How To Turn Your Old PC Into A Linux (Ubuntu) Server

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Set up a dedicated gaming server for the most popular games

Don’t let your computer’s parts off the hook just because they were swapped out in an upgrade; put them back to work! Half of the top-ten most-played games on Steam come with the option to customize your entire gameplay, right up through running your own dedicated server. Are you going to sit back and play the game how somebody else envisioned it, or are you going to grab the goat by the horns, run your own server, and make it personal?

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How to Turn Your Home Computer into a Web Server …

2012-6-16 · Before getting into the actual process, let’s look at a couple of real-world situations that explain why you may want to turn your home computer into a web server.. Situation #1.Say you have music MP3s, documents and other important files on the hard drive of your home computer.

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Turn Your Old Computer Into A Media Server

Until recently it was challenging to turn an old computer into a media server. In theory it should be easy to access any Windows computer on your home WiFi network, find the file you want, and then watch it on a different computer, a device such as a smartphone, or even on your WiFi-connected TV. In practice, however, the Windows file system is not particularly intuitive, making it confusing to find and play the files you want. On top of that, trying to play a movie can be a real challenge, depending on the codec that’s being used.

This is where media server software comes in handy. This open source software can transform your PC into a media server that can stream your content anywhere over the internet. And the content such as movies and music doesn’t necessarily have to reside on your old computer either: a media server will allow you to send content from your newer computer or device to it to stream onto your TV or home theater.

One minor caveat here: setting up a media server can be challenging. In theory you can take advantage of Windows’ native DNLA capability, but it takes a bit of effort and some trial-and-error to make it work properly. There is free media server software to choose from, such as Universal Media Server or Serviio, but these are often difficult to set up and may lack some important features.

This is why Plex is such a great choice.

Setting up Ubuntu for SSH

Once your system is updated were going to need to get the local IP address to SSH into the system. You could do all this on the server machine, but using SSH will make it way easier to copy commands and easily move media files to your new server. First to find your IP run the following command.

Your IP address will be after after ‘inet’ and will likley be the first address that doesn’t end in a 0 or 1. For my machine the local IP address is 192.168.0.60, so that what I’ll be using for the rest of this article.

Once you have this done you’re going to want to make sure you have OpenSSH installed on your main computer. You can run “ssh” in the terminal to check. As a reminder this will only work on your local network. In order to connect to a machine outside of your home network you will want to set up port forwarding and add additional security to your systems.

Once you have OpenSSH installed you can SSH into you new server.

It will ask you for your password and once you are in it will look like a normal terminal instance, but it will be for the server as it display as [email protected] Once you are in we can setup plex.

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Using FreeNAS:

Just as the name suggests, FreeNAS is free software that can convert you old PC into a server. Not only it is easy to install, but it is easy to configure and run as well. The process isn’t your stereotypical method of downloading and installing; rather, there are a few steps that set the entire process apart from installation of normal software. But it is still nothing too difficult or complex. Here’s a step by step guide:

