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Help/ Advice/ Suggestions please:

I have a load of kit that I love but which currently operate in disconnected, sometimes counter-productive way.

Because I never really had a masterplan I just added these things one after another and connected them up in ad hoc ways. Since I bought my Macbook I've found I spend much less time on the MacPro that was until then my main machine. Perversely, as my job involves writing .Net software, I spend a lot of Mac time actually inside a Windows 7 VM.

I stream media from the HP box to the PS3 and thus to the TV, but its not without its limitations/annoyances. We listen to each other's iTunes libraries but the music files are all over the place and it would be good to know they were all safely in one location (and fully backed up).

I need to come up with a strategy that will allow me to use all the kit for work, play (recording live music, making tunes, iMovie work), pushing/streaming media to the TV and sharing files with my other half (she uses a Windows laptop and her iPod touch). Ideally I'd like to be able to work on any of the machines and have a shared homedrive that was visible to all machines so all my current files were synced up wherever i was. It would be great if I could access everything securely and quickly over the web. I'd also like to be able to set up a background backup process.

The kit list thus far:

  • Apple MacPro 8GB/3x250GB RAID0 + 1TB
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13" 8GB/250GB - I spend a lot of my work time on a Windows 7 VM on this.
  • Crappy Acer laptop (for children's use - iPlayer, watching movies/tv files)
  • HP Proliant Server 4GB/80GB+160GB+300GB
  • Sun Ultra 10 2 x 80GB (old, but in top-notch condition)
  • PS3
  • 160GB iPod Classic
  • 2 x 8GB iPod Touch


  • Part of the problem is our dual use of Windows and OS X - we can't go for a pure NT style roaming profile.
  • Because the server is also used for hosting test/beta applications and a SQL Server db, it can't be dedicated to file serving.
  • The two Macs really could do with sharing a roaming profile or similar.
  • I'd love to be able to do something useful with the Ultra 10. My other half has been trying to throw it away for over five years now and regularly ask what function it serves in my study :-(
  • I've got no shortage of 500GB external USB hard drives
  • iMovie files are very large and ideally would be processed on a RAID system.
  • Apple's TimeMachine isn't so great.

If anyone could suggest all or part of a setup that would fulfil some of my requirements I'd be very grateful. I am willing to consider purchasing one or two more bits of kit (an Apple TV and a Squeezebox have been moted by friends) if they will help make efficiencies rather than add to the chaos and confusion.

Thanks for looking.

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A Windows Home server is what you need. It's super easy to use and uses a WebUI to configure everything. In fact, when you first get it, you just plug a network cord into it and insert a dvd into your client computer to configure it. Probably the best investment I've ever made.

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