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networking options


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11 replies to this topic

#1 wkid

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 01:59 AM

To begin with, I have read the pinned topic and believe that my question is generic enough to dispense with the amount of detail listed. If you wish additional details, I will be happy to provide them.

I have networked a Dell inspiron 531s desktop (XP Home SP3) with a Lenovo B570 laptop (Win7 SP1). The connection is wired for the Dell and wireless for the Lenovo using a 2WIRE 2701 HG-B router. It is a bare bones set up with shared printer and a couple of shared files which work fine (at least until my needs grow). I have created shortcuts to the shared files on the desktop of both machines for convenience.

This amounts to my first experience with networking. What advantages, disadvantages, security issues, or other considerations would be involved in mapping a network drive?

thanks for your input,
wkid

Edited by wkid, 06 January 2012 - 02:00 AM.

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#2 keyboardNinja

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 03:24 AM

You pose a simple (but interesting) question that I will do my best to answer.

Advantages: accessing files without having to sit in front of the computer they're on.
Disadvantages: none that I can think of.
Security issues: none, as long as your wireless network is secured with a password.
Other considerations: there are other options for sharing files (Dropbox being one of the best), but for sharing printers, I'd stick with what you have. Networking can be a pain sometimes, so just be glad you got it working.

Mapping network drives (and setting up networked printers) is something I do every day at work, so it's just second nature to me. There's no big secret to it, but for some it is a mystery because they have no experience with it. The biggest thing you'll learn is to appreciate when things work lol.

Feel free to ask any other questions you have. :)
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#3 wkid

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 10:53 AM

Thanks keyboardNinja,

I think I have found a disqualifier for mapping a network drive. Windows 7 Gigauide (Superguide 2, lessons 18 & 19) seem to indicate that folders can be shared, but a drive cannot be mapped with my set up. If I understand correctly, Win7 requires that the machines must have common user names and user passwords to map a shared drive, but not for manual sharing of folders. The XP machine has no user account password protection, and the Win7 machine has user account password protection. The user account names are not the same on both machines. Modifying the XP machine is out of the question because the other users would not be willing to adapt to the changes. The Win7 machine is set up for my dedicated use; so the configurations support my intended use of the machine. Is my understanding correct?

Networking can be a pain sometimes, so just be glad you got it working.


Yep, I'm happy that it works. I spoke with a few local techs who told me that XP and Win7 cannot share. That motivated me to find a way. My configuration uses folders in C:\ with unique names for each machine for convenience. I have created short cuts on the desktop of my user accounts in each machine to easily access the shared folders. The shared printer was much easier to configure.

I guess exploring Dropbox would be worthwhile. I have tinkered with the idea of using Logmein or establishing a VPN, but don't know if I wish to do this at present. What are your thoughts?

regards,
wkid
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#4 keyboardNinja

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 03:03 PM

Sorry for not getting back to you earlier on this. I was going to wait and give my answer some thought before replying, but instead forgot completely about it.

I will come back to this later today. Sorry again for the wait.
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#5 wkid

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Posted 14 January 2012 - 10:51 AM

Thanks. I'll be on the lookout for a notification of your reply.
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#6 wkid

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 03:38 PM

Well...

After about three weeks of tinkering with this and that (ten minutes here and fifteen minutes there), I have expanded network capabilities. I have a lot more customizing left to go before I will be satisfied. The perceived disqualifier mentioned in a previous post does not appear to be accurate.

The network has expanded and now includes:
  • Dell inspiron 531s desktop, XP Home, SP3, 32-bit, hardwired to router
  • Lenovo B570 laptop, Win 7, SP1, 64-bit, wireless connection to router
  • Lenovo B575 laptop, Win 7, SP1, 64-bit, wirless connection to router

I am showing the basics of the set up as I have it now so any helpful feedback can be given. (I know...Be happy if it works.)

All three machines share a common printer with no hiccups. All three machines share the same Homegroup. All three machines have desktop short cuts to the shared folders in the user accounts I desire to have sharing permissions. I created a network drive (N:) which is viewed in computer as Network Location>share(\\desktop_name)(N:) in the right pane on both laptops. The left pane displays it as Computer>share(\\desktop_name)(N:). (I am just adding this because I find the manner Win 7 displays information to be very different from XP.) The desktop shares the files via C:\SHARE with subfolders for individual users and user accounts. With all three computers side-by-side new files can be created from the desktop and viewed on the laptops in N:.

