Networking to use Win7 PC as server

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by letmedanz, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2013
    Hi guys,

    I need some help adding my iMac on my home network.
    i have gone through numerous guides but not able to find the right/best/easiest way to get arounf this.
    Just a gentle reminder, am brand new into the mac scene, so be easy on me!

    My present setup-
    iMac 27" (new)
    Win 7 PC with 3 external HDDs (two 1TB & one 3TB) & 1 TB internal
    Sony Vaio laptop also running Win7
    Wireles Router
    and the other regular stuff.
    [everything except the iMac is presently on the network]

    Now, i am a photographer & i have been doing all my work on the PC using LightRoom, Photoshop & other S/W on the PC.
    The Win PC st arted giving me LOT of issues while post processing so took the leap to the iMac.

    This is what i intend to do-
    Get all the systems on the network & work seamlesslely.
    I would like to use the PC mainly as a server or storage unit as it has tons of space.
    I also NEED to be able to access all catalogs & other saved files as it would be a herculean task to re-do over 25k photo/files.
    So basically, i need to just continue where i left off, only difference being i would now be working on the Mac though all the saves etc would be on the PC.

    Is all of this even possible or have the jumped ship without sufficient knowledge? :confused:
  2. macrumors 68030


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    You should be able to share your Windows 7 (which version?) files and connected drives with the Mac. However, I don't recommend working like particular with photo processing. General lagging and the increased chance of file corruption come to mind first. For the occasional file it would be OK but this is risky.
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2013
    Brian, I have Win 7 Ultimate 32 bit...
  4. r0k
    macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I used an intermediate step to go from PC to Mac. I picked up a network drive (Buffalo Linkstation) and used freeware "syncback" to upload all my important files nightly. When I got my Mac, I merely switched off my old PC, switched on my Mac, copied all my files down from the network drive and kept going. Of course I had to find OSX versions of my important programs. I avoided all things Microsoft and Adobe but that was just out of personal preference.

    In your case, you can use the Win7 PC as a file server but I recommend a dedicated network drive. I recommend Synology. I don't recommend Buffalo, Iomega, Seagate, Western Digital or Apple Time Capsule.

    I have about 300 GB of photos on the network drive. Actually I have 2 separate Synology network drives that are mirrors of one another. I also have all my photos on an external firewire drive plugged in to my Macbook Pro. I like the photo organization features of iPhoto but I do NOT allow iPhoto to copy my photos to its library. This means I have a smallish 11 GB iPhoto library with metadata on 300 GB of photos. The only thing I need to do to keep this working is to avoid moving photos around on my attached firewire drive.

    I suggest you do the following:
    1) continue using your PC as a photo repository but quickly make it a backup instead of primary.

    2) get a firewire drive and mirror all your photos to this firewire drive. Make this your primary location from now on. Format it HFS+ Journaled. I know this is an Apple-only format but I have found that I never ever need to worry about going back to PC drive formats again and I trust you find the same to be true.

    3) Replace that aging PC with a network drive, possibly a synology DS112J with a western digital green drive inside. This configuration uses only 6 watts continuous and 18 watts operating. Mirror all your photos to this network drive and you can finally switch off that old PC.

    4) Investigate alternatives to Adobe software then "cross-grade" if necessary. I found back in 2007 that Adobe accepted my Windows license to allow me to buy upgrade versions of their software. I hope they still do.
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2013
    Thanks for the elaborate reply r0k.
    I did consider your suggestions earlier..
    the network drive solution seems to be the best, but considering the cost, it not viable for me at least in the near future.

    Firwire.. you sure that would be ok to do considering that firewire is on its way out (so i think)

    If i have to backup close to 5TB of data, make it reaccessible through the iMac and then possibly get at least another 2Tb for general free's gonna blow me through the roof!

    after the above thoughts, i felt the most economical & easiest way would be to network the systems and accessing them either ways..
    now am too sure!
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2013
    As a thought, would Paragon NTFS for Mac be able to support my 2 external NTFS (WD) drives? will working on these hdd's using paragon solve my immediate issue?
  7. macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada

    It'll work cross platform, backup your photos & computers, can sync to an offsite backup or external USB drive on a schedule and much more. A bargoon at $159 for the DS112j


    You're adding to the complexity and likelihood of data corruption. As in my above message use those WD drives on a DS112j AFTER you setup the 112j or other NAS you can copy the data (your iMac can read NTFS) to the NAS and then plug the WD drive into the NAS, reformat it (EXT4) and use it as a backup for the NAS. A backup means at least two copies.

    The Synology will also give you a decent TM backup solution for your iMac.

    Unless you love to tinker avoid using an old Windows PC as a server.
  8. r0k
    macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I'm not a fan of NTFS. As I'm no longer a Windows user, I have no need to keep things like FAT and NTFS around any longer. With 5TB of data sitting on NTFS or FAT volumes, I would think your highest priority would be getting that stuff backed up! I'm not saying this because of any issues with NTFS (other than the fact that it doesn't play well with OSX). I'm saying this because one copy of anything is never a good practice.

    Firewire on its way out? I have a late 2011 MBP with FW. Yes you can get Thunderbolt. Yes you can get USB3. But USB3 cannot be daisy-chained and Thunderbolt is too darned expensive right now. I highly recommend a firewire drive, even if it means spending $30 for one of Apple's TB to FW adapters.
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2013
    Thanks for the insight r0k..
    if i am eventually going to be getting a NAS, wouldn't the firewire drive become redundant?

    i just realised that the 3TB drive i have is the WD MyBook Essentials model which supports Firewire.
    You reckon i can use this temporarily till i can move to NAS?
    i would probably have to re-format the drive & transfer the data back..if it's possible?
  10. r0k
    macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I prefer fw because its faster than usb (was) and can be daisy chained. I suppose you could simply plug in and use the wd drive on your Mac without reformatting. I reformat empty drives not full ones. I don't find NAS and FW drives to be redundant. I prefer backups.

    Before you consider formatting that drive, make sure you really have all that stuff saved elsewhere. I also like off site backup for my pix. Smugmug, Picasa and Flickr all offer paid (or very limited free) photo storage.

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