windows server 2008 setup, domain or workgroup???

i have 4 laptops that have windows 7 home premium on them and cannot join domain.  i am setting up the server 2008 standard in workgroup mode right now because they do not care about permissions.  the problem is they have files on the server they want to access on their laptops like personal stuff that i will have on server.  how do i get offline files to work without the machines on the domain?  can offline files be setup? can i do folder redirection in a workgroup?  do i setup active directory in workgroup mode or do i leave it not installed? i have always setup a domain but all of their machines cannot join domain.

should i just to make my life easier make them buy win 7 pro for each laptop?  then i can setup sync center with offline files and what they do offline will sync with the server when they come back on the network? also then i can setup folder redirection.

All they need the server for is quickbooks and office files.  they take their laptops home and to the office.  All their shares neeed to sync when they come back in.  any help would be great.  
bowlerman25Asked:
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Robin CMSenior Security and Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
I suggest investigating Microsoft InTune - ideal for laptops, and as part of the low monthly fee you get upgrades to Windows 7 Enterprise.
http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/windowsintune/pc-management.aspx
Then you can go for Active Directory and "do things properly".
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bowlerman25Author Commented:
so the real way still to do this is join them all to a domain?
also if i keep the server in a workgroup, do i still setup server with active directory or do i not?
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Robin CMSenior Security and Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
Right now it probably doesn't matter. But ideally your medium to long term plan should be to have all PCs/laptops joined to an active directory, and therefore you might as well make it a domain controller.
Have you already bought a Server 2008 licence? If not, check out the Small Business Server product, for low numbers of users it gives you a lot for you money.
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bowlerman25Author Commented:
i just upgraded all the computers from 7 home prem to 7 pro with the anytime upgrade.
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bowlerman25Author Commented:
i gave the answer
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Windows Server 2008

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