How to Turn a Laptop Into a Server

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An old laptop might be too heavy and outdated to use on a daily basis, but still run like new. Instead of selling the laptop for a loss, you can turn it into a personal server that is connected to your home network. The server can be used to store documents, videos and pictures so that they are available to any authorized computer on the network. Microsoft has made it easy to set up a personal server with its HomeGroup feature included with Windows 7.

  • Place the laptop on a solid surface in a location where it will not be intrusive, such as on top of a bookcase or in the basement. Plug it into a wall outlet, then turn it on. Connect an Ethernet cable to the Ethernet port on the laptop, then connect the other end of the cable to one of the Ethernet ports on your Internet modem. Select your WiFi network from the notification menu and click "Connect" if you have a WiFi network and want to use it instead of wired Internet.

  • Click "Start," then "Control Panel." Switch the Control Panel to extended view by clicking the drop-down box in the upper left side of the window and selecting "Large Icons." Scroll down the list and double-click on "Network and Internet," then choose "HomeGroup."

  • Click the option that says "Create a HomeGroup." Click the check box next to each directory you want to share across the network. For example, if you want the laptop to be a video server so that all the computers in your home can access the same videos, choose "Videos,", then click "Next." Windows will automatically generate a password that is required to access the network. Write the password down, then click "Finish."

  • Provide the password to anyone on your network that you want to have access to the server. To connect your other computers to the HomeGroup, click "Start" and type "HomeGroup" in the search field. Choose "Join HomeGroup" from the list and enter the password when prompted.

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