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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:01 pm 
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Location: Montreal, Quebec
I have a Lenovo A61e running Windows XP that I no longer use; I'd like to add to my network as a server for my Outlook .pst file archives (about 25 gigabytes worth at this point) and other archive files. Ideally, My office space is very limited so I'd like to run it without a monitor or keyboard and log in from another machine on the network, but I'm not sure if that's possible, or if I need some special software to access it on the network before it's logged in. Any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:11 pm 
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How about a KVM?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KVM_switch
http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory ... M-Switches

No software needed.

Ron

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I see in my son's eyes, each day, the wonders I have squandered fortunes to possess and have sought my entire lifetime to attain. jrr 09/2011

X30 x 2
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2010 4:48 pm 
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jronald wrote:
How about a KVM?


Great idea! The problem in my case is that the other computers in my house (I work from home) are all laptops, and thus have integrated keyboards and monitors so I don't think a KVM would work here, right?. I was thinking more along the lines of setting the ThinkCentre up so it can boot without keyboard or monitor (I think there's a setting for that) and then accessing it somehow through my network to log in. That's the part I'm unclear on, I'm not sure how it works as I've never done anything like that before.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:33 am 
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Will work fine, just install something like LogMeIn, TeamViewer or some VNC software.

But i don't think a ThinkCentre is very power saving if you leave it on 24/7, i would prefer a ITX PC with picoPSU or something.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 5:58 am 
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Thanks, I will check out those programs, that's very useful! This is the ThinkCentre A61e (no longer made), which draws something like 40 watts at normal standby, and 4 watts in sleep. It uses about $20 worth of electricity per year if left running 24/7.

But in fact I never let any of my computers run 24/7; I turn them off at the end of the day and have been doing so for the past 20 years. In the old days they told you that a computer's useable life would be reduced if you turn them off and on instead of letting them run, but based on interviews I had about a decade ago with IBM and Apple engineers this hasn't been true since roughly the early 1990s.

I'd be booting this A61e only as needed for when I need access to archive files, although I might press it into service as a source for backups as well, in which case I'd just leave it on while I'm working and shut down at the end of the day.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:45 pm 
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In case you move slow, as I am more inclined to do, and have not yet acted on your question, I run a ThinkCentre A55 headless on a local network. The bios has a nice option to allow booting without a keyboard or monitor attached. The A55 sits in a closet and I access it mainly using a laptop.

As for software, the A55 is running WinXP Pro. It seems I have the best results for speed over the local network when using MS RDP. Someone else mentioned RealVNC and TightVNC. RealVNC offers encryption and I use it mainly for that reason.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:21 am 
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Location: Montreal, Quebec
Thanks -- and you're right I haven't yet acted on this. I was exploring the Remote Desktop possibility.

I guess there are two "speed bumps" that are slowing me down in this process, because I don't have a clear step-by-step procedure in my mind for how to set this up.

1. Presumably I have to configure a few things on my ThinkCentre (with monitor and keyboard attached) before it goes headless. How do I set the BIOS option you describe?

2. Remote Desktop already comes with Windows XP Pro (which is what I'm using on the ThinkCentre). It's unclear to me whether I need to use anything other than Remote Desktop to access my headless machine from my home network -- my network is firewalled and I'm the only one using it, so it doesn't seem like encryption would be necessary unless data is being sent outside my immediate network (i.e., over the Internet). So can I get by with just Remote Desktop or do I need something like RealVNC?

All I want to be able to do is access my ThinkCentre from another computer on my immediate home network; I won't need to access the machine when I'm outside of my house.

Thanks again for the responses to my question.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 12:53 pm 
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If it's a server you're after, I'd recommend FreeNAS. It can be administered via a web GUI (or SSH, if that's your thing), it's easy to set up and is very much a "set and forget" solution.

It supports everything from Samba/CIFS (aka. Windows file sharing) to NFS to DAAP (iTunes streaming) to BitTorrent.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 3:52 pm 
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I use RDP all the time, and it is the faster and more usable (IMHO) than any of the VNCs. you should be able to tell it to ignore any errors on boot, and for powersavings, see if there are any options for startup timers/wake timers, so that it would turn off at night and be ready for you in the morning.

the only thing you cannot do with RDP is the BIOS config - everything else can be done over the network, so you can stick it in the closet and forget about it.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:49 pm 
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craigmontHunter was heard to say
Quote:
everything else can be done over the network, so you can stick it in the closet and forget about it.

In a best case scenario, yes, but life rarely offers the best case. Something seems to always go wrong, at least once per week. Don't make access to the computer too difficult or you will tire of the occasional need to actually force a reboot by holding down the power switch. Tho this only happens on the Win XP box. I also have FreeNAS running headless on a different computer and it never, I repeat never, requires a hard reboot. Its amazing in that ability, though I am not certain as to the speed quality of the samba file transfer implementation. FreeNAS seems fine for general storage and even watching movie files streamed over the LAN, but when timing large file transfer speeds, 20-40 gig backup files, FreeNAS seems a little slower than Windows machines, particularly Win 7 machines.

craigmontHunter's tagline said:
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slight digression: I took my wife to a concert at a local college a few years back to see the director/ orchestra on PBS where they dress like they are from the Hapsburg Empire and play Strauss music. My wife wore a shaw made of some fur. I was concerned we would have paint thrown on us by the looks of some college students. As for "people eating tasty animals", nothing beats a juicy, medium cooked, steak.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:58 pm 
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tilneford wrote:
Its amazing in that ability, though I am not certain as to the speed quality of the samba file transfer implementation. FreeNAS seems fine for general storage and even watching movie files streamed over the LAN, but when timing large file transfer speeds, 20-40 gig backup files, FreeNAS seems a little slower than Windows machines, particularly Win 7 machines.


SMB/CIFS support in FreeNAS is excellent. Out of the box it's a bit conservative in its settings though -- if you enable some of the tuning parameters it absolutely can perform as well (if not better) than a Windows box.

My home file/media server is a Super Micro server w/ 6+1 disks, 4 cores, and 16GB of RAM sitting on a GigE network. FreeNAS absolutely can (and does) let that box saturate its link. If you're having trouble getting that level of throughput, I suspect that filesystem might have something to do with it. In my case, I've got a RAIDZ2 setup with a dedicated cache drive. I'm not sure if UFS + RAID6 would perform quite as well (and I don't have a way to test that, as I lack 4 spare drives. ;))

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