How to turn an old PC into a dedicated gaming server

Set up Windows 11/10 PC as a DLNA streaming server

At the moment, the Internet is filled with pieces of software that can quickly turn your computer into a DLNA streaming box, but we’re not going to dig into those because they are not needed. We are going to talk about using the built-in DLNA option in Windows 10.

It is not as easily done when compared to downloading software, but it is much more reliable, and one less software to download onto your device.

What is DLNA or Digital Living Network Alliance

Many computer users must have heard about DLNA at least once or twice, but probably have no idea what it is or what it means. We’re going to break it down as best as possible for the noobs out there looking for some information on what this thing is. DLNA means Digital Living Network Alliance, and it was founded by a group of companies that were interested in making it simple to share media content across devices. However, despite a number of companies and devices supporting DLNA, streaming media from one device to another is not an easy affair for laymen.

Video

Step 5: Port Forwarding and Static Hostnames

Still with me? You’re doing great. We’re nearly over the hump with this, with just a couple of steps to go before your old PC is fully converted into its new life.

Long story short, you need to specify the appropriate port forwarding options so visitors can ultimately reach your hosted files (like a website), rather than your network individually. Port forward is pretty straightforward – most web servers use port 80 by convention, and you can specify this within your router settings without difficulty.

Access ‘Applications’ or ‘Port Forwarding’ from your router’s control panel, and forward the TCP Port 80 to the static IP address we set up for our server back at the start of the process. You did write that down, didn’t you?

If you’re stuck, dig out your router’s operating manual – this will tell you how to access the router’s admin section, and should also be helpful in setting up the appropriate port forwarding.

At this stage, you might also want to set up a Static Hostname, in place of the dynamic IP you’ve most probably got on your home connection. DynDNS is a good option here, which you can use to firm up your connection, in place of running through your home router. Configure the IP address to match the static IP of your server, set the port number to 80, and you should be good to go.

You should now be completely set-up, and able to visit your website or files hosted on your new server.

 How to Install IIS on Windows newer Versions: 

Follow these steps to install IIS on Windows newer Versions.

  1. On the Start menu, click Settings and select Control Panel.  
  2. Double-click Add or Remove Programs.  
  3. Click Add / Remove Windows Components.  
  4. Click Internet Information Services (IIS).  
  5. Click Details 
  6. Select the check box for World Wide Web Service, and click OK.  
  7. In Windows Component selection, click Next to install IIS.  After you have installed IIS, make sure you install all patches for bugs and security problems.  (Run Windows Update).

Check this feature on Windows 10 to see if you can run a media server natively

  • First, head to the Control Panel.
  • Search media in the search box.
  • Next, select Network and Sharing Center. Then, head to Media streaming options.
  • Click Turn on media streaming.  
  • Next, select Media Streaming Options for Computers and Devices.
  • Click OK. This means you just applied the settings to your computer. Now, any device on your local network can access the media files in your computer’s media libraries.

However, this software may not be enough for you. Maybe you want to extend your homemade media server — or maybe your Mac or PC doesn’t have the pre-installed media server software capabilities, period. (This may be the case if your gadget is a lot older.) In that case, it’s time to look for some third-party media servers.

Setting up Ubuntu for SSH

Once your system is updated were going to need to get the local IP address to SSH into the system. You could do all this on the server machine, but using SSH will make it way easier to copy commands and easily move media files to your new server. First to find your IP run the following command.

Your IP address will be after after ‘inet’ and will likley be the first address that doesn’t end in a 0 or 1. For my machine the local IP address is 192.168.0.60, so that what I’ll be using for the rest of this article.

Once you have this done you’re going to want to make sure you have OpenSSH installed on your main computer. You can run “ssh” in the terminal to check. As a reminder this will only work on your local network. In order to connect to a machine outside of your home network you will want to set up port forwarding and add additional security to your systems.

Once you have OpenSSH installed you can SSH into you new server.

It will ask you for your password and once you are in it will look like a normal terminal instance, but it will be for the server as it display as [email protected] Once you are in we can setup plex.

Using FreeNAS:

Just as the name suggests, FreeNAS is free software that can convert you old PC into a server. Not only it is easy to install, but it is easy to configure and run as well. The process isn’t your stereotypical method of downloading and installing; rather, there are a few steps that set the entire process apart from installation of normal software. But it is still nothing too difficult or complex. Here’s a step by step guide:

