Turn Old Computers Into a File Server The Easy Way

Turn That Old Computer Into a File Server The Easy Way
Have you got a old computer sitting in the basement or attic gathering dust? Well you can turn it into a File server or NAS (Network Attached Storage) Box for FREE. I Tried to set up a Server several times before, and got discouraged because it was to hard or to much work trying to configure it, or the software just did not work right or cost to much time and money. Well read on and I will tell you what I found to be the easy way.
I had a couple of old 8 and 10 year old computers sitting around gathering dust. I took one of them that I built back in 2004 and turned it into a File and Storage Server for my home network. The computer case was a antec tower with lots of Bays for hard drives. The motherboard was an Asus K8N-E with a socket 754 AMD 64 CPU and 2 GB of ram. and Removable hard drive racks in it so the hard drives can be changed out in seconds without opening the case. I had several old IDE Hard drives so I grabbed some of them that tested out good and installed them in the computer. The video card was a old AGP card and I had a old PS2 keyboard and mouse. Now the fun began.
With the removable hard drive racks it was easy to try different Types of Free server software. I tried SME Server. It worked , but was a pain to setup and was slow and I was always having to fool with it. I tried Ubuntu server and regular, old and latest versions. To much of a hassle and time consuming for me to set up. I tried Open Filer never got the latest version to work. Tried FreeNas ver 7, 8 and 9 got 7 to work partly but was to buggy. Never did get 8, or 9 to work found out later that 8 and 9 require more ram. FreeNas is built on BSD. I was tired of having to add one thing or another configuring samba adding putty and I was about to give up and say the hell with it and buy a Network Attached Storage Device When I happened to see a thread in a forum about a free easy to use NAS software called Open Media Vault, Don’t let the name scare you. I downloaded the ISO and burned it to a CD.
Open Media Vault is based on Debian. The Install was a Snap and very quick I used the text install which worked great. A word of caution if you don’t want to waste a hard drive you can install it to a USB Key or Thumb Drive. Because OMV does a lot of Io’s accessing and reading the drive I decided to install to a old 20 Gig HD, hard drive install is the recommended way. One other step If you are going to use a raid array or more than 1 hard drive, install to the drive that the OS will be on with the other drives unhooked. After the OMV software is installed then hook up the other drives and configure them with your shares. I used the XFS file system for my share drives. I have a mixture of Linux and Windows machines on my home network (LAN) so I configured samba which was a snap using the browser Graphic interface.
I am happy and my setup is running smoothly and I can store my pictures, videos, and music as well as documents and they are all accessible by everyone on my home network. It was the easiest server software that I have ever installed. I found out later that FreeNas has forked and there is a version called NAS4FREE I havn’t tried that one yet, But I am very happy with OMV. Below are some links you may find helpful for the install and configuring. Good Luck

About Mel

Retired PC Consultant, Education Certificate Novel Networking installation and configuration. PC Repair Configuration and Networking. Commercial Pilot, Avid RVer. Enjoy Traveling with my Wife in our Travel Trailer. South in the winter Az, Texas, and summers in Utah
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