Setting up a home server

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Sam235, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. Sam235 macrumors member

    Sam235

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    CA
    #1
    hello, i am trying to setup a home server, so i can share files across all computers in my house, i have 2 macs, 1 windows desktop, and the rest of the family has 4 windows desktops, not including iPhones and iPods, i want to use my desktop as a home server, but i am not sure which OS to install on it, it currently has windows 7 but i don't think that can act a server OS? i want an OS that can support sharing to both Mac and Windows, thanks a lot
     
  2. waw74 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    #2
    all major operating systems out there today (and for the past several years) will act as a file server, which is all you need.

    for windows 7 check out this page
     
  3. Sam235 thread starter macrumors member

    Sam235

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    CA
    #3
    thanks a lot for the reply, it says on the page u linked''The computers must be running Windows 7 to participate in a home group'' my desktop is the only windows computer running windows 7, i need a server os that can share files to all my computers and that can also work on my desktop(specs in sig)thanks a lot :D!!!!!!
     
  4. nunes013 macrumors 65816

    nunes013

    Joined:
    May 24, 2010
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #4
    if you go into system preferences on the macs and go to file sharing and set up the folders you want to share you will be all set. you can do the same on windows but i don't know how off the top of my head how to do it. the computers will show up in finder and in windows explorer. then you click and drag files to each computer.

    do you mean you want a desktop OS that will automatically send the files to each computer?
     
  5. Sam235 thread starter macrumors member

    Sam235

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    CA
    #5
    thnx for the reply, i meant that i want my desktop to store and stream all files to other computers that access it on my network, my desktop has 1TB HDD and 4 TBs External HDD with lots of music, pictures, and movies. so i want something like a file server or a files server
     
  6. speacock macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Windows 7 will do fine for most purposes

    I'm assuming that the desktop you mention is one of the non-Mac machines listed in your signature?

    If so, then you're limited to non-OSX operating systems (you can run OSX on non-Apple hardware but it's fiddly to do, breaches the license agreement, is unstable and doesn't really have any benefits other than being familiar).

    Given this, I'd say Windows 7 makes a perfectly suitable file-sharing OS. As a general rule Windows makes a better server for Macs that Macs do for Windows, it tends to be faster than OSX at file-sharing and is more compatible with Windows while being not much less compatible with Macs than OSX.

    If you've only got one or two HDs in the desktop and want to continue using it as a desktop then Windows 7 will more than do the job. If you've got more disks and want to use things like RAID then you might need something more sophisticated such as Windows Home Server or an Open Source NAS solution. Have a look at this post for some ideas: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=13042520&highlight=#post13042520. If you go down this route though you may be better to consider getting a dedicated server system rather than re-using your desktop, but of course this starts to get expensive.

    Remember that if you use something like FreeNAS or Linux you may not be able to continue using it as a desktop or will at least be restricted in what you can run.

    Incidentally, you can ignore the bit about needing computers to be running Windows 7 to participate in a homegroup. Windows 7 can still share files across all versions of Windows, Mac OSX and most Linux implementations. The homegroup stuff is just a way to avoid having to set-up individual user accounts and is intended to make sharing easier for people who are inexperienced.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. Sam235 thread starter macrumors member

    Sam235

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    CA
    #7
    Thanks alot!!!!!! that really helped, exactly what i was looking for, so should i just enable file sharing on all my drives on my windows desktop and specify the ip address of each computer and manually mount the drives on the other computers? also to ur question yes the desktop i am talking about is the desktop in my Sig. :D
     
  8. speacock macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    Yes, that's pretty much it

    The Windows system will let you share either the entire drive or you can share specific folders.

    For example I have a folder called Shared, then beneath that I have a folder called Music another one called Video and so on. I share each of these separately so from other PCs and Macs I see the name of the computer that is sharing them, then beneath this there are the various sharenames and I can just browse to them like I can to a local drive.

    There's no need to access resources by IP address, you can use machine names on both the Windows machines and Macs. To make things a little easier it's best if you put them all in the same workgroup. In Wndows you change this setting through Control Panel/System, on the Mac it's under System Preferences/Network/Advanced/WINS.

    You'll be asked for a username and password when you try to connect and you need to use a username that exists on the share-hosting Windows system. To make life easy its probably simplest if you create an account on the Windows desktop for each user who will access it and then create an identical account (same name and password) on the computer they are accessing it from.

    On the Windows machines you can tell them to automatically reconnect a share at logon if you wish by clicking the automatically reconnect box when you connect to the share. This is much more fiddly on the Mac and requires you to manually edit some files, off the top of my head I think it's smb.conf and the automount file or possibly fstab file, but I can't remember for sure. It's documented by various people on the Internet, just search for 'OS X automount'. I don't bother and the people in my house using Macs just have to manually mount the shares each time they want access, it's not a big deal for them.

    One thing you will find is that the Macs tend to be much slower accessing files over a network than the Windows systems are (whether it's over SMB/CIFS, NFS or AFP). I'm lead to believe this has been fixed in Lion, but I don't know as I've not got Lion myself.
     

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