  • Visit the website and download the latest version of FreeNAS into your PC. The current version is FreeNAS8 but the previous version FreeNAS 7 (also called NAS4Free) is still very popular.
  • Next, find a USB with a minimum of 2GB storage. This USB will become the bootable device for your PC to run this software from. The USB will then remain in the port where you have placed it for the rest of the time your server is active. You can also use a small SSD in case you are worried that someone might remove the USB (you do not want that to happen, ever!!!).
  • Burn the downloaded FreeNAS into the USB drive (in .iso format. X86 for 32-bit processor or x64 for 64-bit processor).
  • Now your bootable thumb drive is ready. Connect it to the ‘server to be’ and power it up. Press F12 to boot up the BIOS and select the option to have it booted from the optical drive.
  • The computer will restart and boot from the optical drive instead of the hard drive. The program will start executing itself and you will see FreeNAS’s FreeBSD-based Linux commands running through your screen.
  • Afterwards, a simple installation screen will appear with four options to choose from.
  • You will be selecting the first option of install or upgrade FreeNAS 8 (or the previous version if you have downloaded that). Press enter and you will arrive on the next screen.
  • There, you will be shown any storage media connected to your system. You will then select the flash/hard drive as the target for installing. This will create two partitions in the flash drive; one for the OS and the other for any future updates. Approving the installation means that all the previous data will be eradicated from the flash drive, so make sure you don’t have anything important that you would want to salvage.
  • Proceed with the installation by choosing the thumb drive, selecting yes and pressing the enter key.
  • A prompt will appear after the complete installation of FreeNAS. Press enter key and from the main menu, select the option to reboot your system.
  • Here, you will repeat the process where you choose which drive FreeNAS will boot from by default. You will specify that you want it to be booted from the thumb drive plugged in one of the USB ports of the system.
  • The software will take some time to load up and a screen will appear after that, showing all the networking options that can be set for FreeNAS. This is an indicator of your server being ready and running.
  • The whole point is to have it connected to the internet in order for it to be functioning as a server. So have your PC connected to the internet via Ethernet cable. You will receive an IP address to access the primary settings of FreeNAS. Type this IP address into the address bar of any browser of another device connected to the same network and press enter key.
  • You have now entered web-based configuration setting. Here, you would want to personalize your server by changing the name and password. On the left side, there should be a ‘My Account’ which you can click to expand. Change the user name and password from here and click ‘save changes’.
  • On the upper left corner of Web-based configuration screen of FreeNAS, there should be a Storage button. From there, you can set up storage volume. On the said screen, there should be a ‘Create Volume’ button. Assign a name to the volume and select the total number of drives you would want to use to create the said volume. Be sure to select ‘ZFS’ as the file system type since it delivers a number of benefits that Unix file system doesn’t.
  • At this point you will have the opportunity to decide upon the RAID type to use if you are combining multiple drives. When ready, click the Add Volume button.
  • If your storage is supposed to be a shared resource (whether it is a server for home or office), select the ‘Change Permission’ icon and grant write access to ‘Group’ and ‘Other Users’ while also selecting the ‘Set Permission Recursively’ option and click on the ‘Change’ button to save all the changes made.
  • You have now successfully created basic storage volume on your server. The next step is to set-up ‘Sharing Arrangement’ so the contents of your drive can be found by the users of your servers. If the users of your server use a variety of OS and machines (Linux, Windows, Mac, etc.) then CIFS shares are the best options for you. In the Web Configuration, click the ‘Sharing’ button and select ‘Add CIFS Share’. Assign a name to the share drive and select volume you want to give by clicking the ‘Browse’ button on the ‘Path’ line. Make sure to check the box next to ‘Allow Guest Access’ and click on OK afterwards.
  • Click on the ‘Service’ button which should be on the left side bar, go to ‘Control Service’ option and flip on the main panel’s CIFS setting.
  • To test whether the whole thing is up and running, type two backslashes (\\) and then the IP assigned to you by the FreeNAS into the Windows Explorer window and press the enter key. This should take you to the shared drive.

Congratulations for having set up your own FreeNAS powered server. You can now utilize this server in a variety of ways and have it set up according to one of the types of servers that we have talked about above.

How to Convert an Old PC into a Modern Server

www.pcworld.com

2012-5-15 · How to Convert an Old PC into a Modern Server. By David Murphy … You can use it as a repository for automatic PC backups, or set it up as a file server that you and your employees can access …

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Internet Information Server (IIS):

  • IIS is a set of Internet-based services for servers created by Microsoft for use with Microsoft Windows.  
  • IIS comes with Windows 2000, XP, and Vista.  It is also available for Windows NT.  
  • IIS is easy to install and ideal for developing and testing web applications. 
  • IIS includes Active Server Pages (ASP), a server-side scripting standard that can be used to create dynamic and interactive web applications.

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Step 2: Install It

Double click the .msi file you just downloaded, it will install, use the default settings, typical install (unless you want the source code, then do custom install). It should automatically fill in some form boxes with your DNS server name (in my case it was ) during the installation. for server name, put whatever you want, I don’t think spaces are allowed though. and make sure after your name you have (or whatever DNS name is). for email, put in your email (or don’t doesn’t matter much).

What is a Virtual Machine? What Are the Advantages of a VM?

