Windows 7 as a file share?

Posted on 2012-08-21
Last Modified: 2012-08-30
Can windows 7 (enterprise I believe) operate essentialy as a file share as well as Server 2008? What are the advantages/disadvantges between the two OS's as a file share? In my organization, I think the less machines running a server OS t'he better' (as a quantity of servers issue). I am in a large domain that I do not manage (AD, etc.).
Question by:italo5696
    LVL 14

    Assisted Solution

    Go to Start > Run and type winver in the command window. Click on Microsoft Software License Terms, then scroll down to Section 3e. For Windows 7 your allowed up to 20 simultaneous connections for file/print sharing, IIS, ICS and telephoney services.
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    So yes it can act as one but it does have limitations since it is not a Server OS.
    LVL 13

    Accepted Solution

    Well, the best you can do is make a Windows server 2008 a file server. So you can enable DFS. DFS provides location transparency and redundancy to improve data availability in the face of failure or heavy load by allowing shares in multiple different locations to be logically grouped under one folder.

    But a Windows 7 can also operate as your "file server". But if he faces a failure, then you won't have access to the files stored here. Also you are limited to 20 connections to your Windows 7 share. If you want to access a shared folder with more than 20 at the same time, the fastest win :) and others won't be able to access it.

    I think the less machines running a server OS t'he better'
    Well not entirely. If you need an extra server, you need an extra one. You can also choose to use a NAS system to store your files if you don't want an extra server, to provide file services.
    LVL 87

    Assisted Solution

    Of course you can use windows 7 as a file-server, but like with windows XP the connections to the it as a server at one time are limited to a 20 connections.

    A further issue is that you don't have a centralized directory service like you have on m$ server OS (active directory). This means you have to duplicate all the user accounts on the "Server" PC.

    Author Comment

    Active Direty is managed by my domain administrators and so managing those accounts across multiple machines is a non-issue. I don't forsee more than 20 connetions, but you never know.... The less ervers the better is just a numbers game i.e. reports generate a number of machines running server and those up above want that number down. How does DFS provide location transpareny (and what is that?) and redundancy? Or I guess what does that mean, (to allow) shares in multiple different locations to be logically grouped under one folder? NAS devices are not very compatible with our network unfortunately. What other limitaions are there with using 7?
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    To explain what DFS is, you'll need over an hour to read what I want to say.

    Below you'll find a MS blog about it. It explains the basics of it.

    A short example for DFS. With DFS you have your data stored on multiple "file servers". So when 1 server faces issues with network connectivity, you won't notice it. Because you can still access the fileserver.

    For the rest, all the limitations are told about Win 7.
    1. Only 20 users can connect to it simultaneously
    2. Can't create DFS
        a. When your Windows 7 faces network issues, your fileserver won't be accessible.
        b. When your Windows 7 crashes and you don't have a backup of it, your data is gone (figurly speaking).
        c. With DFS, you can manage your fileserver shares more easily.

    Author Closing Comment

    Sounds like our WAN performance won't support DFS effectively. Still going with Server 2008 though. Thanks for the feedback.

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