Re: Home Server
If you have a license for Windows Home Server then of course go ahead and use it however I don't think Home Server 2012 will install on specs as low as a P4 with 512Mb RAM? so be sure to meet the minimum specs.
I would personally just run it as a server on whatever software it already has on it? XP, Vista, 7 or 8 will all run fine as a "server".
I'd strip out any pretty graphics stuff and remove anything you don't need but for a home server a standard OS will nearly always be up to the task.
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