  • Visit the website and download the latest version of FreeNAS into your PC. The current version is FreeNAS8 but the previous version FreeNAS 7 (also called NAS4Free) is still very popular.
  • Next, find a USB with a minimum of 2GB storage. This USB will become the bootable device for your PC to run this software from. The USB will then remain in the port where you have placed it for the rest of the time your server is active. You can also use a small SSD in case you are worried that someone might remove the USB (you do not want that to happen, ever!!!).
  • Burn the downloaded FreeNAS into the USB drive (in .iso format. X86 for 32-bit processor or x64 for 64-bit processor).
  • Now your bootable thumb drive is ready. Connect it to the ‘server to be’ and power it up. Press F12 to boot up the BIOS and select the option to have it booted from the optical drive.
  • The computer will restart and boot from the optical drive instead of the hard drive. The program will start executing itself and you will see FreeNAS’s FreeBSD-based Linux commands running through your screen.
  • Afterwards, a simple installation screen will appear with four options to choose from.
  • You will be selecting the first option of install or upgrade FreeNAS 8 (or the previous version if you have downloaded that). Press enter and you will arrive on the next screen.
  • There, you will be shown any storage media connected to your system. You will then select the flash/hard drive as the target for installing. This will create two partitions in the flash drive; one for the OS and the other for any future updates. Approving the installation means that all the previous data will be eradicated from the flash drive, so make sure you don’t have anything important that you would want to salvage.
  • Proceed with the installation by choosing the thumb drive, selecting yes and pressing the enter key.
  • A prompt will appear after the complete installation of FreeNAS. Press enter key and from the main menu, select the option to reboot your system.
  • Here, you will repeat the process where you choose which drive FreeNAS will boot from by default. You will specify that you want it to be booted from the thumb drive plugged in one of the USB ports of the system.
  • The software will take some time to load up and a screen will appear after that, showing all the networking options that can be set for FreeNAS. This is an indicator of your server being ready and running.
  • The whole point is to have it connected to the internet in order for it to be functioning as a server. So have your PC connected to the internet via Ethernet cable. You will receive an IP address to access the primary settings of FreeNAS. Type this IP address into the address bar of any browser of another device connected to the same network and press enter key.
  • You have now entered web-based configuration setting. Here, you would want to personalize your server by changing the name and password. On the left side, there should be a ‘My Account’ which you can click to expand. Change the user name and password from here and click ‘save changes’.
  • On the upper left corner of Web-based configuration screen of FreeNAS, there should be a Storage button. From there, you can set up storage volume. On the said screen, there should be a ‘Create Volume’ button. Assign a name to the volume and select the total number of drives you would want to use to create the said volume. Be sure to select ‘ZFS’ as the file system type since it delivers a number of benefits that Unix file system doesn’t.
  • At this point you will have the opportunity to decide upon the RAID type to use if you are combining multiple drives. When ready, click the Add Volume button.
  • If your storage is supposed to be a shared resource (whether it is a server for home or office), select the ‘Change Permission’ icon and grant write access to ‘Group’ and ‘Other Users’ while also selecting the ‘Set Permission Recursively’ option and click on the ‘Change’ button to save all the changes made.
  • You have now successfully created basic storage volume on your server. The next step is to set-up ‘Sharing Arrangement’ so the contents of your drive can be found by the users of your servers. If the users of your server use a variety of OS and machines (Linux, Windows, Mac, etc.) then CIFS shares are the best options for you. In the Web Configuration, click the ‘Sharing’ button and select ‘Add CIFS Share’. Assign a name to the share drive and select volume you want to give by clicking the ‘Browse’ button on the ‘Path’ line. Make sure to check the box next to ‘Allow Guest Access’ and click on OK afterwards.
  • Click on the ‘Service’ button which should be on the left side bar, go to ‘Control Service’ option and flip on the main panel’s CIFS setting.
  • To test whether the whole thing is up and running, type two backslashes (\\) and then the IP assigned to you by the FreeNAS into the Windows Explorer window and press the enter key. This should take you to the shared drive.

Congratulations for having set up your own FreeNAS powered server. You can now utilize this server in a variety of ways and have it set up according to one of the types of servers that we have talked about above.

How to activate DLNA in Windows 11/10

First of all, you need to open the “Control Panel” and search for “media streaming.” Do this by using the Search bar to search for Control Panel, then when you’re in the Control Panel, search for media streaming.

You should now see it under Network and Sharing Center. Once here, click on the option that says, “Media streaming options.”

After that, click “Turn on media streaming” to per

After that, click “Turn on media streaming” to permit the media streaming server. From here you can customize the streaming service.

We should point out that it is not possible for us

We should point out that it is not possible for us to help you with adding media for streaming because it would involve us knowing which DLNA capable media box you’re using.

What we can say, is this, make sure local network

What we can say, is this, make sure local network streaming is turned on your media streaming box. This can either be a PlayStation 3, Roku media box, an Xbox One, or some Chinese product “Straight Outta Shanghai.”

Now, once your media streaming box has been connected to your Windows 10 PC, you can check the available streaming files by launching Windows Media Player. Don’t think about using Groove Music, because it is as basic as they come.

All in all, streaming content over your local network is better than streaming from a third-party source. The only downside users might come across is if their upload speed is slow. However, if your upload speed is modern, go have some fun.

How do I use my PC as a DLNA server?

To use your PC as a DLNA server, you need to use the Media streaming options setting in Control Panel. It is the first thing you need to turn on. Following that, you can create a media library and choose what you want to upload or stream. You can stream music, pictures, recorded TV, video, etc., after creating a DLNA server on Windows 11/10.

How do I make my PC a media server?

To make your PC a media server, you need to take the help of the Media streaming options panel on your computer. This setting is available in Windows 11 as well as Windows 10. After turning on this setting, you need to create a library and upload your content. As mentioned earlier, you can upload images, videos, audio, recorded TV, etc., without any problem.

This post will help you if Media streaming is not working.

Tags

Tags