Can you use Windows XP as a network operating system in a client server network or do you need to purchase Windows 2000 server?
To my knowledge...there is no network server version of XP. The equivalent would be Server 2003. Neither Windows XP Home nor Windows XP Professional are designed to be used as a "server" in a client-server network. However, they can be easily set-up as a peer-to-peer network, and you are free to designate any or all of the workstations on a peer-to-peer network to function as a "file-server"... In other words: choose one of your nodes as the central location for storing files, data, drivers, installation programs, downloads, etc. and share those files with any or all of the remaining workstations. Many networkable programs will function just fine in this arrangement (MS Office, among others). What it lacks is the security features, logon restrictions, etc., etc., that a true client-server network offers. Be aware that Windows XP Home cannot login to a client-server environment (domain). You must have Windows XP Professional in order to be able to login to the server. So, the short answer to your question is: You NEED to purchase Windows Server 2000 or Windows Server 2003 (My recommendation is that you buy 2003... the licence is backward "compatible", so you can always install prior versions of Windows Server software, NT, 2K or whatever, (instead of 2003) if you wanted to, and still be within your licencing agreement.)