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Windows Server at Home?


ssj92
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One issue with having 7 laptops is keeping data, programs, etc. sync across from them. Before anyone mentions any cloud based storage, I'd rather not. This is more for fun but if it works out that'd be even better. I have a few Server licenses (2016 standard, datacenter, 2019 essentials, standard, datacenter, and 2022 standard and datacenter). 

 

Right now I have my main Alienware Aurora R4 desktop (i9 10980XE build in my sig) running 24/7. It is running Windows 11 Pro for Workstations and I have a Storage Space of 2x 8TB HDDs as a Samba Share to the whole house. I only keep media and software installs mostly on these drives. 

 

My SR-2 Build (2x Xeon X5675) is currently sitting in the room not in use. I could install Server on it and do active directory. I just wonder if I use the same account across my laptops, would my profile be synced? 

 

Just trying to see ways to make this work. Again, it's not a huge deal but could be a fun project. I am also limited to 1gbps network right now so transfers aren't super fast. Also have two Macs in the house so that's why I've been doing a SMB share. 

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Alienware m18             : Intel Core i9 13900HX                  | nVidia GeForce RTX 4090    | K1675 | 2x1TB SSDs 

Alienware Area-51M : Intel Core i9-9900K @ 5.3Ghz    | nVidia GeForce RTX 2080    | AX210 | Samsung 970 Evo+ 
Alienware X14 R1 :       Intel Core i7 12700H 12th-Gen   | nVidia GeForce RTX 3060    | AX411 | SK Hynix 2TB PCIe4 
Alienware M18x R2 :    Intel Core i7 3920XM @ 4.7Ghz | nVidia Quadro RTX 3000     | AX210 | Samsung 980 PRO   
Clevo X170SM-G:         Intel Core i7 10700K @ Stock     | nVidia GeForce RTX 2070S | AX210 | 256GB+2x512GB 

M14x (555m) | M14xR2 (650m) | M15x (980m) | M17xR3 (880m) | M18xR1 (880m SLI) | 18 R1 (RTX 3000)


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I hate this remote Windows home directory business, it kind of works but there are issues with profile synchronisation etc. What's wrong with cloud solutions? You can add your own encryption layer on top? Alternatively, you can host your own - e.g. Synology Cloudstation.

"We're rushing towards a cliff, but the closer we get, the more scenic the views are."

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I guess you have your reasons to run a (Windows) Server. But if you only want file storage and don't plan to run anything else on the server, isn't it better to do some self-hosted thing like owncloud or nextcloud? 

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Currently and formerly owned laptops (specs below):

Serenity                    -> Dell Precision 5560
N-1                             -> Dell Precision 5560 (my lady's)

Razor Crest              -> Lenovo ThinkPad P16 (work)
Millenium Falcon    -> Dell Precision 5530
Axiom                        -> Lenovo ThinkPad P52 (work)
Moldy Crow             -> Dell XPS 15 9550

 

Spoiler

Senenity / N-1: Dell Precision 5560
    i7-11800H CPU
    1x32 GB DDR4 2,666 MHz
    512 GB SSD
    NVIDIA T1200
    FHD+ 1920x1200
    PopOS 22.04

 

Razor Crest: Lenovo ThinkPad P16
    i7-12800HX CPU
    2x32 GB DDR4 4,800MHz
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA RTX A2000
    WQUXGA 3840x2400
    Windows 11 Pro

 

Millenium Falcon: Dell Precision 5530
    i9-8950HK CPU
    2x16 GB DDR4 2,666 MHz
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA Quadro P2000
    UHD 3840x2160
    Ubuntu 22.04 / Windows 10 LTSC

Axiom: Lenovo ThinkPad P52
    i7-8850H
    2x32 GB DDR4
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA Quadro P2000
    UHD 3840x2160
    Windows 11 Pro

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I probably should have done a better job explaining. 

 

So I don't need a file sharing option because I already use SAMBA on my desktop and can access it anywhere using my own VPN. 

 

What I was looking for is a way to set-up a desktop, then using multiple laptops to connect to the desktop. 

 

If I download a file on laptop A, I want to log into laptop B and have the file already there. 

 

If I install a APP on laptop A, I want it to be available or auto install on laptop B when I log in. 

 

Is there something available that can do this? 

Alienware m18             : Intel Core i9 13900HX                  | nVidia GeForce RTX 4090    | K1675 | 2x1TB SSDs 

Alienware Area-51M : Intel Core i9-9900K @ 5.3Ghz    | nVidia GeForce RTX 2080    | AX210 | Samsung 970 Evo+ 
Alienware X14 R1 :       Intel Core i7 12700H 12th-Gen   | nVidia GeForce RTX 3060    | AX411 | SK Hynix 2TB PCIe4 
Alienware M18x R2 :    Intel Core i7 3920XM @ 4.7Ghz | nVidia Quadro RTX 3000     | AX210 | Samsung 980 PRO   
Clevo X170SM-G:         Intel Core i7 10700K @ Stock     | nVidia GeForce RTX 2070S | AX210 | 256GB+2x512GB 

M14x (555m) | M14xR2 (650m) | M15x (980m) | M17xR3 (880m) | M18xR1 (880m SLI) | 18 R1 (RTX 3000)


CS Studios YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/CSStudiosYT 

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23 minutes ago, ssj92 said:

I probably should have done a better job explaining. 

 

So I don't need a file sharing option because I already use SAMBA on my desktop and can access it anywhere using my own VPN. 

 

What I was looking for is a way to set-up a desktop, then using multiple laptops to connect to the desktop. 

