Windows XP Home as a file server?
April 20, 2005 2:58 PM   Subscribe

I just bought a smokin' new laptop with a 60GB hard drive, replacing my aging-but-serviceable desktop. I have about 90GB of files in total--too large to fit on the laptop. My just-replaced desktop is running XP Home, while my laptop is XP Pro -- can I use my desktop as a file server, or is XP Home too limiting/insecure? Am I opening myself up to a world of hurt?

If possible, I'd prefer not to install a different OS.

FYI, I have a removable hard drive that I use for back-up purposes, but don't want to be tethered to it when I'm accessing my password-protected wi-fi network from the coffee shop in the bottom of my building. Also, I'd like to be able to map a network drive that reconnects at login. Google has confused me in regards to all this.
posted by kables to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
You should, just set up networking and share the files. Definately put up a password to your printer and do not allow changing or renaming of any files. Install software antivirus programs on all machines and turn on the firewalls. If you are on WiFi you can turn on protection or be kind of a dumbass like me and share your half terabyte collection of movies and music.
posted by Dean Keaton at 3:06 PM on April 20, 2005

If you are at all (and I mean any little bit) tech savvy, I would suggest you boot Knoppix off a livecd and use the old desktop as a file server that way. I just did this with an old Win98 machine that I need to have running Windows occasionally. Getting networking and file sharing up was all done in a couple of easy menus and the latest version off Knoppix autodetected just about everything.
posted by mzurer at 5:14 PM on April 20, 2005

90Gig of what? Might a good compression package bring that down to something you could fit on the laptop?
posted by krisjohn at 6:00 PM on April 20, 2005

Thanks for your replies.

90GB of MP3s, digital photos, video files, and other miscellaneous cruft. You know: stuff that will keep coming.

Would Knoppix be more secure than Windos Home? I guess I'm trying to gauge if there are any big bright warning flags.
posted by kables at 6:44 PM on April 20, 2005

Hands up kables!! This is the RIAA we got you now you dirty rat !!!

posted by a3matrix at 7:28 PM on April 20, 2005

Oh geez, mister, ya got me. Can I pay you back in doubloons?

Seriously, I'm trying the Knoppix route. If it gets crazy Linux hard, I'll just share out folders in Windows, and cross my fingers that there aren't all sorts of well-known XP Home loopholes that all the script kiddies know about.

I'm such a n00b.
posted by kables at 7:42 PM on April 20, 2005

Buy an external USB-powered 120 GB hard drive for about $150 - $200 for your overflow.
posted by yclipse at 6:08 AM on April 21, 2005

XP could work as a file server. Another alternative is ClarkConnect. A special-purpose linux package, it installed like a dream (just boot from a CD) and makes a "headless" file server (can also do other things). Turned out to be really easy to install and configure and is relatively secure.

Headless, of course, means it can be administered remotely through a web interface and the computer doesn't need a monitor or keyboard once you get it running.

posted by Tallguy at 3:15 AM on April 22, 2005

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