Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

New 8.1 Network

  1. #1


    Posts : 4
    Windows 8.1

    New 8.1 Network


    I am setting up a new Small Biz network using all Win 8.1 machines. Starting out with 5 Workstations, could possibly grow to 10 - 15. Should I just use homegroup or buy Server 2k12? Thanks for any info and references.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Quote Originally Posted by John Edwards View Post
    I am setting up a new Small Biz network using all Win 8.1 machines. Starting out with 5 Workstations, could possibly grow to 10 - 15. Should I just use homegroup or buy Server 2k12? Thanks for any info and references.
    The Windows server does have the back up options which may come in handy although for a network this small there are other options for backing up each machines to a separate network drive. There is quite a learning curve on the server as well.

    The Homegroup would prevent anyone joining the network from accessing folders on any of those machines which is good for security. This would be much easier to admin compared to a server.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 4
    Windows 8.1


    I'm fairly good with AD and Client/Server but didn't think the business was large enough for it. I've never used Homegroup before, but have read up on it and sounds fairly easy. I'll still want to use one Server as a data repository. I'm assuming with Homegroup I can still give my Server a static IP and map drives to the 8.1 PC's... Will I need 8.1 PRO on the Server?
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  4. #4


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    Home group is just using a key to allow those who wish to join, can, to pull those libraries from others. In reality, if it is a business. Home Group & Work Group should be the last things allowed into that environment. To save some costs, you can use Linux as your Domain controller, along with storage.

    Clark Connect, or aka Clear OS is probably the best out of the box solution for this type of setup.

    It is also easier to control machines if they are all Pro editions, due to a machine just running Windows 8.1 home is going to give you issues, and will not be able to be used on a domain. Now for email, how do you plan on serving email between the machines, and what program do you plan on using?

    Also what networking hardware are you using for this setup, for the Router, Firewall, Managed Switch?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 4
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by broe23 View Post
    Home group is just using a key to allow those who wish to join, can, to pull those libraries from others. In reality, if it is a business. Home Group & Work Group should be the last things allowed into that environment. To save some costs, you can use Linux as your Domain controller, along with storage.

    Clark Connect, or aka Clear OS is probably the best out of the box solution for this type of setup.


    It is also easier to control machines if they are all Pro editions, due to a machine just running Windows 8.1 home is going to give you issues, and will not be able to be used on a domain. Now for email, how do you plan on serving email between the machines, and what program do you plan on using?

    Also what networking hardware are you using for this setup, for the Router, Firewall, Managed Switch?
    I'm just doing the Networking and Client machine setup. Somebody else is hosting the website and email so I'll just set the clients up with Outlook. For networking I'll have my PC with a static IP, a Router and unmanaged Switch. I would like to stay away from a domain and just let the ISP hand out IP's, DNS, DHCP, etc... It's just my inexperience with 8.1 that has me a little spooked. I haven't seen the workstations yet so I have no idea what version of 8.1 they're using. I'll buy Pro for the Server if need be.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by John Edwards View Post
    I'm fairly good with AD and Client/Server but didn't think the business was large enough for it. I've never used Homegroup before, but have read up on it and sounds fairly easy. I'll still want to use one Server as a data repository. I'm assuming with Homegroup I can still give my Server a static IP and map drives to the 8.1 PC's... Will I need 8.1 PRO on the Server?
    Yes you need the Pro version to set up a Homegroup but you can join with the core version, can't use the core version with a Windows server/Domain etc.

    You can also share any Library folder outside the Homegroup "local Workgroup" by adding the Everyone share to the folder via the Homegroup sharing options as is showing in the picture below.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails share with Everyone.PNG  
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 4
    Windows 8.1


    THank you very much. That clears up a lot.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Central IL
    Posts : 3,468
    Linux Mint 17.2


    You need to have Pro on all of the machines, in order to enforce policies. Using Linux for the Domain controller saves money, same as FreeNAS for the Network shares. The problem where business owners go wrong, is that they go cheap on the hardware & networking equipment.

    Then when something goes wrong, the person that helped to set everything up, gets blamed for the business owner not following what you tell them.

    I would say stick with 7 for workstations, or use a GPO to lock the 8.1 machines into Desktop mode. Use Chrome for the browser vs. IE or Firefox. Use a Domain & roaming profiles for the workers. As for backing up, use Clonezilla and store a copy of the server backups and worker profile information off site, not just one copy on the NAS or on the workstations.

    There is two ways to go with the router. One is to use a good hardware router, then a firewall and definitely use managed switches, not "dumb" switches. pfSense works great as the router & firewall, but personally I would rather just go with something you can setup with little ease.

    Also do not use Home group for sharing, make sure a policy is in place to disable that. Use standard Network sharing.

    The good thing about not going with Server 2k12, is that you would save on the licensing costs going with a Linux server project. Clear OS is one of the better ones out there. Very easy to setup and use. I have used it since back in the days when it was still called "Clark Connect".
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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