When you plan shared folders, you can reduce administrative overhead and ease user access by organizing resources that will be shared and putting them into folders according to common access requirements. You can also determine which resources you want shared, organize resources according to function and use, and decide how you will administer the resources.
Shared folders can contain applications and data. Use shared application folders to centralize administration and provide a central location for users to store and access common files. If all data files are centralized in one shared folder, users can find them easily. You will be able to back up data folders more easily if they are centralized, and you will be able to upgrade application software more easily if applications are centralized.
You can share resources with others by sharing folders containing those resources. To share a folder, you must be a member of one of several groups, depending on the role of the computer where the shared folder resides. When you share a folder, you can control access to the folder by limiting the number of users who can simultaneously gain access to it, and you can also control access to the folder and its contents by assigning permissions to selected users and groups. Once you have shared a folder, users must connect to the shared folder and must have the appropriate permissions to access it. After you have shared a folder, you might want to modify it. You can stop sharing it, change its share name, and change user and group permissions to gain access to it.
Shared application folders are used for applications that are installed on a network server and can be used from client computers. The main advantage of shared applications is that you don't need to install and maintain most components of the applications on each computer. Although program files for applications can be stored on a server, configuration information for most network applications is often stored on each client computer. The exact way in which you share application folders will vary depending on the application and your particular network environment and company organization.
When you share application folders, consider the following points:
Users on a network use data folders to exchange public and working data. Working data folders are used by members of a team who need access to shared files. Public data folders are used by larger groups of users who all need access to common data.
Create and share common data folders on a separate volume from the operating system and applications. Data files should be backed up frequently, and keeping data folders on a separate volume makes this convenient. If the operating system requires reinstallation, the volume containing the data folder remains intact.
When you share a common public data folder, do the following:
Figure 9.3 Public data and working data shared folders
When you share a working data folder, do the following:
For an example, see Figure 9.3. To protect data in the Accountants folder, which is a subfolder of the Data folder, share the Accountants folder and assign the Change permission to the Accountants group so that only members of that group can access the Accountants folder.
In Windows XP Professional, members of the built-in Administrators and Power Users groups are able to share folders. Which groups can share folders and on which machines they can share them depends on whether it is a workgroup or a domain and the type of computer on which the shared folders reside, as follows:
If the folder to be shared resides on an NTFS volume, users must also have at least the Read permission for that folder to be able to share it.
Windows XP Professional automatically shares folders for administrative purposes. These shares are marked with a dollar sign ($), which hides them from users who browse the computer. The root of each volume, the system root folder, and the location of the printer drivers are hidden shared folders that you can access across the network.
Table 9.3 describes the purpose of the administrative shared folders that Windows XP Professional automatically provides.
Table 9.3 Windows XP Professional Administrative Shared Folders
C$, D$, E$, and so on
The root of each volume on a hard disk is automatically shared,and the share name is the drive letter with a dollar sign ($). Whenyou connect to this folder, you have access to the entire volume. You use the administrative shares to remotely connect to the computer to perform administrative tasks. Windows XPProfessional assigns the Full Control permission to the Administrators group.
The system root folder, which is C:\Windows by default, is sharedas Admin$. Administrators can access this shared folder toadminister Windows XP Professional without knowing in which folder it is installed. Only members of the Administrators group have access to this share. Windows XP Professional assigns the Full Control permission to the Administrators group.
When you install the first shared printer, the %systemroot% \System32\Spool\Drivers folder is shared as Print$. This folder provides access to printer driver files for clients. Only members of the Administrators and Power Users groups have the Full Control permission. The Everyone group has the Read permission.
Hidden shared folders aren't limited to those that the system automatically creates. You can share additional folders and add a dollar sign to the end of the share name. Only users who know the folder name can access it if they also possess the proper permissions.
When you share a folder, you can give it a share name, provide comments to describe the folder and its content, control the number of users who have access to the folder, assign permissions, and share the same folder multiple times.
You can share a folder as follows:
Figure 9.4 The Sharing tab of a folder's Properties dialog box
Table 9.4 Sharing Tab Options
The name that users from remote locations use to connect to the shared folder. You must enter a share name. By default this is the same name as the folder. You can type in a different name up to 80 characters long.
An optional description for the share name. The comment appearsin addition to the share name when users at client computers browse the server for shared folders. This comment can be used to identify contents of the shared folder.
