File Server Vs. Peer-to-Peer Network

Hi,
 
 I have a customer with 5 computers. They all run Windows 7 Home or Professional.
 One of the PCs has Windows 7 Professional with two hard drives. The first HD is for OS and the other for Data. From 2nd HD I setup Share folders so that other computers can store/retrieve files.  There is IP based copier(scanner/printer) and three hubs/switches.
 They are lawyers, so they surf the internet and work on mostly WORD documents all day
 Overall this setup has been working well for them even though I recommended "File Server based network" for many years, but he refused to spend money for it.

 Anyway in recent days he complained that it takes up to 15 seconds to open folders (in MS WORD) from the computer (File Server/Workstation). Whenever I connect to his computer at night, all is great and he agrees. The problem is during the day.  Another thing is that he access the shared folder called "DC" quite often and the DC folder has 11,290 files and 421 folders and total folder size is 16GB. The DC has over 2,200 files alone.

 Any reason why there is such a delay during the day?

  I am almost thinking that the intermittant delays stem from peer-to-peer setup.
  That workstaiton/File Server PC that his legal secretary uses gets used all day long by her. She runs WORD/EXCEL/OUTLOOK/QUICKBOOKS and Internet.
  The other day it took so long to open the shared folder, so he had to ask her close all the programs/files so that he can open the folder faster.

  Is there that much difference between File Server and Peer-toPeer Network on 5 user network? I would imagine there is, but this much dealy should be expected?

Thanks for your help in advance.
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sgleeAsked:
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
What speed in the Switch the computers are connected to and what speed are the Network Cards in the PC's?  Gigabit or 100 Mbps?
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
@alanhardisty
 I have to double-check because it has been a while since I set up that network a long time ago.
 My documentation shows that I installed 3Com 16 Port 10/100 Switch in 2007 and installed 4 port and 8 port Gigabytes switches.

  I just spoke to his secretary and she told me that in the afternoon her computer even gets slowed down quite a bit. I asked her to restart the PC at the end of the day if possible.
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Okay - let me know when you have checked out the switch / NIC's.

Worth also checking that AntiVirus isn't scanning during working hours and that it isn't set to scan files on opening as that will slow things down.
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
Their computers are all fairly new. The secretary and Bill's computers are 1 year old with Gigabit NIC and the other three laptops are also less than two years and I believe they also have Gigabit NIC.
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tmoore1962Commented:
1. Make sure the mapped drive is excluded from the AV on the machines that have them.
2. Make sure host system has exclusion for the share ( if concerned schedule an after hours scan of the data)
3. Get all connections to gigabyte speed, the 10/100 could be a cause of slow down.
4. How much ram does the host system have, max it out if possible 4gb on 32bit, max the MB will support on x64
5. It will take some time to recurse a folder with the amount that amount of data especially if the host machine is 'busy' with applications.  Might help a little to break the data up into a couple of different shared folders.  
6. What is the speed of the data drive.  Upgrade it to a 10k or even 15K sata drive if possible. As it could be a drive issue has the data drive - ran windows check disk on to check for errors, defragged for best performance. You may want to run wise disk clean up on the host system as well.
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tmoore1962Commented:
Also, for a small office such as theirs, a NAS might be a better alternative than a server - less expensive and you still get RAID capability. If nothing else get BE system recovery for the workstations and use NAS as the backup solution.  I would probably get 1 NAS and a couple of external USB drives - check out Netgear NAS as some of theirs will backup to a USB device (for off site backup)
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
The problem was with ESETAnti-Virus program. I have added "exclusions" for WORD/EXCEL/OUTLOOK, Mapped drives .. etc.
Things are running much faster.
NAS RAID system or faster HD such as SAS are all good options.
Considering the fact that legal secretary PC is being used by the secretary and as file server, I would prefer NAS RAID system unless they get a separate computer that acts as a file server.

Thank you all for you help.
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Network Analysis

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