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Almost all of us geeks have at least one or two old computers hanging around the house, in a corner, in a basement, attic, etc. Most of the time these, possibly, useful computers go to waste and eventually sit in that same corner, basement, or attic for years until being wastefully thrown away out of necessity. Fortunately, this does not have to be the case for all past acquaintances.
Today, I will show you how to put your old otherwise junky desktop to great use as a Home Media Server. You don’t even have to build your own PC from scratch – you can use the parts from those old computers. Lets begin!
(For more cool articles on how to build home media servers, check out these articles by Damien on how to set up a Media Server [Part 2] using Linux. Or if you are ready to invest some cash check out our guide on How To Build A Great Media Center PC.)
In this installation guide on how to build home media servers, I am using an old, reinstalled version of Windows XP SP3 with a 1TB Hitachi hard disk drive. (Note: This should work equally well on Windows Vista with User Account Control (UAC) off and an Administrator account set up on the server.)
Start by clicking “Start” and “Control Panel.” Select “Network Setup Wizard.” Press next twice and then select “This computer connects to the internet thorough a residential…” and then select “Next.”
Enter a name and description for your server and then click “Next.” In the next window, leave “MSHOME” as the workgroup name and then click “Next.”
Now, select the “Tun on Windows File and Printer Sharing” option and click “Next.” Make sure the info is right and click “Next” again. On the following screen select “Just finished;” and then click “Next” and “Finished.”
Since we now have your home server connected to your home network we need to actually start allowing for the storing and sharing on files on the network. To do this, find a directory, for example, C:\ and then create a new folder called whatever you like. Now, right-click on the folder and click “Network Sharing and Security”. When the Security and Sharing window loads, select “Share this Folder on the Network” and “Allow Network User to Change My Files.”
Now that you have a shared home server directory set up you need to be able to start sharing your files! To do so, simply go to your other computer(s) that you wish to access these files at and click on “Start” and then right-click on “My Computer” and select “Map Network Drive.” Now, click “Browse” and select the name of the home server and click the “+” beside it to expand the options and click the folder that we just created.
To access your newly established home media server, simply go to “My Computer” and double-click on the drive you created and your in! You should now be able to copy and paste files to your hearts desire! (If Windows asks you for a username and password, enter your username and password for your home server account.)
Do you use a Home Media Server? What do you use it for? Tell us in the comments!