I'm in the process of setting up a file server for about 6 people. Windows 7 isn't meant to be used as a server, but given the small amount of clients, I wonder what kind of obstacles could I face if I went this route. I'll consider other alternatives like an integrated NAS device, a Linux machine or a fully fledged Windows 2008 server, but for a number of reasons (mainly familiarity) I'm interested in getting to know reasons not choose this option.

So, what are the cons of using a Windows 7 pc as a file server for around 6 client pcs?

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    EVERYTHING. – HopelessN00b Mar 12 '13 at 20:55
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    Just go for something running FreeNAS or Nexentastor. It'll save you trouble in the long run. Also, Windows 7 has a limit of 10 concurrent connections to it's shares, so if one person has 4 documents open, that's instaly 4 slots used. No, it's not possible to get around. Yes, you should consider an alternative. – tombull89 Mar 12 '13 at 20:57
  • @tombull89: I thought it was 20 connections on W7, though that is likely the biggest issue in this scenario. – Smig Mar 12 '13 at 21:12
  • You would probably be better off looking at a Windows Home Server box, or Server Essentials if you want Windows. You get a light server that runs Windows. There are dozens of Linux solutions that will work though. – Zoredache Mar 12 '13 at 21:14

Lack of proper access control, no logging, possible concurrency problems (multiple simultaneous access), performance, and a few more besides. However to be fair thousands (if not millions) of SMEs and SOHO users around the world have been doing similar for years.

It depends how much control you want, how important performance is, how critical downtime is, how good your backups are (for corrupt files overwritten).

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    You can enable auditing on a Windows 7. You can setup per-user accounts and use full NTFS ACLs. – Zoredache Mar 12 '13 at 21:10
  • Auditing to record all file accesses? I did not know that (+1 Zoredache). Access control can indeed be per-user but separate from the user logged into the client unless you're using a domain in which case you have a PDC which can act as file server. – Dave Mar 12 '13 at 21:18

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