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Windows 7: WinXP Pro Workgroup Network & Win 7 Home Premium: School Dilema

25 Mar 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium X64
 
 
WinXP Pro Workgroup Network & Win 7 Home Premium: School Dilema

Greetings all,

I have a problem that I think I know the answer to, but I would like to have an external perspective and some experience to weigh in on the situation.

I am working as the all-purpose tech at a small school for kids with learning disabilities (no operating budget for IT) and we are in the process of upgrading parts of the network.
[Disclaimer: I did not setup this network, but I am heavily considering getting rid of everything and rebuilding it from scratch.]

Setup:
Right now we have an XP Pro Workgroup network with 4 Workgroups (Admin, Classroom, CompLab, Workgroup). We have about 50 computers (40 of them are Dell Optiplex GX 270s running XP Pro SP3, close to identical Hardware configs; the remainders are teacher's laptops and such).
We have 3 new machines (ADMIN workgroup) for the 2 school administrators and the administrative assistant. They are ASUS Essentio Desktops Model CM5570s Running Win 7 Home Premium. (You might start to guess where I'm going with the issues I'm having.)
We are running a xerox WorkCentre 7346 w/ accounting, and have a few other printers scattered throughout the network.

[Edit]The only machines not running XP Pro SP2/SP3 are the 3 ADMIN machines, my laptop (Dell Inspiron 1545), one laptop running Vista, 3 Macs, and 3 other laptops running Windows 7 [/Edit]

Problem:
The crux of the problem is with the 3 new machines working with the pre-existing XP Network.
One of the new machines replaced our Administrative Assistant's old XP machine which hosted some files that the teachers needed to access (report cards, test results, etc.) When we put in the new machine, the teachers were no longer able to access these files across the network.
Most of the teachers are accessing the new machine (ADMIN1) on the ADMIN Workgroup from the other workgroups (CLASSROOM, COMPLAB, and WORKGROUP) are having issues. When attempting to access the new machine (ADMIN1), the pop-up error comes up:

"\\ADMIN1\SharedDocs is not available. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions. <br><br>The network path was not found."

I believe this to be a permissions and policy issue due to the limitations of Windows 7 Home Premium. We aren't able to fully integrate into the network from the Windows 7 side (tell me if I am off on this)

Alternatively, we are getting the error when trying to access the CLASSROOM workgroup from a machine on the CLASSROOM workgroup of:

"CLASSROOM is not accessible. [yada yada yada] . <br><br> Not enough storage is available to process this command."

This error pops up on a number of machines on the various workgroups trying to access their own and other workgroups and/or machines. This is most likely due to the 10 connection limit of XP Workgroups which I really want to solve by installing a server w/ SBS 2003 (we have the machine, not the OS, and not installed. . . yet.)

Granted there are quite a few problems with the network and the way it is setup, I still have to make things work.

We don't have a domain controller and I haven't been able to figure out how they set up the network in the first place, although I have managed to restructure some of the network. I have also begun to create a drawn out network map of infrastructure and after that I'm going to work on the arduous task of mapping out user permissions (which if you don't already know is one of the most time consuming things to do manually).

My take:
SINCE we are hosting these files on a Windows 7 Home Premium machine, we do not have the ability to manage workgroup policies and user permissions as we did on the old machine. One way to fix this is to have the Administrative Assistant's machine upgraded to Windows 7 Professional (which plays a bit better with XP and Workgroups).

So, does anyone have some input on this? I need to find a way to have the teachers access the files on ADMIN1.


The best case scenario is that I would love to get a server up running Win Server 2003, but that costs a lot of money that the school doesn't really want to spend. I would have to present that as a fix-all solution to the school's board and let them know exactly how much it would cost to get completely installed and running, which would mean I would have to put in a lot of hours building a whole network from scratch pretty much by my self (I have no problem with that, but if I'm gonna commit an entire week to one project, I want to make sure it's the right solution).

Would getting Windows 7 Pro/Ultimate/Enterprise on a machine solve the XP/Windows 7 workgroup issues? or am I barking up the wrong tree? Please help, a lot of kid's educations are depending on a working network.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Mar 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Just a question... I understand you are using 4 different Workgroups... Do you plan to put this on a Domain with Policies?

So for instance when anyone logs into any one of the computers their permissions will be granted by user name and password?

or do you just have normal Windows Shares?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 WinXP Pro Workgroup Network & Win 7 Home Premium: School Dilema




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