stall windows server 2012? i know one thing im going to do is set up remote desk top so i can log into it from my main PC, but how to i go about connecting to the server and running things from it?

Is it as simple as mapping a network drive? \\servername
or is there a little more finessing?

If some one could give me a step by step process or direct me to a guide or video it would be much appreciated

Additional thing:
Some other things that a friend of mine was telling me i though was interesting was that it is possible to use your server as a VPN to mask your identity and even use the server as a physical fire wall, if any one know how to do that, that would just be super.

thank you for taking the time to read this
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  1. Best answer
    The server can be connected to through file shares pretty simply, at least within your LAN, by creating folders and sharing them with access permissions to the individual user accounts on computers throughout your network. Be aware that if you have all your computers with Windows 7 and are running Server 2012, then all user accounts accessing to the file shares will need to have passwords. If not, then you'll need to set up access permissions for the pre-configured "Everyone" to give everyone access, which isn't always the best security practice.

    The best way of doing this is yes, creating mapped network drives on your LAN computers to individual shares on the server.

    You can set up a firewall system on your server, and included in Windows of course it does have a software firewall. For more robust configurations and options though normally you utilize additional installed software, most often a stand-alone Linux distribution specifically designed for the task. This means you'll need to virtualize and run a VM of Linux, which probably won't be possible to do any virtualization on that server.
  2. why would i not be able to do virtualization on the server?
  3. The HP micro server you linked to does not have the hardware capabilities to really do any virtualization, this requires more hardware horsepower. Given the limited capabilities of that configuration without additional upgrades, its going to be hard pressed even running Server 2012 Datacenter.
  4. so im limited by the sever, well if i do put datacenter on it, will i be able to do what im wanting to do? which is install data center, set up remote desktop on it so i can access it form my comp, then just connect to it pretty simply through \\server name? and allow other people to connect to it via the same thing as long as i give them a user account and password for it
  5. Basically what you are wanting to do with this device is just file sharing, which can be done with the HP Microserver that you linked to. It's performance capabilities are not going to be great by any means, so don't expect to be streaming video feeds to multiple devices or trying to run any applications from the system. Given the processor type and the limited amount of RAM in the server, it will have its hands full with just running the Server 2012 Datacenter.

    This server supports up to four hard drives. Had you thought of how you would configure your storage?
  6. Have not really put much thought into that. I dont really want to raid the drives, never have been a big fan of that.
  7. It's not really necessary to RAID the drives really unless you want continual up-time on your server. Many think of RAID as a backup system, and that is a "side effect" of a basic RAID array, but really it's purpose is mostly to protect the system and keep it running in the event of a single drive failure.

    While you might not need to worry about RAID, I'd still suggest you plan which hard drives you are going to use and if you value your data, how you wish to back it up.
  8. I would highly recommend picking up the MCSE study guides before doing this. They help tremendously, plus you can take the tests and advance your career in the process.
  9. ill have to pick one of those study guides up haha, The whole reason this started was i found out i get $5000+ of free programs, figured might as well load up on them while i can thanks again guys!
  10. Best answer selected by backspacehacker.
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