My Super User question is getting zero attention. Nary an answer, let alone a comment. So, perhaps I should look for an app, rather than an o/s based solution.

I had a home setup - one desktop PC used as file server, 2 laptops. The laptops should be able to read/write the desktop's NTFS drives, but not each other's; nor should the server have access to the laptops.

Until now, I have gotten by with a Windows workgroup, but that no longer works since upgrading to Windows 10. I have spent a month trying to get it to work and have no further interest in pursuing that avenue.

I am looking for a well tested, simple to set up solution to allow sharing as stated above. I have a strong preference for no form of logins/passwords being necessary.

Can anyone suggest a free app? I don't mind some initial configuration hassle, so long as it is well documented and then set & forget.

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    "Linux solutions welcome" … "with Windows 10"? So what should run on which end? If the server shall run Linux, there's no need for the drives using NTFS. Could you please clarify? :) – Izzy Jan 12 '16 at 20:21
  • Tl;dr - Windows laptops as clients, but Linux is ok for the server </tl;dr>. The laptops will stay Windows 10 (sorry, sorry, sorry. I need some Windows tools for coding, but run lot of Linux on a VM when I can (better developer tools, imo). Ok, I confess - there's one Windows game that I can't get to run in a VM :-) Anyway, Windows clients, Linux is ok for the server, but I would prefer to leave the drives as NTFS as I might sometimes have to pull them and attach them directly to a Widows machine (and might not always have Windows tools which can manipulate EXTFS4). (So,maybe Ubuntu & Samba?) – Mawg says reinstate Monica Jan 12 '16 at 20:26
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    Linux+Samba would work, I'd say (though it has a workgroup defined then). But I can't speak for the Windows end, which in theory shouldn't be an issue. Try with a spare machine (or VM). Another possibility might be NFS, if you find a suitable and acceptable client for your Windows machines. – Izzy Jan 12 '16 at 21:13

I recommend you to use prepared fileserver solution based on linux, look on the TurnKey Fileserver (https://www.turnkeylinux.org/fileserver) where you will have some trouble to add an Network Card into a new machine installed from ISO. Therefore you will need to understand linux a bit. My fileserver is running already few years without attention. Linux updates are provided automatically. Sharing drives over the network is possible in minutes after, everything is managed via a web console - you can open a Samba share totally open for everyone - or lock some area and configure some users/passwords.

Or you can setup your own NAS (http://www.freenas.org/). This is close to a comercial solution for sharing a drive space.

For both you will need suitable hardware. I recommend to enable some RAID 0/1/5/10 features, better Hardware raid than software raid, but the decision is up to you. Try not to mix space for the system with space for the data, as you will come easily and fast to the point of upgrade (more space is always a good thing) without the need of reinstalling whole Operation system, or you can reinstall the system without need of backup all the data.

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If you're willing to go down the linux server root (which you've indicated you would be) then you can't really go too far wrong if you use samba to share.

I've got a Debian server at home which has a share on it and is easily discoverable by any device in the house. I have a laptop with Ubuntu/Windows 10 dual boot - both find the file server. The Android phones find it for sharing content that way, and an old windows vista laptop (which refuses to die or be upgraded) connects to it.

There's loads of guides out and about on how to set it up, and it's a standard form of file server. Here's Microsoft's page on the Microsoft SMB Protocol which they say CIFS (used in samba I believe) is a dialect of.

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