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Can I use a server for everyday activities like Web browsing?

I have a server on my desk as a computer technician handling a LAN. Can I use this server once in a while to play CDs, type documents using MS Word, or edit photos using Photoshop? Or are servers supposed to be only dedicated to servicing client (computers) and not to be used as an ordinary desktop computer? What possible problems may occur, if ever?

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While each network is unique in terms of its usage, I would recommend against using a server for everyday activities like Web browsing, email, or other applications. Limiting its use will reduce its exposure to viruses, malware, or configuration issues arising from simple human error. Since multiple users are dependent upon a LAN server being available for their use, great care should be taken to ensure that its availability is not compromised unnecessarily.

This was first published in September 2004

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