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Windows 7: windows 7 as a server?


18 Oct 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
windows 7 as a server?

I have recently set up an old PC as a server using windows 7, I am planning on supplying all other PC's in my house (current and future) with media stored on this server PC. Now my questions...

1) What are the best settings for using windows 7 as a server(i.e. power saving, sleep, hibernation), is it possible to allow the server to go to sleep and then when another PC on the network tries to access the data from it to wake it?

2) Is there anything else that I should know before getting to far into this process to back out without causing serious issues?

I ask about the sleep/Hibernation states because I don't know how I feel about having the HDD on the server spinning all the time as it will wear them down and I currently do now have any backups of my data which is closing in on the 2TB mark. I know this is bad practice but I just do not have the extra cash ATM to purchase something to back it all up. Any advice on this is welcome.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Oct 2010   #2

Windows 7 x64
 
 

I would use Windows Home Server. I know that doesn't answer your questions but it will do all you want it to day and more.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I would go the route of a server OS as well, and Windows Home Server will certainly do the trick.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dragonschild View Post
I currently do now have any backups of my data which is closing in on the 2TB mark. I know this is bad practice but I just do not have the extra cash ATM to purchase something to back it all up. Any advice on this is welcome.
This is going to sound mean, but if you don't have a method of backing up the data, it isn't that important to you. 2 TB is a lot of data to backup for a home users, so before spending any money or making any changes, I'd first work on the best way to manage and backup this data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Oct 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 and Home Premium x64
 
 

You may also not want to consider making a Windows 7 computer be a server given the general point of a server is to be accessible for resources at any given time. Putting the disks to sleep when you aren't using it is fine for a normal desktop, however, on a server level, where your clients will be hitting the server for something, will have long wait times on initial sessions if the server is set to sleep the disks or in some cases will cause programs to not be happy due to timeouts as the system that puts something to sleep, has a chance of not waking up properly and things not working right to begin with.

An ideal, cheap solution would be to consider a NAS like router. Basically, a router with a USB connection to hook up a USB external drive. Most of those routers are barely over $200 total and you can get a 2 Terabyte drive around $250 or so.

As for backups... Yes, it is bad not to backup your data, and knowing you can't afford it at the moment, we all understand, however, consider that you should try and burn a DVD of at least some of your critical data. DVDs are reasonably cheap and will hold a minimum of 4 gigs of data per disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2010   #5

Windows7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

I'd go with FreeNAS instead, less problems, not a windows (thus practically impervious to malwares), web based management, and the most important is, it can run on a USB flashdisk, which means that you have the harddisk total capacity just for your data (FreeNAS install footprint is around 200MB+ ~256MB RAM compared to 800MB++ HDD + whatever RAM you have on any Windows installation).

Or any other Linux or *nix distribution will do a lot better than a regular Windows box as a server. FreeNAS can regulate sleep time for each individual HDDs installed on the system, so you can micro-manage sleep times...

Just my 2 cents...

zzz2496
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thank you all for the replys and information. I do realize that not backing up my data is very bad, but like I said it's a money issue at the moment and there isn't anything that I can do about it for now. As far as using a NAS I really don't think that I can justify spending ~$400 for that stuff when I have a perfectly capable spare PC sitting around that would otherwise not be used for anything at all. Besides the fact that I do want to learn to set up a server, I just thought that going the all windows 7 route would be better but I guess not. I think I would rather go the FreeNas road because I read that it can be easily run on a headless box and fully controlled from a web-based GUI. I didn't know that it could be run from a flash drive though, which is pretty nifty and it would free up about 20GB of space from my HDD that is housing the Windows 7 install. Does anyone have a link to a good tutorial for setting up FreeNAS so that I can get through it without a lot of trial and error?

*edit*
was doing some reading about FreeNAS and I don't think I will be able to use it as my ServerPC does not have a 64bit CPU...Ahh well, I guess I should check out windows home server. Any advice on how it works?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2010   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dragonschild View Post
Any advice on how it works?
You don't need advice for Windows Home Server...it's really that easy to use.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2010   #8

Windows7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Err... read again, FreeNAS is available for both 32bit (i386 edition) and 64bit (amd64 edition).

zzz2496
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2010   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 and Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dragonschild View Post
Thank you all for the replys and information. I do realize that not backing up my data is very bad, but like I said it's a money issue at the moment and there isn't anything that I can do about it for now. As far as using a NAS I really don't think that I can justify spending ~$400 for that stuff when I have a perfectly capable spare PC sitting around that would otherwise not be used for anything at all. Besides the fact that I do want to learn to set up a server, I just thought that going the all windows 7 route would be better but I guess not. I think I would rather go the FreeNas road because I read that it can be easily run on a headless box and fully controlled from a web-based GUI. I didn't know that it could be run from a flash drive though, which is pretty nifty and it would free up about 20GB of space from my HDD that is housing the Windows 7 install. Does anyone have a link to a good tutorial for setting up FreeNAS so that I can get through it without a lot of trial and error?

*edit*
was doing some reading about FreeNAS and I don't think I will be able to use it as my ServerPC does not have a 64bit CPU...Ahh well, I guess I should check out windows home server. Any advice on how it works?
Coming from experience with using a Non-Server OS as a server (Worked with a Retail System that did not use an actual Server based OS as the main Server), you inherit some unnecessary problems when, from the sound of things, you just want a simple file server. The NAS route is basically what you are looking at. In most cases, looking at just a simple USB external drive hooked up to a Router that has a USB port is one option. The level of complexity you are asking for, on the other hand would require a server, but not a Desktop OS because desktops are expecting to be focused used, not diversified use like Servers are.

This meaning, process orientation to serve more than one user, especially file services or applications. While you can run Win 7 as a headless machine to do file services, it, like its predecessors, were only setup to handle a finite amount of concurrent connections. This meaning, if you have 3 people trying to access the machine remotely for several things at once, say, 2 per person... Windows 7 will only handle 5 concurrent connections, which means 1 person has to wait for that 2nd connection they need while the others are chipping away at it. This is also ignoring the fact that there is a chance the Windows 7 machine may make its own connection to do maintenance stuff, such as Windows Updates.

Win 7 has file sharing ability but it is meant for limited use versus server level file sharing, which is what you are aiming for.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Oct 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by zzz2496 View Post
Err... read again, FreeNAS is available for both 32bit (i386 edition) and 64bit (amd64 edition).

zzz2496
err, well regardless I have already gone with windows server 2008 standard as my OS for the server, I may change things up down the road just to see what it has to offer but I have already finished the install for server 2008. You are right however, I did misread the page. This is just a sample of what happens when a person has been working third shift for many years and tries to function in the early morning when tired lol.. While I am on the subject of server 2008 does anyone here know of a forum I can go to for advice on it or does this forum discuss such things?
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 windows 7 as a server?




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