Originally Posted by esa193
shit thats a big prob.......
there got to be some sort of univerial server out there that works with most os
there are computers in my school that run windows 98 and they can log on n/p
This universal software is Novell, but it's not something you commonly see anymore, as well as I wouldn't recommend running it due to the learning curve. With a few security changes, windows 98 computers can login to an NT based domain.
You do not need a .com address, you are simply setting up an INTERNAL non internet domain.
Operating system wise, I'd recommend Server 2003 Standard (If your actually going legal, server 2003 small business is cheaper and will work fairly well too). The difference between Server 2003 Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter is the number of CPU's that the system is allowed, and the amount of ram. Server 2003 Standard is fine, due to the fact I doubt anyone's going to invest in anything with more than 2 processors. Server 2000 will also work, as would Server 2008 (However it's beta)
Setup is fairly simple, you install windows, setup DNS and DCHP on your server, than promote it to an active directory controller. You than create a share for home directory's and assign appropriate permissions, than create users. Than of course you join your computers to the domain, fairly simple.
If anyone has any other questions, shoot.
Also, Server 2003 Small Business has a very nice wizard for all of this, which makes setup very simple. However I don't like their approach to security as well in the Small Business edition, however I wouldn't care too much about that at home.
EDIT: You could also setup a linux server to function as a domain controller, but don't expect any help from me
Linux in an active directory environment is one thing I tried to conquer, and failed miserably.