Need to "re-do" our office network

adwilk

Senior member
May 27, 2005
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Basically, our office network consists of 7 computers and all have been set up differently. None of the network settings are the same and some people can access shared folders on some computers and not others and i think you see the point. What needs to be done to start with a clean slate and get everybody to be a part of the same work group and what not. there are some files that everybody needs to access and edit, should i create a network drive or what? Do i have to have one computer designated as a server? or can i just let each computer share certain files? As you can tell i'm kind of a noob but i think i can figure this out. i just need some direction... thanks a bunch...
 

RebateMonger

Elite Member
Dec 24, 2005
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Take a look at Windows Small Business Server 2003. Besides serving as a reliable place to store common files, it also gives your company a shared workplace for cooperation, allows employees and bosses to work from home, and allows all the computers to be configured automatically to meet the company's needs. There's also automatic backups, which many small companies neglect and lead to disaster later. It works really well for companies with two to seventy-five computers.

Shared folders are a piece of cake with a server. You can control who can and can't access files using Security Groups, instead of having to add and subtract individuals from access lists for every single shared folder.

You could, of course, set up a single XP computer as a file server, but it's tough to manage file security, sharing, backups, and a zillion other things that are automatically taken care of with a real server. I've seen people, who, understandably want to save money, spend days and weeks trying to do things with XP that they could do in minutes with Windows Server.

You need to NOT allow anybody to use that PC file server, whether you use XP or Server 2003. If you do, or it will be subject to virus and malware contamination and other user errors. Be sure it gets backed up regularly and keep some of the backups offsite, to combat theft, fire, and flood.
 

adwilk

Senior member
May 27, 2005
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ok, we have no sensitive info, or anything like that... everybody occasionaly needs access to somebody elses computer... to pull up a work order or something.. no big deal.. i just want to know the best way to undo all the networking setups that are already in place on the computers...
 

Slowlearner

Senior member
Mar 20, 2000
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Why this fresh start -what kind of problems do you have? What kind of apps do your users run? What OSs are used - all XP home pro or what?

Yoy have two broad options - peer to peer, each pc is autonomous and can be be turned off/on without affecting lets say email/internet connectivity etc without affecting the network, or a client server set up. The question is who will do setup and maintenance, and are your people willing to spend how much ???. Are there networked printers? What hardware do you have? How frequently do you need things backed up?

Seems to me there are more questions than answers from what you have told us so far.
 

crobusa

Senior member
Oct 3, 2001
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Originally posted by: adwilk
i just want to know the best way to undo all the networking setups that are already in place on the computers...

What Windows Server does is creates a domain. When a computer "joins" a domain, it loses most of it's settings, and takes them from the server. It allows you to make changes for the entire company in one spot, and it helps with backups and such.

To answer your specific question, how to change workgroup name:
Start, Control Panel, System, Computer Name, Change.
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
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Originally posted by: adwilkthere are some files that everybody needs to access and edit, should i create a network drive or what? Do i have to have one computer designated as a server?
This type of activities needs a server.

In theory, it can be done by setting aside one computer in a Peer to peer (p2p) to be a file center.

However, in many cases this leads to "Chaos" and much trouble.

Once the Network grows or the demands get a little more complicated it become risky to keep a p2p network.

As mentioned above, SBS id and easy solution and the basic start at $599.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/howtobuy/pricing.mspx

I was a witness to many people who was praised for saving few hundreds $$ when they set a p2p file center, just to be ?cursed? after for saving few hundreds $$$ coz the system collapsed few months.

:sun:
 

RebateMonger

Elite Member
Dec 24, 2005
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Originally posted by: JackMDS
I was a witness to many people who was praised for saving few hundreds $$ when they set a p2p file center, just to be ?cursed? after for saving few hundreds $$$ coz the system collapsed few months.
I've seen this sequence on "Help Forums" many times:

"I need help with our office network. We're having problems sharing files".
----Then I'll respond with a suggestion to consider getting a low-end SBS server.----
----But the requester believes that they don't really need a server and they have have no money.----

Then, over the next couple of weeks or months, the same person comes back:
"Help!" We can't get Scheduled Tasks to work for automatic backups."
"Help! We are having problems getting file shares to work."
"Help! Is there any way to recover an important email that we've lost?"
"Help! We had an employee leave and he erased our files and we don't have backups."
"Help! A hard drive failed on our Accountant's computer. Our billing information is on it. How can we recover the data?"


Somebody in the company spends DAYS or WEEKS trying to figure out how to jury-rig things that a Server would take care of effortlessly. And the company has no idea how much it's costing them to have somebody neglect his "real" job and mess with computers. And the final solution is unreliable and insecure because the person didn't have the right tool (a server) and the knowledge of how to do things the right way.

Not to mention all the great features they are missing and don't even know it.

I don't expect to change anybody's mind. I never have yet. The best I hope for is they'll reconsider their options when the next disaster strikes.
 

crobusa

Senior member
Oct 3, 2001
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Originally posted by: RebateMonger
I don't expect to change anybody's mind. I never have yet. The best I hope for is they'll reconsider their options when the next disaster strikes.
Ouch :D

In the 4 user office I'm in, we used to have a "windows 2000 box" run everything, with clients on XP home. The old tech left instructions to "press the power button" on the 2000 box whenever something went wrong.

Upgrading those clients to XP Pro may seem like a waste of money, but the money effort saved is amazing. When we later got orders to spin off, we could use Terminal Server to make life bearable.

I only wish MS was nice enough to make the transition from XP home to pro easier.
 

mjia

Member
Oct 8, 2004
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A server is probably the most powerful and flexible solution, but if you only need is to share files, then cheapest/simplest solution might be NAS. NAS basically refers to an external hard drive that can directly be connected to the network that has its own OS able to share files over the network.
 

ClayN

Junior Member
Sep 16, 2003
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adwilk,

Are all the machines set to be on the same segment? For example, where your IP address is something like 192.168.1.2 do all of the other computers' IPs start with 192.168.1 with the last number different? Are the subnet, gateway and dns server settings all the same? This can be checked by going to the command line (Start -> Run -> Type "cmd" (without quotes) and hit Enter) then using the comand ipconfig /all.

It sounds like you might have some network info set up manually and some configured via DHCP.
 

adwilk

Senior member
May 27, 2005
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thanks Clay, We are all set up now i believe... We really werent sharing files as much as occasionally i just needed to check somebody else "my documents" folder... we can all do that now...
 

adwilk

Senior member
May 27, 2005
214
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thanks Clay, We are all set up now i believe... We really werent sharing files as much as occasionally i just needed to check somebody else "my documents" folder... we can all do that now...