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Windows Workgroup and a NAS Device

Posted on 2009-05-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Good day to all

I currently have the following setup.
I have a Workgroup called MSHOME, there is 9 notebooks connected to this Workgroup.
They are all running Windows XP Home.
I have one PC on this network, which is also connected to the same Workgroup and has Windows XP Home installed. This PC is has a folder on it which I have shared permissions for the 9 notebook users. They all require to connect to this shared folder concurrently as this is in a lecture/exam environment.
I would like to add more notebooks to this Workgroup, which is not the problem, but as soon as I would like to connect 10 and more users to the shared folder, it states that I am not able to do so, due to Windows XP Home's limitations.

Now for my question:
I thought to instead installing a Windows 2003 Server and creating a domain, can I add a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device which I would share these folder from to all the users?
Will Windows Workgroup restrictions also be in affect on this NAS device?

Is there perhaps another work around to this problem?

Thank you in advance for any comments posted.

Kind regards,
mustekkzn
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Question by:mustekkzn
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lavinpj1 earned 125 total points
ID: 24336245
It depends what runs the NAS device. If you have some spare old hardware and a few decent sized hard drives, check out FreeNAS. It's a BSD based NAS operating system which uses Samba for the network shares. Samba, being open source, doesn't have such limitations. It's all web managed using a very simple interface.

You don't necessarily need a domain but, if you do have one, you can automatically map the NAS as a network drive for domain users. If there's such a small number of computers, I'd not waste the money on a 2k3 license when it's less costly (in terms of time) to manually map the drive on each laptop.

As a note, the restrictions are caused by Windows itself, not the workgroup. The workgroup is just a defined set of computers which share the same resources and is not really needed anyway if you just use IP addresses rather than netbios names. If you insist on using names, setting up a DNS server would do a better job than netbios.

Phil
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by:mustekkzn
ID: 24336572
Hi Phil

Thank you so much for the information. It is much appreciated.

Could you may be recommend a complete, off the shelf NAS unit, which is not to expensive nor must it be a difficult task to setup, as we have about 15 sites that we will have to implement this work around too.
I have been looking on the internet for such devices, but none of them specifically state that they will not limit ones concurrent connections.
I would have loved to play around with Samba, but I have a time factor at hand.

We only require about 250GB hard drives with no redundancy and then obviously no limitation to the amount concurrent connections one can have.

Just to through a spanner into the works.
If in my example, 9 notebooks (Windows Home) connecting to one PC (Windows Home), is it then not possible to change the PC to Windows Professional?
As per your below comment:
 As a note, the restrictions are caused by Windows itself, not the workgroup.
Does this restriction also apply for Windows Professional (on the same Workgroup, MSHOME) or not?

Thank you once again for your post. It definitely got me thinking.

From mustekkzn

BTW&just another thought, do you perhaps know of another work around that I look into?
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by:lavinpj1
ID: 24337282
Most off the shelf solutions use Samba and a web GUI anyway. I personally own a Bufallo linkstation however it really isn't very good as compared to FreeNAS. FreeNAS really is incredibly easy to setup - you can check it out in VMWare before you dedicate some real hardware to it.

Most off the shelf solutions won't limit connections, if they use Samba, however I personally wouldn't buy one over a FreeNAS solution.

Phil
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by:lavinpj1
ID: 24337401
http://www.lvllord.de/?url=tools

That's an unoffical workaround to the problem. Keep in mind that it's UNSUPPORTED.

Phil
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by:mustekkzn
ID: 24337756
Hi Phil

thanks for your two posts.

I dont really know if I want to go the UNSUPPORTED route. Have you tried it out yourself?

I just on the net and found the below product. Which is the same as what you mentioned you have currently, a Buffalo LinkStation.
Can I please ask why you said it is not really good?
http://www.equanet.co.uk/catalogue/item/A0424989

I require a simple yes or no answer please. This above mentioned product, will it resolve my issue of me being limited to 10 concurrent connections?
Also, is it easy to configure?
Keep in mind, I will need to role this out to 15 sites across the UK.

I really do appreciated your posts...

If I dont get to speak to you again, hope you have a good weekend.

Kind regards,
mustekkzn
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by:lavinpj1
ID: 24337899
I have tried the patch and it works fine.

The linkstation I have just isn't as configurable as FreeNAS. It only supports smb (windows file share protocol) where FreeNAS supports rsync, ftp, scp, etc.

