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I have an old Dell Dimension desktop P3.  Can I connect a Cat5e cable to the desktop and my laptop and use my desktop as an external Hard drive?  I was hoping to use it similar to a file server a place where I can install print programs and other applications and connect to that PC and access the apps as I need them.  Or is this not possible?  I also wanted to store vital back up info on it.  If this is not possible how can I accomplish this?
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Question by:Shihansean
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Rob Williams earned 2000 total points
ID: 20306306
You can use it as a file server just by creating a shared folder and giving the appropriate permissions for users. This allows you to store files and access them with different programs.
If you wish to actually run application on it, you need to enable remote desktop access. Then you can log onto it and run it as if it was your local machine. Details as to how to configure the latter can be found at:
 http://www.lan-2-wan.com/RD-XP.htm  
However, you won't need to make the router modifications where you are at the same physical location.
The host machine, the Dell P3, has to be running XPpro to enable remote desktop access. If it is not, you can use a free utility to accomplish the same, such as VNC. There are several versions available. The common ones are listed here:
http://www.lan-2-wan.com/3rd.htm#q7
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by:Shihansean
ID: 20306389
So it needs XPpro for either course youve suggested?  Could you explain setting it up as a shared file server?  Ive read about it but never actually done this.  Thank you for your help.
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 20306471
As a file server it can be any operating system. For "remote control" the Dell P3 would have to be XPpro (or Vista Business, but won't run on a P3), however as mentioned 3rd party apps like www.uvnc.com will work nicely and accomplish pretty much the same thing. The connecting computer can be running any version of Windows for remote desktop or the 3rd party software providers.

Exact details for file sharing varies slightly depending on the operating systems you are running. The concept is always the same. A general outline can be found at:
http://www.epinions.com/cmd-review-41D6-5C355BF-39FBC8A4-prod1
If using XP Home this site would be more specific:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/813936
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