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XP Home/Pro Question

Gurus,
My customer is on a budget and although I'm pretty sure of the answer to this, I want to get some clarification...Small office running Win XP Home on peer-to-peer. They recently added four new PC's and want them to have limited access to the 'Workgroup'. I understand that setting up specific shares is primarily a Win XP Pro situation, but is it necessary to upgrade ALL the other PC's in the office to XP Pro, or can it be limited to the four new ones? My concern: Anytime an OS upgrade installation of any kind is done, a myriad of problems can present themselves. Concern #2: Through an act of God, all 11 PC's in the office are communicating under Win XP Home workgroup. Will adding XP Pro to the other four throw that completely off? You can no longer disable Simple File Sharing on Win XP Home (unless manipulating the registry), but that still won't open up the shares options. I'm worried about potential communication issues. So...11 PC's on XP Home, all communicating flawlessly under same workgroup. Four of them need to be 'quarantined' to access only certain folders within the network. Those same four need to be cut off Internet access but not E-mail. Nine of the eleven need to have downloading capabilities removed. They are on two 8-port switches connected to a Verizon Versalink 327W modem/router.
What is my best bet??
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Jeff_Burns
Asked:
Jeff_Burns
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2 Solutions
 
Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
You can have a mixture...but man...it is like forcing a square box in a round hole.  Best to have all machines on the same platform. In this case Windows XP Pro. In addition, with that size of a network, your client should be running a server.

The itemized connection restrictions that you specified work well in a client-server network. To proceed in an XP Home environment will lead you to misery.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
To add specifics to irwinpks, comments (which I completely agree with) you will be running into built in connection limits. A Windows XP pro box will allow up to 10 simultaneous users or devices to connect to it, such as to access shares. This connection is dropped after a relatively brief period of time often allowing you to get a couple of more boxes to "survive" on the network. However, if you plan to have users connect to shares on an XPhome machine, there is a 5 connection limit.

You should seriously look at Small Business Server, setting up a domain, and moving the XP home users to XP pro. I have never had a single problem with an XPhome to XPpro upgrade but I would always recommend a clean install when it is an option. Talk to a local Microsoft Small Business partner. There are some incredible deals on now with HP and IBM servers and Microsoft SBS. Seems you get the basic software package almost for free. SBS will offer you many additional features, better performance and expandability, and MUCH easier network maintenance.
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/sbs/default.mspx
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@robwill....and irwin cheers!!
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Hi irwin !
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Jeff_BurnsAuthor Commented:
Man, you two have REALLY been helping me out. I think my monthly dues should be going straight into your pockets! In case you couldn't tell, my networking experience is minimal...but growing. If it wasn't for you guys and this website I'd be up @$!* creek.
Anyhow, they DO have a system acting as a server, and I believe that IS running XP Pro, but it is still a peer-peer nonetheless. I was under the impression that SBS was pretty expensive, but I'll check out that link.
Thanks again guys...go have a beer.
Jeff
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
@jeff_burns...well I work for squat.  My 240k points this month is worth that. :-(

But hey! We're helping ya' out. Kinda helps us too by keeping our skillz up to date/to par and elite. :-)

What OS are they using as the server?
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Glad to help. It's a great forum.
XPpro "acting as a server" is a far cry from a server operating system. Expensive is a relative term. If you have 15 computers I guarantee you will save at least the software cost in time saved managing the network. It also gives you added security, and SBS gives you many features  such as Exchange mail server, Sharepoint Intranet, shared faxing, shared calenders and public folders, a DNS, DHCP and VPN server, print and file sharing, and on and on. The main feature is central management of all users, policies, security, and availability of shared resources. The software itself is about $600 US but right now HP is offering very basic servers with the software for that price. Heck of a deal. They are not powerful servers and have no built-in back up features but probably better than the workstation you are using now. It would free up a workstation for a user as well.
Another feature I forgot to mention is the remote Workplace feature allowing users to connect remotely to work on their office desktop or access e-mail.

As for the beer, a fellow on another post wants to create an FTP beer site, so he can offer beer as a thanks. I think ist's a great idea !  :-) any suggestions as to how to do it ?  :-)
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Jeff_BurnsAuthor Commented:
The USB port on my Coors Light can doesn't seem to want to download...
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Work on it, that's an important fix !
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Here's a few links to give you an idea of the costs
Base server + 5 cals
http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.aspx?EDC=828949

5cals
http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/default.aspx?EDC=556209
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
"As for the beer, a fellow on another post wants to create an FTP beer site, so he can offer beer as a thanks. I think ist's a great idea !  :-) any suggestions as to how to do it ?  :-)"

Yeah!  and here it is!! :D
http://www.ctrlaltdel-usa.net/yabb_2_1_superman/YaBB.pl?num=1148699601
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
These are the deals I was talking about. Very basic HP server and SBS or Server 2003 with 5 CALs for $699 Canadian, that's like.....free in US dollars   :-)
http://www.hp.ca/promotions/smart/

@irwin, so how much have you actually received <G>
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
oh wow..it also includes a MACHINE!! deal..

as for kudos beers, I think I loosely got 4.  Though I just created the link..so pass the word around. :-D
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
I don't know how they are selling them for that, but I know MS wants O/S's out there, so they may be tossing in the O/S in for free hoping to sell CAL's, desktop software, and other licenses. Novell is offering Netware and Suse more or less for free, so Microsoft may be trying to maintain it's base.

Let me know how the beer goes, might be worth configuring an East Coast branch.