I also have an issue with my linkstation that it doesn't turn back on automatically after power failure. This may have been fixed in newer releases.

To summarize, the linkstation won't limit connections and the patch will remove the connection limit from XP.
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by:mustekkzn
ID: 24353256
Good day Phil

I hope you had a nice weekend.

A question with regards to the patch.

Would I need to install this on the server (PC) only, or would I have to go around to each and every notebook to apply this patch?

I would also like to know if this patch would work on a Vista machine, as one of our sites has Vista installed as the "server" PC.

As per your last post, "I have tried the patch and it works fine", we are looking into this, as this would probably be the easier and quickest way to do allow more than 10 users concurrent connections.

Thank you so much for your insight into this, it is much appreciated.

Kind regards,
mustekkzn
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by:lavinpj1
ID: 24355385
You only need to install the patch on the server as this is what imposes the connection limit.

I have never tried this on Vista, however this seems to highlight a fix:

http://www.mydigitallife.info/2007/04/09/windows-vista-tcpipsys-connection-limit-patch-for-event-id-4226/

It claims that the limit is 25 per second on Vista Ultimate. I am unsure if this is really 25 per second or just 25 total - you will need to try it.

Hope it helps

Phil
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Author Comment

by:mustekkzn
ID: 24355914
Hi Phil

Thanks so much for that.

I am hoping to be able to go and test it tomorrow on one of our sites.

Could I just confirm with you, that this patch, will it open up the limit of concurrent connections which is set to 10 concurrent connections by Windows XP Home in a workgroup environment?
That is a summary of what I require to happen.

Thank you once again in advance for your help.

I will give you feedback as soon as I have given this a test.

Kind regards,
mustekkzn
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by:lavinpj1
ID: 24355927
That is indeed what it will do.

Hope it works out for you.

Phil
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by:mustekkzn
ID: 24386263
Good day Phil

To give you some feedback on our progress.

I went out to our first site this morning to go and install this patch.

Installing the patch was easy with no problems what so ever. Restarted the PC....
Started testing and at number 10 I received the same error as before. As per attached screenshot Error.JPG.

Screenshot Computer Properties:
I attached this screenshot to show that the computer has SP3 installed. The patch requires SP2 and up.

Screenshot Patch After Installing:
I attached this screenshot to show that it has been successful. It is showing that I can have 50 concurent connections. The red square.

Screenshot Folder Properties:
This screenshots shows that I have Maximum allowed select. The interesting part is, if I had to go change it to Allow this number of users: and try and push the number up, it only goes to 10. I cant go any further.

I would really like to see if I can get this working.
I would like to know if missed anything.

Your assisntance and advice is much appreciated.

Kind regards,
Arno

Computer-Properties.JPG
Error.jpg
Folder-Properties.JPG
Patch---After-installing.JPG
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by:mustekkzn
ID: 24420248
Hi there....

Could I please get a response on the above post.
It would be much appreciated.

Kind regards,
mustekkzn
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by:lavinpj1
ID: 24420462
Apologies for the delay in replying/it not working.

http://www.megaleecher.net/Tcpip.sys_Patch_To_Increase_Windows_XP_Connection_Limit

Try that one for SP3.

Phil
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Author Comment

by:mustekkzn
ID: 24420586
Hi Phil....

Thanks for your post....I will try this patch and get back to you ASAP....
I really hope this time it resolves our issue, because it will make life a lot easier.

Kind regards,
mustekkzn
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Author Comment

by:mustekkzn
ID: 24448972
Good day Phil

To get back to you on this. I went yesterday to this site again to test this updated patch and no luck once again. Seems like we will have to go for an NAS device of some kind.

Could you please confirm for me that there are no other known solution to this? As I would like to close off this question.

I would like to end of by saying thank you for your time and knowledge. It is much appreciated.

Kind regards,
mustekkzn
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by:lavinpj1
ID: 24448996
I've never had issues with the first patch on XP SP3 and I've never tried to second so I'm not entirely sure why you're having these issues.

Other than those, I do not know of any other solutions - sorry.

Phil
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Author Comment

by:mustekkzn
ID: 25015437
Good day Phil

Sorry for only getting back to you in this now....been a crazy couple of months.

I have tried all the patches that you suggested and unfortunately none of them worked.

With that said, I thought to go back and use a NAS device, which worked 100%.

Thank you once again for your help in this matter.

Kind regards,
mustekkzn
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