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Is it possible to set up Windows XP Pro as a server?

Is it possible to set up Windows XP Pro as a server? More specifically, could I configure it in such a way that would allow clients to log in to my system if they were using a VPN? If not, is there any software available that would allow this?
Windows XP Professional has two options for file sharing. "Simple File Sharing" is enabled by default on Windows XP Professional systems that are members of a workgroup (typically used in small networks) rather than a domain (typically used in large corporate networks.) This is an extremely low-security means of sharing resources, as there are no passwords or access restrictions and practically everything that's shared is accessible by everyone on the network. "Simple File Sharing" is the only type of sharing available in Windows XP Home Edition.

For a more secure approach, disable "Simple File Sharing" via "Start | My Computer | Tools | Folder Options | View." Scroll to the bottom of the list of advanced settings and un-check "Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended.)" Then create user accounts and groups through: "Computer Management | Local Users & Groups," and set the appropriate "share-" and "file-" level security on the files and folders you wish to share out.

Editor's Note: For more information, browse through our collection of Windows XP Best Web Links and Windows XP white papers.

This was first published in June 2002

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