Presales help - what would a client lose using XP home rather than XP pro in SBS 2K3?

I have a client that has been using a win xp pro workstation (with RAID 1) as the 'server' in a workgroup arrangement for their 8 - 9 users.  They are going over 10 now and need to step up to a server.  The desktops were bought with XP home installed on them. there's minimal to no security needs / file permission settings allow everyone access to all files, etc.  the client is comfortable with that.  They need to be able to go above 10 simultaneous users and would like shared calendar and contacts. Seems like SBS 2K3 would give them both of those thngs.  But they are balking at the cot to upgrade the desktops to XP Pro (I am coming up with a cost of about $200 / machine - does that sound right?).

They are asking - what would we lose if we stayed with win xp home on the desktops.

I told them they'd lose ease of administration (but they don't want / haven't missed group policy), the need for user accounts maintained on the desktop and server (they don't bounce around so the same user is at the same desk all the time).  higher admin costs are nebulous to them - they'd rather have the 2K i ntheir pocket now and pay higher bills over time.  They can still have shared files and folders in outlook.  I know you can access shares with xp home, so that's not an issue.... so what else would they lose while saving $2,000?

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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
One of the things MOST important things you would lose would be document redirection which can save time AND money in terms of data backup and recovery as well as file sharing.  You also lose offline file access for those with laptops.  If you haven't done anything with VNC and if the client isn't aware of VNC, then you can use Remote Desktop as another selling point:  PCAnywhere costs $100-140 per copy.  XP Pro costs $160-$175 per copy (get a volume license - you should be able to get an Upgrade license and with software assurance, you would get the upgrade to Vista at NO ADDITIONAL COST - so this could be "pre-buying" Vista upgrades.

One note: verify pricing with a MOLP reseller (someplace like or

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    First off, and just incase you didnt know this beucase you did not address this in your post, you can't run xp home edition in a SBS enviroment, unless you are very very good at hacking registries.  XP Pro is required for joining a domain (this can be addressed in home, but requires nothing short of a miracle and lots of reg hacking).  
     If your trying to get this sell you can also bring the fact that bringing a server into the picture will allow them access of thier desktops, email, and files from anywhere in the world (as long as theres an internet connection). That can be achieved through VPN, Remote Desktop, and OWA (Outlook Web Access).  Another issue is that the upgrade cost to XP Pro from Home edition should be about $100 or less. the full RETAIL version of XP Pro is $199, and the upgrade is $99.  Check newegg or other vendors for some possibly better pricing.   Just remind them what they are getting for the SBS package - Exchange, ISA (enterprise firewall), SQL server (not that they really need that), Remote Access, and a sharepoint site. Plus all the other random odds and ends MSFT throws in the mix.  
     And finally to your last question, "what would they lose whil saving 2,000"  Pretty much any SBS connectivity unless you plan to do all of it through a mix of the reg hacking, internal VPN's, and religion.   Also they wont have the remote administration/desktop access.  And just remember the XP pro upgrades shouldnt be more then $99 bucks a piece, plus the $550 for the SBS 2003 Premium (which comes with 5 CALs and you shouldnt need more, even for 10 computers) that comes to a grand total of $1500 for upgraded software, and server software.  You may have to figure in a somewhat decent machine for the server to run on.  Keep in mind the companies future growth... Hope this helped.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:

Most of what you say is only partly true.  XP Home Cannot join a domain - BUT, in such an environment, you don't need it to.  You can connect through specifying usernames and passwords, just like in an XP Pro or 2000 peer-to-peer network.  Yes, you lose aspects of managability and some of the autoconfiguration, but to use Exchange and file server services, as well as OWA and VPN, all that is possible.

The pricing is off.  XP Home Upgrade is $99.  XP Home Retail (non-upgrade) is $200.  XP Pro Upgrade is also $199, but cannot upgrade a 9x machine.  XP Pro Retail is about $250.  NewEgg has typically great pricing, but Microsoft Open License Program (MOLP) will typically give you BETTER pricing and easier license management, plus allows for software assurance.

Microsoft link supporting ability to use XP Pro Upgrade to Upgrade XP Home:

NewEgg Link to XP Pro Upgrade:

NewEgg Link to XP Pro Full Version Retail:

And you cannot use OEM licenses to upgrade.

I would say LookingForITHelp knows most of the limitations of using XP Home and is simply trying to find the things that may not be coming to mind RIGHT NOW.  Am I right?
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LookingForITHelpAuthor Commented:
Guys:  Thanks for the info.  But I am not seeing upgrade fro xp home to pro for $100!?  Am I missing something.  As for getting home on the network / access the files, I've found that if the workgroup is the same as the domain name and the user name is the same on both the domain and the desktop and the passwords match, then at least in 'regular' server domains (not sure about sbs), they can access files.

As an aside, one thing I did learn from my other clients networks - if the desktop user name is bob (for example), and the server has the username as bobjones, you can't go into user accounts on the desktop and change it to bobjones - it'll display the username to you as bobjones, but the docs & settings folder stay as bob, and other places on the desktop too say bob and that user can't get on the domain. You need to make a new bobjones username from scratch on the desktop.

oh yeah, you can't upgrade OEM OS?!  that's what they all have!  So you have to buy xp pro full?  even worse that they'll want to save the money.  (but I still would like to see that upgrade to pro for $99!).

How would 5 CALs suffice for 10 computers?  (not all 10 in use at one time is the only way I can think of?  But what if they machines all stay on all the time (supposedly best practices these days so they can get patches overnight, etc!?).

Yeah, WSUS won't work with home?  they'll get the downloads over the web rather than from the server...

OK, new approach - if they are willing to give up shared calendar / contacts (they have an outside hosting company for mail, so they can get to the mail from anywhere as it is now, albeit, not in outlook, and the need is minimal, as is file access - 5 PM comes around and they are done till the next day, except for the boss who uses gotomypc)......  what about a snap server?  I've always wondered about that vs. a 'server'.  $2000 gets a nice raid 1 snap server with lots of storage...

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:

Did you read my comments... I said you CANNOT get XP Pro Upgrade for $99 and I provided the link to NewEgg's pricing.

Also, I said you cannot use OEM licenses to upgrage, NOT You can't upgrade OEM OS.  To be clear, you CAN upgrade an OEM OS, but you cannot buy OEM copies of Pro (as are available through NewEgg) and use the OEM copies of pro to upgrade OEM copies of Home - that won't work).  

$1000 gets a nice RAID 1 server you can install linux on and later get SBS for - or upgrade linux.  And $1700 gets you a nice RAID 1 server with Windows Server 2003 (non SBS).  Given the costs involved, SNAP servers are awful in my opinion.  I would never buy any kind of small NAS device.  The only NAS device worth buying is the ones that are hugely expensive - and then only because they provide snapshot capabilities, (kinda like Volume Shadow Copy), HIGH performance, and easy expandability to multiple terabytes.  But you're paying upper 5 figures into the 6 figure range.

WSUS works with XP Home:
In my experience I have never had any problem upgrading an OEM version. And  I agree with leew, a SNAP server is not a good option, it will only cause you more headaches.  SBS is the way to go.  Also leew is right in saying you dont NEED to have home for the SBS network, but there will be many less connectivity and authentication issues (which means less of your time on this project) if you go with the XP Pro upgrade.  
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