Using a Vista PC as a Server

By slange ·
I work for a small County (Assessor's Office) and my boss just bought a cheap Dell with Vista Home and expects me to set it up as a Server for local Realtors to access a simplified table of ownership records. What sort of permissions do I need to set in Vista to allow outside/internet access to the small website we have? The site was working fine on an older machine running Win Server 2003 and Apache. I've installed the latest version of Apache that is supposed to work with Vista but the index page doesn't load from any outside address, so I'm assuming Vista is blocking access. I usually make maps most of the time ...

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I'd be dumping vista

by Nimmo In reply to Using a Vista PC as a Ser ...

Vista isn't a server OS it is designed as a single user operating system. Vista home can't even join a domain (although with some tinkering it is possible but painful).

You are better off leaving in place the old system running server 2003.

That been said if you are really going to do this then you will need to setup things such as static IP addressing, port forwarding, modify any firewall software including vista's built in firewall.

Personal opinion is that this is a very bad idea, especially since you have a proper server OS already in place.

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Another drawback

by The Scummy One In reply to I'd be dumping vista

Vista Home will not allow many connections to it, even if it is setup to work. I think only 5 connections can be made to it on a shared item. Hosting a website from it will surely fail.

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Can't use the old system.

by slange In reply to I'd be dumping vista

... because it died. The new machine was only purchased to replace it because we had no choice. The County is suffering great financial hardships; our office staff has dropped from 9 to 6 over the last year due to budget cuts.

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At the very least you'll need to upgrade to Vista Business

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Using a Vista PC as a Ser ...

To have a fighting chance of getting things to work here and even then it's a very Bad Idea to attempt this.

Another thing is that if you do buy the Business License it carries a Backward Compatibility License so you could load 2003 onto this hardware and use it that way.

Another possibility is to install some form of Linux onto this unit and run with that.

Either Windows 2003 or one of the Linux Server Options is a much better option than Vista. But no matter what Home is just plain & simple Unsuitable!


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by slange In reply to At the very least you'll ...

I tried repartitioning the HD and installing 2003 Server, but ran into error messages with hardware drivers. Took 2003 off and restored the original partition setup. Is an XP downgrade a possibility? No one here has ever used Linux - how difficult is it to learn? Would there be driver issues with it? We also need to be able to use MS Access related to the website data. Off to check upgrade/downgrade prices. Wish we had a real IT department here.

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OK then stick with 2003.

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to Complications

As for the Driver issue you can make your Own Slipstreamed Install Disc by using nLite available here

Don't forget to read the Directions listed under Guides here

But all you need do is copy your original Install Disc to a computer then add copies of any Service Packs and Drivers and combine them into a Install Disc for the new computer and then install 2003 to it.

Should be fairly easy really though you may have to dig around for the drivers for your particular model. If the makers don't have 2003 Drivers try as a place to look.

With Vista installed you may need to wipe the HDD so use any wiping utility that you have or download Kill Disc from here and run that.


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You already have a Server 2003 license

by Kenone In reply to Using a Vista PC as a Ser ...

Make a list of all the drivers you'll need
Find them
Install server 2003 (**** Vista away)
Install the needed drivers
Install Apache

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