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There is a machine running a Windows Vista Ultimate running in a workgroup (we refer to it as the 'server'). It has one folder shared (with hundreds of sub folders at different levels) and thousands of Word files.

Typically, multiple people access this server (through the intranet) via their individual PCs just connecting to it via the same login credentials (a user created and part of the 'Users' group on this server).

The problem everyone is facing is that when opening up a file directly on the server via Word and then in-between saving it - the file does not actually get saved. Either it remains at the version before people started modifying it, or if they saved it multiple times while working on it - it remains at a 'previous' version other than the last / final one.

Folks connect to this machine via the IP address - \192.168.x.y\files

Connections are over WiFi.

What is a better way of providing access to all these files to these people? We do want them to 'work on the server' rather than copy it on their local PCs and copy it back. This way (the current way) prevents two people from overwriting each other's files.

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2 Answers 2

You could deploy a simple network drive that uses simple security. Most vendors have these and you can also buy enclosures that let you use your own drives. There are wireless versions but most use Gbit Ethernet which, as noted by @ramhound, is a much better solution.

A Western Digital MyBook Live one simple example, but there are many out there. Also, many that support some sort of RAID (RAID 1 or 5, for example) that will give you some protection against a single drive failure. Not a substitute for backups!

Using a server OS is also a good idea, but may ramp up the cost.

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Thanks Dave for the interesting idea - is there some software which I can use which will enable the existing server machine to serve as a similar 'network drive'? –  Steve Sep 21 '12 at 1:32
    
Any reason for a downvote? Please help me improve my answer. –  Dave M Mar 10 '13 at 19:14

What is a better way of providing access to all these files to these people?

Use an operating system design for this purpose like Windows Server 2012.

We do want them to 'work on the server' rather than copy it on their local PCs and copy it back. This way (the current way) prevents two people from overwriting each other's files.

The newer versions of Word indicate when somebody else is editing a Word file. Since you are using a 6 year old non-server operating system my guess your not uisng a recent version of Office either.

I also suggest not connecting to the server over a bloody WiFI connection.

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Thanks Ramhound. (a) is there a way we can continue using the Vista OS? Would using different username-logins for each person help the situation? It's not clear to me why the problem is happening - so I dont want to rush into upgrading the OS without knowing for sure it would solve the problem. (b) what's wrong with a wifi connection - are you suggesting we go back to using ethernet wires just because we want to share files off a server? –  Steve Sep 21 '12 at 1:30

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