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I have a media server and am sharing my folders with my client htpcs. Is there a benefit/difference to mapping a network drive over just sharing it?


hjackson
 

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Sharing is done at the server. It makes it possible for other machines to access the drive over the network.


Mapping is done at the client. It associates a shared drive with a local drive letter number.


Are you referring to the distinction between mapped drives and UNC paths?


If so, once you are connected, the only difference I know of is that you can see the amount of free space on a mapped drive in Windows Explorer, whereas a UNC connection doesn't show this.
 

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Using the UNC name and mapping a drive letter tends to be more reliable for me. I have never figured out why, but on my home network sometimes my "network neighboorhood" does not work. I get that the network is unreachable, etc. But in those cases doing a direct map of the drive letter and hard coding in the UNC or IP address of the host, works!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dm
Using the UNC name and mapping a drive letter tends to be more reliable for me. I have never figured out why, but on my home network sometimes my "network neighboorhood" does not work. I get that the network is unreachable, etc. But in those cases doing a direct map of the drive letter and hard coding in the UNC or IP address of the host, works!
The reason is probably a conflict with the Computer Browser Service. In most base installations of any of the MS client OSs the Computer Brower services in all the machines in the workgroup fight/negotiate to be the master browser (list of all device names and ips in the workgroup).


Of course since this is not a server/client system sometimes there are problems and confusion on which PC is the master browser etc...


You can solidify the network by either doing what you have done and map drives etc. but you can also manually add the pc name to a file called "hosts" there are examples in the file.


The only problem with HOSTS file is that it is static for the most part, the PC will check hosts then go to the master browser PC for name/ip resolution...
 

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Re: master browser issues-


There is an option in the Network Properties (right click Network Neighborhood) to force a client to not be a master browser, and other options. It is in one of the network protocol sub panels. Reboot after changing.


It seems to fix stubborn clients during some lan party gaming nights I've attended.


re: drive mapping.


I do not drive map. I find that sharing drives on my home network is simplest. Each PC name simply becomes the "root" of that drive path, i.e. //PC1/driveD, //PC2/driveF, etc, using Explorer to navigate to each machine like a drive. You can drag each machine that appears in the Network Neighborhood to the top level of the directory tree, to reduce the amount of navigation levels. Each peer then becomes like a "drive" on the network, and each shared drive on that peer a "folder" one level lower.


Another benefit of this approach is that I dynamically add/remove shared drives on servers and peers, and they appear/disappear from peers and clients appropriately, without re-mapping or rebooting or doing anything special other than refreshing the directory view.
 

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I use mapped drives to access shares on my media server. The main reason I chose this method is to avoid any problems passing UNC paths through the command line (I use a lot of batch scripts).


One big annoyance I encountered a while ago was I used to occassionally get errors when trying to directly access data on a mapped drive. Something like "connection may be lost" would pop up, and the mapped drive would show up in Windows Explorer with a red "X" over it and be listed as "disconnected".


A little googling and I found out that by default mapped drives are disconnected after a period of inactivity. Browsing a mapped drive will force it to reconnect, but accessing a file directly would error out. If you change the "autodisconnect" property on the server (I turned it off) it will correct this problem. See link: http://support.microsoft.com/default...b;en-us;297684
 

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I map drives, mostly due to some software apps that don't allow UNC paths. It's also easier to type "X:" than "\\\\myservername\\share" each time I want to open the folder (I use the run menu since it's fastest.. no enumeration in My Computer, etc).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb
Re: master browser issues-


There is an option in the Network Properties (right click Network Neighborhood) to force a client to not be a master browser, and other options. It is in one of the network protocol sub panels. Reboot after changing.
Really...where? I've never seen it :confused:

I always set the master browser options in the registry. You can specify the server to always be the master and the clients to never be; eliminating all fighting over it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by miltimj
I map drives, mostly due to some software apps that don't allow UNC paths. It's also easier to type "X:" than "\\\\myservername\\share" each time I want to open the folder
Me too. I also do it this way so I can name the same drive X:\\ on every PC on the network, etc...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by video321
Really...where? I've never seen it :confused:

I always set the master browser options in the registry. You can specify the server to always be the master and the clients to never be; eliminating all fighting over it.
See

http://www.tomsnetworking.com/Sectio...le64-page7.php


The rest of the article has many other settings buried in the Local Area Conneciton Properties control panels for Microsoft Networking, File & Print Sharing, and other protocols listed there.


It looks like XP removed this control from where it was in 98SE. The link shows how to disable the Master Browse service on clients using the Services Admin Tool in XP.
 

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I map my drives. I give them the same name on all 4 of my machines so I will never be confused.
 

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The differences between using a UNC path versus a mapped drive letter are more apparent in the application than the OS. If you have applications or scripts that can't handle UNC, or you just prefer to use mapped drive, go with that. There really isn't a big advantage to either.
 

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Also MCE 2005 seems to have a problem with mapped drives. I think the problem is actually Windows XP. If you don't use a login w/ welcome screen / password and your computer boots directly into the desktop, XP won't reconnect map drives, even if you check "reconnect at logon" when you map a drive.


This is a problem if you want to store videos in a mapped drive on another computer. Since the mapped drive is not connected, MCE doesn't "see" the folder and won't let you browse to it. You have to go to the desktop, open the map drive so it "connects" then go back into MCE, then the folder is there. I gave up and finally used UNCs for files on the network. MCE sees UNCs just fine.


Jason
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by miltimj
....or the HKLM Run key.
Tim;

Could you please elaborate?


TIA!

____

Axel
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Axel
Tim;

Could you please elaborate?


TIA!

____

Axel
Registry... the run folder. HKLM (Local Machine)\\software\\microsoft\\windows\\CurrentVersion\\Run


Anything you add here will run at startup no matter which user you login with. Most ad/spy/malware place edits here.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonsirota
Also MCE 2005 seems to have a problem with mapped drives. I think the problem is actually Windows XP. If you don't use a login w/ welcome screen / password and your computer boots directly into the desktop, XP won't reconnect map drives, even if you check "reconnect at logon" when you map a drive.


This is a problem if you want to store videos in a mapped drive on another computer. Since the mapped drive is not connected, MCE doesn't "see" the folder and won't let you browse to it. You have to go to the desktop, open the map drive so it "connects" then go back into MCE, then the folder is there. I gave up and finally used UNCs for files on the network. MCE sees UNCs just fine.
I believe this is related to what I said above about turning off the server PC's "autodisconnect" property. My network drives are connected 100% of the time now (after reboot, resume from suspend, etc).


I do use a login though, so not sure if that is related ...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonsirota
If you don't use a login w/ welcome screen / password and your computer boots directly into the desktop,
I'm probably the only one who does this, but as an extra security precaution first I specify a password in XP, then use the "control userpasswords2" to bypass the login screen. Then I go into the local system policy and change network access to "Local users authenticate as themselves" Otherwise XP will try to connect to the other servers using the guest account. I then create the same user/password on the other pc (server), and configure the appropriate access permissions.


I don't know if it's worth it, but I don't have a great feeling about all kinds of stuff shared on my lan using guest accounts and no passwords.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dandirk
Registry... the run folder. HKLM (Local Machine)\\software\\microsoft\\windows\\CurrentVersion\\Run


Anything you add here will run at startup no matter which user you login with. Most ad/spy/malware place edits here.
Thanks! Found it! My registry has a whole bunch of .exe's listed - all legitamite stuff though.


Now, what would I need to add there in order to reconnect the (already) shared drives?


TIA!


____

Axel
 
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