Windows 2003 or SBS 2003 for File Server only role

Hey there,

I'm going to be setting up a LAN with a file server that 3 other locations will access via the VPN.  Should I use SBS 2003 and simply share the folders that I want to be seen by everybody, or should I buy 2003 Standard Edition and configure the server to have the role of a file server?

I don't want active directory or anything, just an easy way for everyone to get to the files on system that I can backup easily.

Thanks,
Chris
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inverted_2000Asked:
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cfairleyCommented:
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cfairleyCommented:
From the link:

SBS 2003 vs. Windows 2003
For several reasons, you might be better off with the regular version of Windows 2003 than with SBS 2003. SBS 2003 isn't intended for a complex network architecture. An SBS server can't join a non-SBS domain, and an SBS domain must be a root-level domain. An SBS domain can be in a trusted relationship with another root-level domain, but it's not truly designed for this use.

SBS 2003 is similar to Windows 2003 but not entirely. Because SBS 2003 is intended for smaller networks, and because the SBS server is meant to be the DC, SBS 2003 doesn't have some functionality (e.g., Terminal Services) that's useful in larger networks. (However, you can use Remote Desktop—which is enabled by default—to remotely administer an SBS 2003 server from another computer. You can also make an SBS 2003 DC a Terminal Services license server.)

A final caution about SBS 2003: It's not quite as simple as it seems. Setup should cause no difficulties for experienced NT administrators, but a novice would do better to buy a preinstalled SBS 2003 server. The danger of a reduced-administration server OS is that administrators can mistake it for a zero-administration OS. The fact that SBS 2003 is designed to automatically follow some Microsoft best practices doesn't mean that it automatically follows all of them. Even if you walk through all the configuration wizards, you'll still need to install security patches and service packs and follow safe-computing guidelines. The audience for which SBS 2003 is designed—the shop looking for an extremely low-maintenance server—might balk at SBS 2003's required maintenance.

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cfairleyCommented:
Additionally, since you don't need AD, the Standard version would do.
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inverted_2000Author Commented:
of SBS? or regular Windows Server?
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inverted_2000Author Commented:
I'm running a virtual image of SBS2003 Premium....and it has AD......does standard not have AD?
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cfairleyCommented:
Regular Windows Server, especially if you know that the network is not going to get bigger and you will never need AD.  Usually suggested when you have over 10 clients.
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inverted_2000Author Commented:
Small law offices.....4 locations want to share important documents.....so I just want a machine that will always be on to host their shared documents.  Server 2003 Standard does have AD on it.  Don't I have to have it running in order to assign user permissions to different folders?
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cfairleyCommented:
Sorry, you're right about AD, I was thinking of something else.

No, you don't need AD if you are going to work in a peer to peer.  How many clients are at each site?
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inverted_2000Author Commented:
3 to 5 clients in each office......guess I'll need to buy 5 extra licenses too.
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cfairleyCommented:
Do all the clients need the same access rights, or do some need full control, others Read, etc?
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inverted_2000Author Commented:
Probably want to do 1 Shared Folder, and then have a Public Folder and a Private Folder.  That is how I have it right this second on a test server with Server 2003 Standard.  Now, from my desktop, when I type \\Server2003 into the address bar I get prompted to enter a username and password.  How do I enter other users that can login here besides the Administrator???

I think you're going to tell me I need to setup AD aren't you?
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inverted_2000Author Commented:
the Public and the Private folders would be underneeth the Shared Docs Folder......sorry
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cfairleyCommented:
Well, if you go with AD, you have additional responsibilities to manage, FSMO roles, restoring if the server dies, group policies, etc.  From what you are telling me, you do not want to manage the workstations from client sites, you simply want to give them access to files.  If that's all you want, I would not go with AD.  

You can create a local user account on the server and give it, let's say full control on the public folder and read on the private folder.  The users at the various client sites will need to type this username and password to access the files.  Thats the simplest approach.  Or you would have to create local accounts for each user or a user account that each site would share.

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inverted_2000Author Commented:
Okay....lets say I wanted 2 users on the server with different rights:

superUser and stdUser

super has write access and std has read only...

where do I add the accounts to Windows 2003's list of local users on that machine?
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cfairleyCommented:
Go to computer management, local users and groups.
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inverted_2000Author Commented:
Been looking for that for a loggggggg time.  Thanks for all you help.  I feel confident in the setup now.  

Thanks a lot again,
Chris
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cfairleyCommented:
Glad I could assist.  Thanks for using EE!
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Windows Server 2003

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