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Server solution to run OS and File Storage

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I'm looking at turning an old PC in to a server. (I can't use my main PC for this as it can't and isn't kept switched on at all times currently)


There are two things I want it to do:

  1. Run Home Assistant (for Home Automation)
  2. Have a drive/s for file storage over ftp.


Since it's an old PC, I'm not sure if Windows and running virtual machines on there would be ideal?

PC Specs:

  • Motherboard: ASUS P5KPL-AM
  • CPU: Intel® Pentium® Processor E5200
  • RAM: 4GB DDR2-800
  • 240GB SSD (Main drive) + 500GB HDD


I'll have two drives to start with. I'd like to allocate the first drive for the OS and possibly for Home Assistant and use all additional drives for file storage. 


I'm a Windows user so I'm not entirely sure what I can do. What would be the ideal solution for this?



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Posted (edited)

Edit: I see that you also updated with your machine specs.

With those specs, I highly doubt you will want to run anything heavy (i.e. a GUI), and you will have to get comfortable with a Linux command line. Virtualisation is out of the question since the specs are a bit too low. Containerisation I would say is still possible (e.g. Docker). For the two things that you want to do, I will also say that you may not be able to do anything much more than the two you have stated. Maybe a small web server is still possible, but I won't count on it.


If you want a virtualisation server, try Proxmox (free, open source) or VMware ESXi (1 server, free).


If you are comfortable with a server OS (i.e. command line), try Ubuntu server.


If you prefer a desktop, e.g. desktop OS also shares a NAS, while hosting other applications, try Ubuntu Desktop or any of its lightweight derivatives (with minimal installation, strips most of the bloatware). You might have a better experience because your system resources will be used on the applications instead of trying to run Windows smoothly.


Ubuntu tutorials are quite easy to find, just need to keep in mind some changes that occurred between Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 (hint: following an Ubuntu 18.04 or newer tutorial should be safe if you download the latest Ubuntu LTS release).

Edited by GlasierXplor
take specs into account

Laptop: HP Envy ad-117tx, CPU: i7-8550U, RAM: 16GB, GPU: Nvidia MX150, SSD: Adata XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB, OS: elementaryOS 5.1, Keys: Logitech MX Keys, Mouse: Logitech MX Anywhere 2S, Disp: Lenovo ThinkVision M14, Gamepads: DualShock 4, 8bitdo SN30 Pro, Hyperkin Cadet

~ Tetris (NES) ~ Tetris Effect (PC) ~ Puyo Puyo Tetris ~ Tetris (Android) ~ Crypt of the NecroDancer ~ Roller Coaster Tycoon ~

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