A virtual machine app creates a virtualised environment (or clones your existing machine into a virtually built equivalent) that behaves like a separate computer system, complete with virtual hardware devices (CD/DVD Drive, Hard Drive, etc). The VM runs as a process in a window on your current operating system or NAS platform and allows you to access it either on your physical PC or remotely over the internet/network on a physical device. You can boot an operating system as a virtual disc image (an ISO for example) inside the virtual machine, and the operating system will handle it as it would a regular computer. Whenever you want to use the operating system, you can open the virtual machine program on your PC/NAS/client application and use it in a window on your current desktop. In the VM industry, the operating system actually running/supporting the virtual environment is called the host (so this is the NAS, server or PC that is launching the VM. The device you are using to see/interact with the VM is called the client (and the VM itself can often be called the ‘guest’). It helps keep things from getting too confusing as you go through this list of ways to create and access a virtual machine.

In the majority of cases in a VM, the guest OS is stored on a virtual hard drive a big, multi-gigabyte file that is created as a container/quota of space that in reality is stored on your real hard drive(s) on yoru NAS/Server/Physical PC. The VM host app presents this file the guest OS as a real hard drive for the client app to interact with. This means you won’t have to mess around with partitioning or doing anything else complicated with your real hard drive, as the entire VM exchange is going to be contained in this one area of the overall system storage.

Virtualization does add some overhead, so don’t expect them to be as fast as if you had installed the operating system on real hardware. Demanding games or other apps that require serious graphics and CPU power don’t really do so well unless you use a NAS or Host Server system that supports PCIe GPU cards and then dedicate that hardware to the VM Host app and the guest VM in question (currently only available on QNAP NAS Drives). Overall though, virtual machines aren’t the ideal way to play Windows PC games on Linux or Mac OS X (and often used reason for Mac users to use a Windows VM) at least, not unless those games are much older or aren’t graphically demanding. However with the evolution of NAS hardware and 10Gbe too, using a QNAP NAS drive to edit large RAW Photo and Video on a Virtual Machine remotely (using GPU enabled VM Hosts and the VM guests being accessed via a client tool, have been very successful. You just need enough horsepower, as you would on a local machine!

Generally, as a rule of thumb, your local host NAS/Server/Computer should still keep at least 25% of the hardware resources available for it to run smoothly enough not to hamper the VM being hosted, as once a VM is deployed and active, the system resources (CPU Cores, Memory, USBs, PCIe slot, etc) that you dedicate to it will be permanently reserved, even when not in active access.

IMPORTANT I – If you’re converting a Windows PC to a virtual machine, remember that you may encounter licensing issues. Windows Activation may detect that it’s running on a different machine, and you may have to contact Microsoft to get it properly activated. Windows licenses are only supposed to be in use on one computer at a time.

IMPORTANT II – When creating a virtual machine of an existing physical computer, remember that in almost all cases, you cannot SAVE the VM image you are creating to your physical machine, as it would technically be impossible (taking INFINITE TIME), so you will need to ensure you have an external drive that is big enough to store the Virtual Machine image you are creating (so it will need to have a bigger capacity than the physical PC hard disk/SSD. Alternatively, you can connect a NAS server and then map a network drive and then select it as a save destination for the VM image you create. However remember that most NAS drives are connected at 1Gbe by default (with SATA at 6Gb/s, USB at 5Gb/s, etc) so this will increase the creation time somewhat, as well as result in the image creation potentially becoming corrupt if the network connectionis inturrpted during creation. So I strongly recommend you use a local connected external drive.

IMPORTANT III – If you are using a QNAP NAS

IMPORTANT III – If you are using a QNAP NAS to host your Virtual Machine, remember that it has a built-in Image Converter in Virtualization Station – very useful for configuring some unsupported images. With Synology, you have a ‘Guest OS Tool’ ISO available for free download within the application which helps with Windows 7/8/10 VM installation that includes drivers.

Test Your Web: 

Test Your Web: 

After you have installed IIS or PWS follow these steps: 

  1. Look for a new folder called Inetpub on your hard drive.  
  2. Open the Inetpub folder, and find a folder named wwwroot.  
  3. Create a new folder, like “MyWeb”, under wwwroot.  
  4. Write some ASP code and save the file as “test1.asp” in the new folder.  
  5. Make sure your web server is running (see below).  
  6. Open your browser and type “http: //localhost/MyWeb/test1.asp”, to view your first web page.

Note: Look for the IIS (or PWS) symbol in your start menu or taskbar.  The program has functions for starting and stopping the web server, disable and enable ASP, and much more.

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