 

If I download a file on laptop A, I want to log into laptop B and have the file already there. 

 

If I install a APP on laptop A, I want it to be available or auto install on laptop B when I log in. 

 

Is there something available that can do this? 

 

You can have the same Windows profile on all machines, including app data - that's the roaming profile I mentioned not being in favour of earlier.  You would need a Windows Server to run this.  Windows won't automatically auto-install software on all devices (that I know of), but there might be some third party enterprise software for that. I wouldn't bother, the key is that all the app data wouldn't already be in place on all devices and get picked up if needed. Of course, if multiple devices are running at the same time, then the question of potential conflict resolution arises.

"We're rushing towards a cliff, but the closer we get, the more scenic the views are."

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7 minutes ago, Etern4l said:

 

You can have the same Windows profile on all machines, including app data - that's the roaming profile I mentioned not being in favour of earlier.  You would need a Windows Server to run this.  Windows won't automatically auto-install software on all devices (that I know of), but there might be some third party enterprise software for that. I wouldn't bother, the key is that all the app date wouldn't already be in place on all devices. Of course, if multiple devices are running at the same time, then the question of conflict resolution arises.

That's what I figured. Was just curious since I did have Windows Server Licenses and my SR-2 build is perfect for Server (dual CPUs, lots of RAM, Titan V gpu, etc.). It was all more for fun and to try server/active directory out. 

 

I guess I could set-up server for fun and have a secondary profile on all the computers just to play around with active directory but realistically it's best for me to just keep them separate and transfer files if needed using my samba desktop. 

Alienware m18             : Intel Core i9 13900HX                  | nVidia GeForce RTX 4090    | K1675 | 2x1TB SSDs 

Alienware Area-51M : Intel Core i9-9900K @ 5.3Ghz    | nVidia GeForce RTX 2080    | AX210 | Samsung 970 Evo+ 
Alienware X14 R1 :       Intel Core i7 12700H 12th-Gen   | nVidia GeForce RTX 3060    | AX411 | SK Hynix 2TB PCIe4 
Alienware M18x R2 :    Intel Core i7 3920XM @ 4.7Ghz | nVidia Quadro RTX 3000     | AX210 | Samsung 980 PRO   
Clevo X170SM-G:         Intel Core i7 10700K @ Stock     | nVidia GeForce RTX 2070S | AX210 | 256GB+2x512GB 

M14x (555m) | M14xR2 (650m) | M15x (980m) | M17xR3 (880m) | M18xR1 (880m SLI) | 18 R1 (RTX 3000)


CS Studios YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/CSStudiosYT 

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6 minutes ago, ssj92 said:

That's what I figured. Was just curious since I did have Windows Server Licenses and my SR-2 build is perfect for Server (dual CPUs, lots of RAM, Titan V gpu, etc.). It was all more for fun and to try server/active directory out. 

 

I guess I could set-up server for fun and have a secondary profile on all the computers just to play around with active directory but realistically it's best for me to just keep them separate and transfer files if needed using my samba desktop. 

 

Let's put it this way: it works, but is not bulletproof and could be cumbersome if you want these profiles to work offline (as you might do on laptops, or if you don't want to have pure SMB profiles), there could be a lengthy sync process on login/logout. I personally would not do this for any reason other than general Windows server administration practice.

"We're rushing towards a cliff, but the closer we get, the more scenic the views are."

AI: Major Emerging Existential Threat To Humanity

 

I like you, I just don't like "Likes"

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11 hours ago, Etern4l said:

there might be some third party enterprise software for that

Something like Windows Intune maybe? 

GitHub profile

 

Currently and formerly owned laptops (specs below):

Serenity                    -> Dell Precision 5560
N-1                             -> Dell Precision 5560 (my lady's)

Razor Crest              -> Lenovo ThinkPad P16 (work)
Millenium Falcon    -> Dell Precision 5530
Axiom                        -> Lenovo ThinkPad P52 (work)
Moldy Crow             -> Dell XPS 15 9550

 

Spoiler

Senenity / N-1: Dell Precision 5560
    i7-11800H CPU
    1x32 GB DDR4 2,666 MHz
    512 GB SSD
    NVIDIA T1200
    FHD+ 1920x1200
    PopOS 22.04

 

Razor Crest: Lenovo ThinkPad P16
    i7-12800HX CPU
    2x32 GB DDR4 4,800MHz
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA RTX A2000
    WQUXGA 3840x2400
    Windows 11 Pro

 

Millenium Falcon: Dell Precision 5530
    i9-8950HK CPU
    2x16 GB DDR4 2,666 MHz
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA Quadro P2000
    UHD 3840x2160
    Ubuntu 22.04 / Windows 10 LTSC

Axiom: Lenovo ThinkPad P52
    i7-8850H
    2x32 GB DDR4
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA Quadro P2000
    UHD 3840x2160
    Windows 11 Pro

 

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I understand this.  For the longest time I was annoyed by having to keep stuff in sync between even two systems.  I would often just RDP to my "server" and run stuff from there.  Now that my laptop has enough storage for "everything", I just use it fully as my primary and keep stuff backed up onto my "server" with a robocopy script that runs at night.

 

I think that trying to use Active Directory + roaming profiles would work for some things but it would introduce a whole new pile of problems.  (Login/logout sync delay.  Issues with file conflicts, i.e. if you used your browser profile from two systems without logging out of one of them first.  Applications would still not "sync" unless they were installed to your profile.  Etc.)

 

You could look at SCCM / Endpoint Manager to keep applications installed and up to date on all domain systems.  We use that at work, but I'm not in charge of managing it, so I don't really know how it works.

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