[How to] Turn Your Old PC Into a Media Server
This is a Guest post by Uttoran Sen
Considering the fact that it’s the 21st century and you more than likely haven’t been living in a cave for the past few years, you’ve more than likely stockpiled and amassed a huge variety of digital media that stays stuck on your desktop PC. But at one point or another you wish it was just a little easier to get the files that are stuck on that computer over to your wife’s laptop or your son’s gaming machine. Well today we’re going to take a look at a very cool trick that lets you configure an old computer lying around the house (I’m sure you have one!) into a media server that helps everyone in the house have access to the same files.
- Get an old computer: Now, don’t go and buy something ancient! You’ll probably want something fairly new that can handle the load of a normal computer. So, assuming you already have a computer lying around the house that isn’t more than a few years old, you’re good to go.
- Load up on hard drives: Whether or not you use an old laptop or desktop is entirely up to you. In my opinion, if you use a desktop computer for the task, it’s a lot easier to manage. But a laptop is just as effective in performing the task. Because you probably have a lot of DVDs and music backed up on your computer, you’ll want to have lots of space on your media server machine. Terabyte drives are dirt cheap these days and you can easily pick one or two of them up to store all of that digital content.
- Operating system: The next step is to make a decision as to what type of operating system you want to run on your machine. The two most popular options are either Windows XP or some version of Linux. If you decide to go with Linux, you may have to do some background reading to familiarize yourself with it. So for ease of use, we’ll stick with XP.
- Get your media: We’re just going to assume that you have a large pile of media already ripped and configured just the way you like it on your personal computer. How do you get it transferred over to the new machine? Easy. On the new server you’ve just set up you’ll want to go into Start>My Computer>Right Click on My Computer> Properties> Computer Name Tab> Workgroup. Whatever workgroup the server is in is what workgroup you need to change all of the other computers in the house to. It’s as simple as going into the same tab on your other machines and typing in the new workgroup name. It will prompt you to restart.
- Share the folder: So, now you’re in the same workgroup. The last step is to set up a share folder on the server. The best way to do it is to just find some empty space on the desktop and create a folder called “Share.” Right click on the folder and go to properties. Choose the sharing tab and check the box entitled “Share this folder on the network.” Do another quick restart and you’re almost there.
- On the other machines in the house, go to Start>My Network Places and wait for the list to load. A folder called “Share” should pop up. Now all you have to do is drag and drop any existing media you have into that folder and it will automatically copy itself over to your new server.
Congratulations, your media is now accessible to everyone!
This is a guest post by Uttoran Sen. Uttoran is a full time professional blogger and you can follow him on Twitter as well.