Setting up a Media Server with a mini

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by isthisonetaken, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. isthisonetaken macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2006
    Hey all,

    This is my set up:
    24" aluminum iMac
    Mac Mini
    Apple Base Station (the new square one)
    Future 500GB external hard drive

    The other 3 guys in my apartment and the 3 girls across the hall, all on the same wireless network are all on Windows XP SP2 machines.

    What I want to do is be able to have the mini with the external have all our music, pictures and movies, as well as documents so that any of us can get to them from any of the computers. I would like the music and movies to stream if possible so that they don't need to download them to watch them. Can I do this by just having the files in folders, or should I use iTunes? If I use iTunes on the mac mini, how would anyone else add files to it, and how then would we share pics and other files like documents?

    As for the external, I'm thinking of getting the ministack v3 ( for a couple of reasons. I like that the mini just sits on top of it and it turns on and off with the mini(the mini will more than likely be on all the time anyways, but still a good feature). I am wondering though, since it has FW800 and my new iMac has FW800, could I get a cable and plug it into each, and then have the two macs linked up? I don't like that they're literally inches apart, and yet over the wireless network it takes ages to transfer gigs worth of movies and files.

    From the site, there is also the ministack NAS. Would that work for us, in plugging it into the base station? Would it be a better option the the ministack v3? I'd really prefer the hard drive hooked up with the mini, as I use it the most to watch movies in my room and would prefer to have the actual files instead of streaming them myself.

    Also, would it be hard once everything is set up to create a folder on my roommates desktops that they could simply drag files onto and have them load onto the server?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. richard.mac macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2007
    51.50024, -0.12662
    hey i hope you dont mind but i will try and answer this in dot points. im sure if im not right in some points and a little vague in other parts, other members will provide some input

    • all you have to do with the mini is just create an account and move your music, pictures, documents etc folders into the public folder of your account.
    • to make the music stream to your clients just configure their itunes apps to have their default itunes music folder location as yours in the itunes music folder in your shared folder. also you may want them to be able to copy music to the shared music folder and keep the music folder organised or not its your choice. if you want your clients to be able to write to the itunes folder you will have to make it read/write for all users... or just make the whole public folder read/write to all users (it will still be very secure if your behind a firewall and a router) this can be configured in the clients itunes preferences. the movies they can just open within the shared folder or you can just just add it to your itunes library and the clients will see the movies as their itunes music folder is yours in the shared folder.
    • the mini only has one firewire 400 port. so you could just plug the external into that and then use the mini wirelessly with your imac. or you could plug the external into the usb port and connect a firewire cord from the mini to your imac so the mini can share your imacs internet connection. you can enable this in the network preferences but im not quite sure how to do this.
    • if you get the NAS then its wireless and youll definately be able to connect the firewire cord to your imac from the mini. or you could do it all wireless its your choice if you have enough money to spend.
    • to create a folder on your buddies' windows pcs that connects to your shared folder just turn on file sharing in the sharing preferences, and then enable shared files and folders using SMB. provide your password and then im pretty sure they can write to it. then on the pcs just open neighbourhood network, add a new shared folder and press the drop down menu, your mini's shared folder should be there.

    hope my info is correct and ive helped you! :)
  3. isthisonetaken thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2006
    Ok, thanks for the info. It was exactly what I was looking for.
  4. isthisonetaken thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2006
    Ok, so I've tried the above and I'm having problems. Here is the current set up again:
    iMac 24" aluminum running 10.5.1
    mac mini running 10.5.1
    mini has a 500GB external hooked up through usb 2.0 with 3 folders on it, that I've set to sharing and read only for everyone. This is fine, they can take the videos and not add, is ok.

    I would like to be able to have a folder on their desktops that when they click on it, it goes to the shared folders on the minis external. The mini is set to always be on in energy preferences and put hds to sleep whenever possible. I've turned on file sharing, though there were settings that I don't know about.

    In the Sharing part of system preferences, I click on one of the folders I have set to share, click on options and there are 3 options:
    Share files and folders using AFP
    Share files and folders using FTP
    Share files and folders using SMB

    Right now, the first option and last option are "checked".

    So if my understanding is correct, everything on the mac side should be set up. When I go to my friends computers though, they are in the WORKGROUP workgroup, since my mac said that was its default workgroup. When I go to view workgroup computers though, nothing shows up. And I can't seem to find this network neighbourhood anywhere. They are all using Windows XP SP2.

    Any ideas?
  5. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    The HDD should NOT be put to sleep whenever possible.

    Why aren't you just using the ext. as an airdisk? If all you want is to access files then that would be the simplest way to do it.

    I dunno why the XP boxes aren't recognizing your mini on the network.
  6. isthisonetaken thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2006
    I'm doing it this way, because I seem to be using the media more than anyone else, so I want the best playback, without waiting for buffering and such on my machines, and then when anyone else wants something, they can just click on the folder and get it.
  7. desenso macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2005
    In the sharing preference pane it should list the Mac Mini's IP. Write it down.

    Go to one of the windows machines and type Start -> Run -> \\[the ip you just wrote down] (do not include the []'s)

    Does it pull up Mini's shared folder? It should...

    Not sure about getting the Mini to pull up in in the Network area, but if you can connect this way, you could always assign the Mini a static IP and create shortcuts on their desktops to the specific IP address.

    You realize that an AirDisk would be accessible from a Windows computer as well, right?

    If your concern was performance to the AirDisk then you could always plug your computers in via ethernet, which should give you fast enough performance to stream without issue. The people going over the wireless should be able to stream non-HD content without too much trouble.
  8. isthisonetaken thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2006
    I'll try the ip thing.

    I can't connect via ethernet, because the router is in a different room.

    The ip address worked great! Thanks alot for the help.

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