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I have a client who runs a small business with 4 desktop systems, two of which are inexpensive [

The XP Pro system is currently being used as a file "server" for time sheets and QuickBooks data. It also shares an HP ink jet printer. The client wishes to decommission this system because (1) it's ugly [it is] and (2) it uses too much power [it does].

If we share a folder on one of the Windows 7 Home Premium systems will there be a problem connecting to it with up to 3 other computers?

What about the printer sharing?

I vaguely remember seeing that Windows 7 is less usable for "server" purposes and has severe restrictions on the number of clients. But I cannot seem to find those numbers.

In my own network (over 12 systems) we have no problem sharing from Windows 7 Ultimate to a few other systems where needed.

I am embarrassed that I cannot seem to find the answer to this in a couple of days of searching.

I can do an anytime upgrade of one of these systems to Pro if that would improve the ability to share from it. I am not able to convince the client to put a "real server" into their network.

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migrated from serverfault.com Jan 9 '11 at 17:52

This question came from our site for professional system and network administrators.

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No sooner posted than found that it appears to be TWENTY - Start -> winver -> Microsoft License Terms contains: e. Device Connections. You may allow up to 20 other devices to access software installed on the licensed computer to use only File Services, Print Services, Internet Information Services and Internet Connection Sharing and Telephony Services. –  lcbrevard Jan 9 '11 at 16:25
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@Icebrevard It is perfectly acceptable to post that comment as a question and click 'accepted'. You won't get rep, but the question gets marked as 'answered' in the overall system. –  SysAdmin1138 Jan 9 '11 at 17:36
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You mean Comment as an Answer... –  Moab Jan 9 '11 at 19:58

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Open an elevated command prompt in Windows 7, type in:

net config server

This shows you the actual limitations:

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]
Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.

C:\Windows\system32>net config server
Server Name                           \\***
Server Comment

Software version                      Windows 7 Home Premium
Server is active on
        NetbiosSmb ****
        NetBT_Tcpip_*************


Server hidden                         No

Maximum Logged On Users               20

Maximum open files per session        16384
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Copied from my comment above: From the EULA, it's TWENTY

Start -> winver -> Microsoft License Terms contains:

e. Device Connections. You may allow up to 20 other devices to access software installed on the licensed computer to use only File Services, Print Services, Internet Information Services and Internet Connection Sharing and Telephony Services.

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The other thing to consider is that 20 "connections" does not mean 20 PCs. One computer may open multiple connections to retrieve a simple file. In addition, XP (not sure Pro even has any advantages over Home in this regard) isn't as robust in its ability to detect and sever hung connections as...say... a server platform.

It's entirely possible that your client may experience errors having to do with "too many connections" without having 20 PC's connected to it. If they're ok rebooting the "server" when that happens, no harm so long as they know ahead of time, right?

(unsolicited opinion section) I can't blame them for not wanting to put an MS Server in if it's not needed - but I'd proably try to go for a networked printer and standalone NAS (something like a Terastation, but I know there are lots of recommendations on SU for cheaper options, too) instead.

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Well... it seems to have been working with a 10 connection limit before so I am not too worried at this point. This client still doesn't quite understand what file sharing means - she seems to thing that "we networked, right?" means that anyone can run anything anywhere. With VNC on each system that is actually almost true but I can't even begin to think about trying to explain what THAT means! :-) –  lcbrevard Jan 9 '11 at 18:47
    
-1, actually it is 20 logged on users. –  Moab Jan 9 '11 at 20:11
    
haha, Moab - yes, MS documentation is always complete and accurate... ;) Just sharing some experience from the field, as opposed to what should be the case. –  Kara Marfia Jan 11 '11 at 2:18

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