Lesson 2:?Planning, Sharing, and Connecting to Shared Folders
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.
After this lesson, you will be able to
- Plan which shared folder permissions to assign to user accounts and groups for application and data folders
- Create and modify shared folders
- Make a connection to a shared folder
Estimated lesson time: 30 minutes
Shared Application Folders
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:
- Create one shared folder for applications and organize all of your applications under this folder. This designates one location for installing and upgrading software.
- Assign the Administrators group the Full Control permission for the applications folder so that members of this group can manage the application software and control user permissions.
- Remove the Full Control permission from the Everyone group and assign Read permission to the Users group.
- Assign the Change permission to groups that are responsible for upgrading and troubleshooting applications.
- Create a separate shared folder outside your application folder hierarchy for any application for which you need to assign different permissions. Then assign the appropriate permissions to that folder.
Shared Data Folders
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:
- Use centralized data folders so that data can be easily backed up.
- Assign the Change permission to the Users group for the common data folder (see Figure 9.3). This provides users with a central, publicly accessible location for storing data files that they want to share with other users. Users will be able to access the folder and read, create, or change files in it.
Figure 9.3??Public data and working data shared folders
When you share a working data folder, do the following:
- Assign the Full Control permission to the Administrators group for a central data folder so that administrators can perform maintenance.
- Share lower level data folders below the central folder with the Change permission for the appropriate groups when you need to restrict access to those folders.
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.
Requirements for Sharing Folders
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:
- In a Windows 2000 domain, the Administrators and Server Operators groups can share folders residing on any machines in the domain. The Power Users group is a local group that can share folders residing only on the stand-alone server or computer running Windows 2000 Professional where the group is located.
- In a Windows workgroup, the Administrators and Power Users groups can share folders on the Windows 2000 stand-alone server or the computer running Windows XP Professional on which the group exists.
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.
Administrative Shared Folders
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
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.
Sharing a Folder
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:
- Log on with a user account that is a member of a group that is able to share folders.
- Right-click the folder that you want to share, and then click Properties.
- In the Sharing tab of the Properties dialog box, click Share This Folder and configure the options shown in Figure 9.4 and described in Table 9.4.
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.
Assigning Shared Folder Permissions
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:
- In the Sharing tab of the Properties dialog box of the shared folder, click Permissions.
- In the Permissions dialog box, ensure that the Everyone group is selected and then click Remove.
- In the Permissions dialog box, click Add.
- In the Select Users Or Groups dialog box (see Figure 9.5), in the Enter The Object Names To Select text box, type the name of the user or group to which you want to assign permissions. Repeat this step for all user accounts and groups to which you want to assign permissions.
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
- Click OK.
- In the Permissions dialog box for the shared folder, click the user account or group, and then, under Permissions, select the Allow check box or the Deny check box for the appropriate permissions for the user account or group.
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:
- Manual Caching Of Documents.??Users must manually specify all files they want available when working offline. This caching option, the default, is recommended for a shared network folder containing files that are to be accessed and modified by several people. To ensure proper file sharing, the network version of the file is always opened.
- Automatic Caching Of Documents.??This option makes every file that a user opens from your shared folder available to that person offline. Files that aren't opened are not available offline. Each time a file is opened, the older copy of the file is automatically deleted. To ensure proper file sharing, the network version of the file is always opened.
- Automatic Caching Of Programs And Documents.??This option provides offline access to shared folders containing files that are read, referenced, or run, but that are not changed in the process. This setting reduces network traffic because offline files are opened directly without accessing the network versions in any way, and generally they start and run faster than the network versions. This option is recommended for folders containing read-only data or applications that are run from the network.
Creating Multiple Share Names
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
Modifying Shared Folders
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:
- In the Properties dialog box of the shared folder, click the Sharing tab.
- To complete the appropriate task, use the steps in Table 9.5.
Table 9.5??Steps to Modify a Shared Folder
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.
Connecting to a Shared Folder
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:
- Click Start.
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.
- Click Control Panel and then click Network And Internet Connections.
- In the Network And Internet Connections window, under See Also, click My Network Places.
- Double-click the share you want to access.
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.
- If the share you want to connect to is not listed, click Add A Network Place.
The Welcome To The Add Network Place Wizard page is displayed.
- Click Next.
- In the Where Do You Want To Create This Network Place page, select Choose Another Network Location, and then click Next.
- In the What Is The Address Of This Network Place page, you can type a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path to the folder (for example, \\computer_name\sharedfolder_name; see Figure 9.8) and click Next.
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:
- Click Start and click My Computer.
- On the Tools menu, click Map Network Drive.
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
- In the Folder text box, type \\server\sharename or click Browse to browse for a share.
By default, Reconnect At Logon is selected.
- Clear the Reconnect At Logon check box unless you want to have Windows XP Professional create a connection to this share each time you log on to your computer.
- Click Finish to establish the connection.
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:
- Click Start, click Run, and then type \\computer_name in the Open text box.
Windows XP Professional displays shared folders for the computer.
- Double-click the shared folder to which you want to connect.
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."
- What is a shared application folder? What is the main advantage of using shared applications?
- In a Windows workgroup, the ____________________ group and the _______________________ group can share folders on the Windows 2000 stand-alone server or the computer running Windows XP Professional on which the group exists.
- Windows XP Professional automatically shares folders for administrative purposes. These shares are marked with a __________________, which hides them from users who browse the computer.
- The system root folder, which is C:\Windows by default, is shared as ____________. Administrators can access this shared folder to administer 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.
- To assign permissions to user accounts and groups for a shared folder, which of the following tabs do you use?
- The Permissions tab of the Properties dialog box of the shared folder
- The Sharing tab of the Properties dialog box of the shared folder
- The General tab of the Properties dialog box of the shared folder
- The Security tab of the Properties dialog box of the shared folder
- Which of the following statements about size of the cache for making shared folders available offline is correct?
- By default, the cache size is set to 20 percent of the available disk space.
- By default, the cache size is set to 15 percent of the available disk space.
- By default, the cache size is set to 10 percent of the available disk space.
- By default, the cache size is set to 5 percent of the available disk space.
- When you use shared application folders, assign the Administrators group the Full Control permission for the applications folder so that members of this group can manage the application software and control user permissions.
- To access a shared folder, users must connect to it and have the appropriate permissions.
- 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.
- In Windows XP Professional, members of the built-in Administrators and Power Users groups are able to share folders.
- To make shared folders available offline, copies of the files are stored in the cache on your hard disk. By default, the cache size is set to 10 percent of the available disk space.
- You can access a shared folder on another computer by using My Computer, the Add Network Place Wizard, the Run command, or My Network Places.