Friday, March 25, 2011

Got an extra PC ?




Most of us have an old desktop laying around that we have yet been able to find a good use for. Sure we may have thought about a few ideas such as harvesting it for parts or even just simple file sharing. But we then contemplate where we would set it up, having to find some extra peripherals, or think that you would be limited by the low specs of the system.

One such use you can re-purpose that old computer for is a private server. Which you can use either just for media and file share over your own network...or if your up to it setting it up so that you can stream all your media via a web browser or some other program from anywhere with Internet access.

If you decide you want to stream your media from anywhere with Internet access you will have to decide in which way you would like to do that. I have used both windows server 2008 and wowza found here, for this purpose with relative success. Before you do so you may want to take a look at this before choosing how you will stream your media.

The initial set-up is very simple. You simply need to pick an OS you would like to use. If your a student you can acquire a free copy of windows server 2008 at dreamspark.com its a website that provides students with free copies of Microsoft software.

As far as the initial set up you will need to have peripherals while you install the operating system you choose to use, whether it be a server OS or not. However after installing the OS you can set up the PC/server so that you can access it remotely. This way you could put the server any where you like with no peripherals. The computer does of course need to be connected to the Internet.
If your using windows the tool you will be using to access your desktop remotely will be found either at the top of start>programs list or found in start>programs>accessories and is called remote desktop connection. Once you find the program all you have to do is enter the external IP address for your PC/server and the password to it and your set. 
 
You will need to have port 3389 open for remote desktop connection to work , a tool that can help you a lot in this process (and further down the road) is pfp port checker found here.


If your worried about performance don't...these tasks wont require too much processing power and as far as ram if you don't have any extra laying around you can pick up some more for fairly cheap. I would recommend 2 gigs ram but one would most likely be fine as well.

Here are two tutorials on re-using old pc's...the dvr project may cost a bit of money as you will need a capture card and software such as sage.

33 comments:

  1. Great article...I've been thinking about doing this for a long time

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  2. great post dude, thanks for sharing

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  3. I have setup my old pentium 3 as a file backup server.

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  4. You post good advices here my friend. I will watch for more.

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  5. I do have like 3 old tin-cans standing about.. Maybe this is a good idea :O

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  6. thanks, i really ought to do this to save some money

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  7. I've got quite old PC have to buy new :) +followed

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  8. which reminds me, i need a new computer

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  9. Great advice! Totally following.

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  10. definitely some good advice. probably have a few of those things laying around. still though...

    meh

    following

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  11. I thought about this when I was looking at web hosting plans, and then once again when I was looking for an easy place to store my music and videos.

    However, when you can buy a 2TB internal hard drive for under 60 bucks, there's no point keeping another big PC tower under your desk just to store media.

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  12. Damn fine article, man! Bookmarked for when I finally get around to it.

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  13. Nice! Never thought about that. I have one of those Dell's sitting in my closet as we speak, been collecting dust for years.

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  14. I might have to dust off that old Dell of mine!

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  15. Thanks for the tip! Also Logmein is working quite nice, no need for NAT and firewall settings

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  16. I guess it's cheaper than buying an extra hard drive. Seems a lot of hassle though. Still, nice idea :)

    Followed :)

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  17. I guess I just dont wanna deal with the extra bandwidth... Check out my new blog, puzzledyet.blogspot.com, if you haven't yet!

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  18. awesome, now i found something to do with my old ass computer

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  19. I did this a couple months back and it's worked out great for me.

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  20. I did this a while ago, and it's been fantastic, I now have a PS3 and stream directly to the TV. Good stuff!

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  21. wish id found this before selling my old desktop :(

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  22. wait now, i got my old desktop in the grage! im hookin my self up with a sever THANKS! :D

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  23. i've seen similar posts on making your home server. thanks for the reminder. :D

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  24. I got a couple desktops laying around but they are too slow for server use and other one has broken power supply :)

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  25. This is fascinating, but I'm not that well with computers. :[

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  26. looks like my old tan behemoth just found a reason to be brought back online. and legit too! never heard of that site for students before

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  27. Good article, got a lot of good info in there.

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