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I have two basic needs from a server.

1. File server. Store files and serve them up to workstations as needed. I do have one app that the workstations will run from the server rather than from a copy of the app on the workstations. Makes the nearly daily update process much easier.

2. Security. More correctly, security theater. All I want is password protection. I want users (all two of them - one of which is me) to have to log in to access files.

Wouldn't a NAS (Synology, QNAP etc.) work to fill this role more easily (assuming you are looking to replace hardware)? Essentially they are small Linux 'appliance' computers that are (mostly) specialized against the stated needs. They can also run additional apps for off-line back-up, media serving (Plex etc.) and other home-based uses (sometimes even home automation with apps like Home Assistant, openHAB via Docker running on the NAS). The better NASes also come with raid & often a error detecting & correcting file system.

Assuming you wish to utilize existing hardware, then something like FreeNAS / TrueNAS core would be able to repurpose your existing Windows box (and bring ZFS with it). These are Linux/Unix based, just specialized builds dedicated to file serving.
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