How do I set up a small network (3 laptops) with 1 as server?

Asked by Lucy Dixon on 2012-07-13

I am trying to set up a small office network, with the following equipment:

1 Toshiba Satellite Pro L300 laptop - for the server - currently running Windows XP, will do a clean install of a new OS (Ubuntu/Windows)
1 Dell XPS 15z with Windows 7 (user will NOT use Ubuntu)
1 Dell Inspiron N5110 with Ubuntu 1.10 (about to install 12.04)
1 HP Officejet Pro L7590
1 Netgear Wireless N300 Modem Router

Starting from scratch, would it best to install Ubuntu or Windows on the laptop that will act as server? And what software/ version of OS would I need to install? The printer is connecting to the router with an ethernet cable, so can I set up the rest of the network wirelessly?

Can anyone give me some step by step instructions on how to set it up and connect the two laptops? So far I've found several suggestions online, but I'm having trouble deciphering the jargon!

Thank you!


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Ubuntu xserver-xorg-video-nv Edit question
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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

Server for what?? There are thousands of types of server;

- Web
- Citrix
- Print
- Scan

So we cannt possibly give aNY solution as we have no idea what you need.... Think about it.....

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Lucy Dixon (lucyfdixon) said :

A server for backing up all the data from the other two laptops - documents, etc. We have no intentions of hosting our website on it, and I don't know what Citrix is! The printer is already connected to the netgear router, and the two working laptops are already talking to it.

Hope that makes sense! I'm a novice at networking...

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actionparsnip (andrew-woodhead666) said :

Then you can use nautilus to share a folder with samba (easy, fast, insecure so not advised for access over WWW) or install openssh-server which will give an SFTP server (slightly slower but secure so you can access your data over the web).

If you use SFTP, your Windows clients will need something like Filezilla to put data on the server. If you only want access over your home WAN then samba is quick and easy. Just right click a folder and select sharing from there, the wizard will guide you the rest.

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