I am out-a-here for tonight. Irwin is 10 hours behind, and I am don't know about Jeff.
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Jeff_BurnsAuthor Commented:
I checked out the links guys. Thanks for the info. Now I could install the SBS on the same 'server' PC they are using now? As far as the CALs...does each PC need one, and what could I expect that to cost?
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
Confirm the "server" configuration against the system requirements of SBS.  each PC attaching to the server needs a CAL.
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Jeff_BurnsAuthor Commented:
So I will need a CAL for each workstation in addition to upgrading to XP Pro, or does the CAL provide the software? Forgive me, but I have only worked with smaller networks and I'm doing this for a friend at little cost...And obviously I need the experience!!
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Minimum requirements:
http://www.microsoft.com/canada/smallbiz/products/sbs/requirements.mspx
However I would recommend minimum of 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM if using it just for File and Print Sharing. If using Exchange, other services, and adding things like WSUS (Windows System Update Services) you will want to double those.
If you can get that deal I mentioned, you can get the server almost for free with the software, or visa versa. That way you would have an extra workstation too.

CAL's are just a license ( rather a tax ) that allows a machine or device to have access to the server. Actually there are Device CAL's and User CAL's. We could spend an hour explaining them, but you need one or the other, they are the same price, but with one system you need a CAL for each device and with the other you need 1 for each person. There are advantages to each but when you have 1 workstation per user, and 1 server, it doesn't matter.

And  no, a CAL doesn't get you an XPpro license. Years ago, a WIN2000 license did get you 1 CAL though, but not any  more.
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Jeff_BurnsAuthor Commented:
Guys, there is no way my customer can afford to upgrade XP Pro on all the machines, then pony up the extra hundreds for server software and CALs. Is there a way to make this work JUST with the XP Pro upgrades? I don't want to shoot myself in the foot with a boatload of network admin issues but I have to keep the costs down.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
If you're going to spend 50% of the cost for a network wide upgrade, then why not go all the way?...it's that old say "penny wise, pound foolish", food for thought.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
It may work. Depends on how many connections to shared devices and how often the users connect, but first of all XPhome is for home, and secondly Microsoft has imposed these connection limits more or less to force you to server versions of software. I have some extremely stubborn and "!#$%^^!!" colleagues who use Windows 98, and others using a Linux and Samba combination to get around these limits but I can guarantee you they spend more than the cost of the server in management. The 5 and 10 connection limits are built in and fixed.

You wouldn't believe the savings in time with a properly configured server and domain, in a small business.
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Jeff_BurnsAuthor Commented:
Rob and irwin,

Thanks again for all your help. I'm going to close this question now since you guys have provided me with a lot of information, and as this job progresses, I will post further questions. I will be meeting with this client tomorrow and allow him to look it over. I just have a couple more quick questions for you...

I know what you mean by 'connection limits', but the '5' and '10' refer to what?

Hypothetically...if you guys were doing this job...11 PC's, shares, security, configuration, etc. What would you charge? What is the 'going rate'? I already added an additional switch, but the rest of the wiring previously existed.

Just curious. Thanks again guys. Look for my posts later this week, I'm sure I'll have more questions!!!

Jeff
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
When a user connects to a shared file or printer on a PC that user has created 1 connection. There are limits with desktop operating systems, acting as servers, as to how many simultaneous connections you can have. The connection is actually considered dropped after a pre-determined time, I believe about 10 minutes, but at no time can there be more than 10 connections on pro, or 5 on home. The additional user will get a message no connections available.

By they way I have numerous clients with 5 or 6 PC's and 1 Small Business server, so do not consider our thoughts to be overkill.

The "going rate" is very dependent on location and the service you are providing. I'm in Canada and rates here for day to day support tend to range from $65-$100 US/hr. However, I have a job in another country in 2 weeks where the local rate is $195 US/hour. Then for specialty services the sky is the limit. It's all supply and demand.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
ps- Thanks for the points Jeff.
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Jeff_BurnsAuthor Commented:
That is what I thought the '5 and 10' referred to...thanks for the clarification.

Do you ever charge on a per-job basis or is it always hourly?

I'm in Southern California and a die-hard Kings fan, so let me tell you how happy I was when the Oilers bounced those ridiculous Ducks from the playoffs the other night! Go Oilers!
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Actually often per job, but the calculations are still based on hours. As you progress you can find shortcuts that save you quite a bit of time. As a result you can charge the client a little less and you can make a little more. For example, setting up a Windows workstation is always cloned or scripted. That saves a lot of time, however I charge the customer for more time than it takes me, but much less than sitting there waiting for it to load. We both profit.
 
What Oily Ducks are those ?? Just kidding, I'm a poor excuse for a Canadian. I don't watch hockey and I don't drink much beer, our 2 national past times.
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Jeff_BurnsAuthor Commented:
Sorry if I made a generalization or assumption, no offense intended. Not EVERYONE here in the states is a baseball fan...or an apple pie fan...or a Bush fan...or a pig...or a racist...Oh hell, I could go on forever! ;)

Take care man. Thanks again!
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Not offended at all, but hockey is such a national pastime here, like the Europeans and their soccer, that if you don't watch hockey you kind of feel like you should hide in the closet. Then again, I doubt I watch 2 hours of any TV a week. When I was a bachelor I didn't own a TV, how about that for a geek. <G>

Good luck.
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Irwin SantosComputer Integration SpecialistCommented:
cool.. thank you!
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