Small Office Networking with File Sharing for Certain Users

Hello, I am planning to redo my small office network. Right now every computer is connected through a workgroup and some computers are sharing files to everyone and some need a login to share other files. I want to run a main server where all the files are on that computer and have it share all the files to everyone else on the network. I'm not too familiar with Windows workgroup networking and file sharing.

I want to have certain files accessible to certain computers and certain files accessible to everyone on the network. I'm under the impression that I have to have the main server with all the business documents (word, excel, pdf, pictures, etc). Then create separate accounts on the server and hand them out to each individual computer. After, go to each document and specify who can access what with read/write. Can I share some files to everyone and have certain files limited to other computers at the same time? How would someone access the shared files when you need a login and will this login conflict with files shared to everyone and files shared to certain people. I remember on my small business network I need a login for certain computers because it is shared to only certain people then how would I access the files shared to everyone when I have to login to see the server files to begin with? Also, how do I manage backups with this setup? Thanks in advance.


Windows Forum Admin
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The questions you are asking have enormous answers, that many people train years professionally to answer and service.

What you are talking about is running a Windows domain network. This is best accomplished with some variation of Windows Server 2008 R2 at present time.

For the file sharing roles you are requesting, this requires an intimate understanding of Active Directory, Group Policy, and Security Roles. To this end you should familiarize yourself with implementing, managing, and maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server network infrastructure as well as managing and maintaining a Microsoft Windows Server environment.

These two core concepts form the basis for the administration of Windows Server-based networks large and small.

Windows Server 2008 and its variations can serve a number of roles, including the backup role. Typically, this requires network or removable storage with some redundancy in place, as well as a working knowledge of the fundamentals of managing Windows Backup.

From a Windows Server environment, you can basically control access to all user logins, file and folder permissions, deployment of updates and software, and backups. It is a centralized management solution. You can have file sharing configured in a multitude of ways using group policy objects and Active Directory policies. You can control the desktop of every system on the network with roaming profiles and group policy.

There is no way to explain, in full detail, what you are requesting in a single forum post. You should look into Windows Server 2008 administration and implementation. There are a large number of resources online that can provide information to you on these subjects:

Microsoft TechNET
CBT Nuggets
Microsoft Learning

The key concepts you need to understand:

Active Directory
Group Policy
Windows Domain Controller
NTFS and Folder Sharing
Windows Server Roles
Windows Kerberos

You do not necessarily have to have all of the files on the server, but if you are operating a file server, this is usually what such a device is used for. You should consider hiring a certified MCITP in Windows Server 2008 or an experienced MCSA to perform these tasks.

If you want to bypass the entire concept, and just want to have file sharing across multiple computers and accounts over a cloud-based service, look at Dropbox, Windows Live SkyDrive, Office Live Workspace, and Google Apps for Business.

You may also want to consider using a Document Management Solution (DMS) for file storage, archival, and collaborations. I.E. The paperless office solution.

It is very possible to learn how to admin a Windows server. What you need to do is start from the basics and work your way up in a test environment. If you want to convert a workgroup to a domain, you need to know the proper procedures to do it, especially if this is for a production environment like a small business. Training yourself and your employees to properly use and manage the server is one of the best ways to increase productivity and make using the system exciting and fresh in people's minds.

I honestly hope this helps.

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