The number of users who can concurrently connect to the shared folder. If you click Maximum Allowed as the user limit, Windows XP Professional supports up to 10 connections. Windows 2000 Server can support an unlimited number of connections, but the number of client access licenses (CALs) that you purchase limits the connections.
The shared folder permissions that apply only when the folder is accessed over the network. By default, the Everyone group is assigned Full Control for all new shared folders.
The settings to configure offline access to this shared folder.
The settings to configure more than one share name and set of permissions for this folder. This option appears only when the folder has already been shared.
After you share a folder, the next step is to specify which users have access to the shared folder by assigning shared folder permissions to selected user accounts and groups. You can assign permissions to user accounts and groups for a shared folder as follows:
If you want to enter more than one user account or group at a time, separate the names by a semicolon. If you want to ensure the names are correct, click Check Names.
Figure 9.5 The Select Users Or Groups dialog box
To make shared folders available offline, copies of the files are stored in a reserved portion of disk space on your computer called a cache. Because the cache is on your hard disk, the computer can access it regardless of whether it is connected to the network. By default, the cache size is set to 10 percent of the available disk space. You can change the size of the cache in the Folder Options dialog box using the Offline Files tab. You can also see how much space the cache is using by opening the Offline Files folder and clicking Properties on the File menu.
For more information about the cache, including how to change the cache size, see Chapter 15, "Monitoring, Managing, and Maintaining Network Resources."
When you share a folder, you can allow others to make the shared folder available offline by clicking Caching in the folder's Properties dialog box. In the Caching Settings dialog box (see Figure 9.6), use the Allow Caching Of Files In This Shared Folder check box to turn caching on and off.
Figure 9.6 The Caching Settings dialog box
The Caching Settings dialog box contains three caching options:
You might want to set different permissions on a shared folder. You can create multiple share names for the same folder and assign each a different one. To share a folder with multiple share names, click New Share in the folder's Properties dialog box. In the New Share dialog box (see Figure 9.7) you can assign a new share name, limit the number of connections to the share, and click Permissions to set the permissions for the shared folder.
Figure 9.7 The New Share dialog box
You can modify shared folders, stop sharing a folder, modify the share name, and modify shared folder permissions.
You can modify a shared folder as follows:
Table 9.5 Steps to Modify a Shared Folder
Stop sharing a folder
Click Do Not Share This Folder.
Modify the share name
Click Do Not Share This Folder to stop sharing the folder and click Apply. Then click Share This Folder and type the new sharename in the Share Name text box.
Modify shared folder permissions
Click Permissions. In the Permissions dialog box, click Add to add a user account or group so that you can specify permissions for a specific user or group, or click Remove to remove a user account or group. In the Select Users, Computers, Or Groups dialog box, click the user account or group whose permissions you want to modify and then select Allow or Deny for the appropriate permissions.
If you stop sharing a folder while a user has a file open, the user might lose data. If you click Do Not Share This Folder and a user has a connection to the shared folder, Windows XP Professional displays a dialog box notifying you of that fact.
You can access a shared folder on another computer by using My Network Places, My Computer, the Add Network Place Wizard, or the Run command.
To connect to a shared folder using My Network Places, do the following:
When you start using My Network Places, Windows XP Professional adds it to your Start menu. If My Network Places is listed on your Start menu, click it and go to step 4.
If the share you want to connect to is listed, when you double-click it, you are connected. If the share you want to connect to is not listed, go to step 5.
The Welcome To The Add Network Place Wizard page is displayed.
Figure 9.8 The What Is The Address Of This Network Place page
You can also use the Other Locations On Your Network page to make a network connection shortcut to a Web share (http://Webserver\share) or a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site (ftp://ftp.microsoft.com).
To connect to a shared folder using My Computer, you can do the following:
Windows XP Professional displays the Map Network Drive dialog box (Figure 9.9), which allows you to assign a drive letter to the connection. By default, the drive letter displayed is Z or the lowest letter of the alphabet that is currently unassigned.
Figure 9.9 The Map Network Drive dialog box
By default, Reconnect At Logon is selected.
On My Computer, under Network Drives, the connection to the shared folder is listed.
You can connect to a shared folder using the Run command, as follows:
Windows XP Professional displays shared folders for the computer.
The following questions will help you determine whether you have learned enough to move on to the next lesson. If you have difficulty answering these questions, review the material in this lesson before beginning the next lesson. The answers are in Appendix A, "Questions and Answers."