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lewist57

New Around Here
I have been through two inexpensive (aka cheap) Linux based NAS home network drives, and am contemplating building my own dedicated network "server" using a mini ITX motherboard and a 500G drive. The backup software doesn't like FAT32 drives and Linux, so I'd rather build my own. I plan to load XP32 as the operating system, and leave it without mouse, keyboard or monitor. It will serve two basic functions, central backup of other computers on network and temporary transfer of files between computers. I have a copy of Windows Server 2003, but would rather stick with XP for this rather simplistic project.

However, it does bring up a few questions for the network gurus here (who have helped tremendously in the past):

1) Is there a simple way to get the PC to power itself down into a hibernation state, and then "wake up" at set times and days? For example, it does not need to be available except from 6 PM to 10 PM M - F, and 8 AM until 10 PM Saturday and Sunday.
2) Is there a simple way to implement the "Wake on LAN" function such that if another PC on the network is trying to access the central unit, it will wake up from hibernation? The NIC has a wake on LAN function, and it is looking for a "magic packet" to tell it to wake up, so how do I send it a magic packet?
3) Last but not least, are there programs or routines out there that I can monitor status of central unit from another PC on the network, and perform house keeping on the central disk (cleanup, defrag, antivirus scan) without plugging the keyboard, mouse and monitor each week?

I apologize for the simplistic questions, I am sure this is old hat to someone on these forums. Any input appreciated.
 
Last edited:
Here's my thoughts:

1. Powering Up/Down - Getting your PC to power down on command is really simple - there's tons of freeware apps to do this but I always just use a trusty .bat script - something like 'shutdown -f -t 01' - and then just set it as a scheduled task. Powering up is a different story, because obviously there's no software to do this since the PC is off. There's a couple ways around this though. First, Most BIOS's have power-on/wake-up settings in them. Also, since we're talking about magic-packet and WOL, you could simply have another PC send a magic packet via. WOL as a scheduled task.

2. Good question, I dont think you can do WOL via. activity requests. Some routers like pfsense can do a little more with WOL but I've never seen something to tie it to an activity request. Dont think this is possible.

3. Lots of ways you can monitor the status of a box remotely. There's a couple free monitoring tools out there like Nagios, but those are probably overkill. You'd probably be best to just schedule things like defrags and AV scans, and RDP in once in a while and give the server a look-over. You can also easily open the event viewer of remote XP machines. You can also remotely view WMI information as well. Depends on how through you want to get.
 
Thanks, with the input of a knowledgable friend we are in agreement on items 1 and 3 (although he says in XP you can schedule the machine to wake itself up, but we'll see).

Item 2, wake on LAN, is more of a convenience item. My wife is less than computer savy, and I'd like to have the software to automatically wake up the central unit if she wanted to access it while it was in hibernation (and I was not around).

The overall objective is to create a machine with minimal energy usage, while still being fully available either by schedule or by "waking" from another PC.
 
Hi,

I had a similar problem and wrote a couple of VB programs which had the following effect.

When a workstation ( WS ) PC started up it caused the Server ( an XP PC ) to be woken up using Wake on Lan ( WOL ). Whilst the/any WS were running the server continued to run.

When no WSs were running the Server shut down.

I wrote the applcations as Console apps. Although it is not of commercial quality at the moment the "Suite" of software certainly works quite well.

If you would like a copy to try then let me know.

Unfortunately I have recently migrated my system and the source codes have got lost in the move, so I will have to start all over again. Doh!!

Bob Bridges
 
Sorry I will be keeping the source to myself!! But you are welcome to try out the programs.

It took a while to get things working satisfactorily but now it's great. Just keep the app minimised otherwise it does not look very pretty!

If a workstatiion starts, then the server starts up. When all the workstations closed down, the server closes down.

Now when my wife has finished using her PC at least the server is not left on!!
 
I have been through two inexpensive (aka cheap) Linux based NAS home network drives, and am contemplating building my own dedicated network "server" using a mini ITX motherboard and a 500G drive. The backup software doesn't like FAT32 drives and Linux, so I'd rather build my own. I plan to load XP32 as the operating system, and leave it without mouse, keyboard or monitor. It will serve two basic functions, central backup of other computers on network and temporary transfer of files between computers. I have a copy of Windows Server 2003, but would rather stick with XP for this rather simplistic project.

However, it does bring up a few questions for the network gurus here (who have helped tremendously in the past):

1) Is there a simple way to get the PC to power itself down into a hibernation state, and then "wake up" at set times and days? For example, it does not need to be available except from 6 PM to 10 PM M - F, and 8 AM until 10 PM Saturday and Sunday.
2) Is there a simple way to implement the "Wake on LAN" function such that if another PC on the network is trying to access the central unit, it will wake up from hibernation? The NIC has a wake on LAN function, and it is looking for a "magic packet" to tell it to wake up, so how do I send it a magic packet?
3) Last but not least, are there programs or routines out there that I can monitor status of central unit from another PC on the network, and perform house keeping on the central disk (cleanup, defrag, antivirus scan) without plugging the keyboard, mouse and monitor each week?

I apologize for the simplistic questions, I am sure this is old hat to someone on these forums. Any input appreciated.

I currently just use the standby feature of Win XP on my file/print server at home. I have it set to go into standby if there is no activity for 15 min. The network card has the option for WOL and it is set to match a pattern. I believe this just refers to any network traffic that is sent to the network card. Most of my computers that connect to the server have a network drive mapped. When the server is in standby and I try to connect from another computer it wakes up and after about 20 sec I have access to the mapped drive. Almost forgot... along with the WOL setting in the driver you also need to set the Power Management tab to "allow this device to bring the computer out of standby."

For managing the server I just use remote desktop. I think this is only available on Win XP Pro though.

If you really needed to you might be able to setup a wake up schedule in the bios. From what I recall most bios have an alarm option. It would probably not allow a specific day just the time of day.

00Roush
 
That's fine with me, a working EXE beats debugging VB any day. How can I get them from you? Thanks.

I have sent you a Private Message (pm). If you let me know your email address in a pm I will email it to you.

Regards
Bob
 
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