K5 Computer Lab Lesson Plans

Free File Server or NAS Storage for Computer Labs

Free file server - Network Attached Storage for your Mac or Windows Computer Lab

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A file server or network attached storage server can take student learning to the next level in the computer lab. It can be the catalyst that changes the number and quality of project based lessons.

The reason is simple, students can store their files on the fileserver in their own private folders and come back to them each class session.

The teacher can also easily deliver or collect student work that is centrally stored on a fileserver.

Accidently deleted files can be readily restored from the server's automatic nightly backups.




This free file server / network attached storage server allows you to create as many users as you need and it automatically assigns them individual home folders. Students can access their folder from any computer in the lab using a desktop shortcut or a bookmark. Users click the shortcut and enter their user name and password to access their files.

In addition to the student folders there are two additional shared folders for you and your students. There is a "storage" folder that can be used like a dropbox to distribute or collect student files. There is also a "CD" folder for sharing a CD you put in the server's CD ROM. You can create as many additional shared folders as needed to extend the fileserver's use as a network attached storage (NAS) device.



File Server / NAS storage device in the computer lab overview:

Students  computers are connected to the fileserver where they store their documents in their own password protected home folders.


What you need:

Turnkey Fileserver CD.( Free download)

A spare computer for fileserver use.

A second computer / laptop to configure the server remotely.

An external USB hard drive for backups.


There are 4 Main Steps:

  1. Install the Turnkey File Server software on a computer you have chosen to be the file server.

  2. Configure your file server using a web browser on a second computer.

  3. Assign users, passwords and test access to the file server.

  4. Configure automatic backups of your student's data.

Estimated completion time: 1-2 hours




Step 1. Install the Turnkey File Server Software

Download and install the latest Turnkey File Server release on a spare computer.. A computer with a Pentium 4 processor or better, 512MB ram and 40GB drive or more will suffice. I reccomend that you use a new hard drive for your server. This computer needs internet access. If you are going to buy a new server, purchase one with two hard drives with support for RAID 1. RAID 1 sets up 2 drives in a mirrored configuration for data redundancy. In the event of a single disk failure, the other disk continues running with the data intact.

TheTurnkey File Server download is an .iso file that needs to be burned to a CD. You can burn it with Img Burn, a free program.

Insert the CD, restart the computer and watch the screen for a message that says "Press any key to boot from CD". Press a key.

If you don't see that message, change the boot order to boot from the CD first in BIOS.


boot to CD in BIOS



1. Choose Install to hard disk when the CD boots up.

.Turnkey Lab file server



2. Choose Guided - use the entire disk.

computer lab file server choose guided



3. Choose Yes, to write the changes to the disk.

.install file server for lab



4. Enter the password for the Root user.

add your fileserver password



5.Restart the computer after the intstallation finishes.

Turnkey Fileserver install



6. These are the temporary IP addresses. These addresses can be used for server administration. However, these should be changed to a more permanent static IP Address. See step 8.

Turnkey fileserver install - Add IP address



7. Click the Advanced Menu at the bottom and then Select Networking.

Add Ip address



8. The main IP address should be set to a static IP address.The server automatically has gotten the necessary IP addresses via DHCP during setup for the network card interface eth0. DHCP addresses are temporary and the main IP Address should be set to static.

Turnkey Fileserver for computer lab set IP address



9. Set the IP Address to use a static IP Address. You may need to check with your network admin to determine which static addresses are available for your use on this server. Make a note of the main IP Address, you will need it later for server configuration. If you cannot find your static IP information, you can ignore this screen for now and use the temporary IP addresses you noted in step 6. However, in order to maintain reliable access to the server for clients, it is recommended that you give this server a fixed or "static" IP address.

Set static IP for Turnkey Fileserver



10. Quit the configuration console. The initial installation is complete.


Next >> Configure your file server - NAS storage device

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