I am a programmer with zero sys admin skills. A friend of mine has a small business and he asked me to setup a computer network in his office with 10 windows 7 workstations.
He has 20 employees and each workstation can be used by different employees at different times. When a user logs in, no matter from which workstation, I want him to have access to a private area where he keeps his files, that no one else can change, in some cases not even view, and also a public area where everyone shares files. From searching I believe the technology I want to use is active directory? I have also seen a suggestion to use samba. Would you recommend that instead? I also want users to have their customized desktop shortcuts when they login. For server I must use a regular PC because he is not planning to buy a tower server yet. I know there are several other issues to deal with, even for a small network, but first I want to solve the problem of file access.