Help - Building a Windows 7 network without a server


Senior Member
Hi, I'm hoping someone here can help me before I get too lost.

I have been asked to to put a network into a office over the holidays. The layout is going to be the following:

Reception X 2 PC'S
Front Office X 2 Printers
Back offices X 4 PC's
Main PC/Server X 1
Switch - 16 port Netgear switch

All the machines run Windows 7 premium, there is NO Windows server software (way too expensive).

The software that is going to be installed will have the main database on the Main PC/Server (the client database will reside on the second HDD - drive D). There will be client software on the other PC's, allowing them to access the client information on the database. The network is wired, no wireless due to walls and other obstructions. The cables from each end point will be plugged into the switch.

I need to know, what settings I need to configure on the PC/server in order to allow the other 6 PC's to have access to the PC/Server. And what settings do I need to configure on the printers to allow the PC's to print on them.

I know it's weird, but this is what I have been given/confronted with. The friend bought the PC's according to spec's given by the software company. I am supposed to pull the cables, cat 5, cap them plug them into the switch and PC's, wave my hands around, say "Abracadabra, Hey Presto" and the network should jump up and run. At least to the extent that I can access the PC/Server from each of the client PC's and that the software company can access the PC/Server via the internet.

I want to ensure that the client PC's CANNOT access the internet, so I thought that connection to the router goes directly into the PC/Server. But I also need to ensure that the SW company installing the SW can access the client PC's through the PC/Server, although I would be happy enough for the SW company to download a client installation package that I would then run, with their supervision, on each of the client PC's.

I can't change anything on what I have here. We are in the Caribbean and getting anything down here is really expensive and the budget is pretty much done.

This was definitely NOT the Christmas present I was expecting when I got here.

Spirit Wolfe

Honorable Member
This is how I would go about tackling this project.

First, I would make sure that both of my printers were network ready and can have a static IP address. This way you can have the printer software you are installing set to two IP addresses you remember rather than having the software try to "find" the printers. I find this a much better way, and to ensure that you are not utilizing an IP address that other computers might use choose this IP address first and then assign all other computers around this address. If they are not network ready printers you are going to have to manually setup USB ports on the main computer that will entertain the outside web access as well as the printers. Then that computer will have a static IP address.

Second, if you do not want other computers to have internet access and only intranet access then might I suggest that you incorporate some software that prevents outside access to the internet. Since this feature is best controlled through a DHCP router (and by you not including one in your scenario above it is going to be a little easier). Make sure that the computer you are going to use for your printers also houses two network cards within it. This is so that one network card will allow that computer only to access the internet and the second card will have access to the 16-port switch. This way if you want some or all of the client computers in the future to have access to the internet then all you have to do is bridge the the two network cards and only allow what IP addresses you want to outside access. By not allowing all computers to access the internet and only have access to the intranet is that you will not have access to Windows automatic update service and you will have to manually update Windows for all computers when required patches and other updates become available.

Hope this helps....


Senior Member
Thanks, I'll try that.
What settings do I need to configure on the PC/Server to allow the client PC's access to it and so the client database?


Windows Forum Team
Staff member
Well you are in luck because Windows 7 (non-server) will support up to 20 concurrent connections. Anymore than that and you will need to invest in a Server edition on Windows. What kind of database are you talking about? MS DB, sqlite, MS SQL? The latter should be able to handle connections no problem, you would just need to make sure SQL can accept connections on port 1433. If it's any of the others then you will need to create a file share either to the D drive or even directly to the folder with the database in it. Then just map each computer to it. Since you don't have any central authentication, you will need to either setup anonymous access to it the Everyone security group or add each user to the "server". I would also recommend
  • Right click on Computer, Properties
  • Click on the Advanced tab
  • Click on Settings under the Performance tab
  • Advanced tab again and change Processor Scheduling to Background service
This will increase the thread execution quantum to 12 clock intervals, this is set by default on Windows Server editions and allows a running process more time to finish 12 vs 2 clock intervals so there is less context switching.