I find the navigation to the shared folders to add the files I wish to share to be a little laborious. The network can directly access C:\SHARE, but not C:\SHARE\<subfolder name>. The subfolder(s) must be navigated to through C:\Share. There must be an easier way.

I am experiencing problems sharing directly between the two laptops. I have found that I can use c:\Users\Public\<shared file name>, but cannot sync them with (N:). I am wondering if I am doing something wrong or if I should map a new network drive something like (\\laptop_name)(L:) to establish direct sharing between the the laptops.

Am I doing things the hard way? What insight can you provide?

thanks,
wkid

EDIT: I have not ignored Dropbox. My slow internet speed does not sound like it will be efficient.

Edited by wkid, 15 January 2012 - 03:57 PM.

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#7 keyboardNinja

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 04:04 PM

Just for a little perspective, can you tell exactly what your goals are for all this sharing? Like: computer A shares this folder with computer B, but not with computer C...etc.

It's difficult to help or suggest alternative options when I have no idea what your primary goal is.

I find the navigation to the shared folders to add the files I wish to share to be a little laborious. The network can directly access C:\SHARE, but not C:\SHARE\<subfolder name>. The subfolder(s) must be navigated to through C:\Share. There must be an easier way.

I don't understand this statement. What do you mean by "directly access" C:\SHARE\subfolder ? Do you want a shortcut to this folder?

I am experiencing problems sharing directly between the two laptops. I have found that I can use c:\Users\Public\<shared file name>, but cannot sync them with (N:). I am wondering if I am doing something wrong or if I should map a new network drive something like (\\laptop_name)(L:) to establish direct sharing between the the laptops.

This goes back to my first question. I'm not sure what you want to share with who (the who being the computers). What do you mean by "cannot sync them with (N:)"?

FYI, Dropbox does have LAN sync, but it still does upload to the Dropbox servers.

There are other syncing options available like Windows Live Mesh that sync between computers only (no third-party server involved):
http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials-other-programs?T1=t4

I hate repeating myself, but once I have an idea of what you're trying to achieve, I will be better able to help.
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#8 wkid

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 01:32 AM

Time demands for this week are pretty intense. I will compose a detailed answer toward the end of the week.
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#9 keyboardNinja

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 02:43 AM

No worries, I have a busy week, as well.
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#10 wkid

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 02:29 PM

keyboardNinja,

Sorry for the delay in replying. I wanted to take time to make my description as easy to follow as possible without leaving anything out. Things got pretty busy in my offline life, too.

I am thinking that it may help me explain by including an image of the network.

Posted Image



timethief is my laptop (Lenovo B570, Win 7 SP1, 64-bit)
Esther is another laptop (Lenovo B575, Win 7 SP1, 64-bit)
grandma is a desktop (Dell inspiron 531s, XP SP3, 32-bit), five user accounts (two administrator and three standard users)
timethief and Esther are on a Win 7 Homegroup

This is how I would like to have sharing enabled for each computer and user. This may be a little redundant, but I want to describe which direction the sharing is available.

grandma
I want
  • sharing of my administrator user account folders and the other administrator's user account folders with timethief
  • sharing of the other administrator's user account folders with Esther
  • I do not want timethief or Esther to depend on all three computers to be running for sharing. Grandma plus either or both of the other machines is great.
I have this portion working like I want it.

Esther
I want Esther to share folders with only with her shared folders in grandma, not my shared folders in grandma. However, I wish to have access to Esther's folders which are shared with grandma.

timethief
I want access to all shared folders in both grandma and Esther.

There is a (hopefully) well thought out group of reasons for desiring this type of sharing if it is reasonable to establish it without too much trouble.
  • I do not want the other administrator to be able to accidentally modify any of my shared folders.
  • All three machines will be primarily used in three different rooms of the house. I hope to have the facility to troubleshoot sharing problems encountered by the other administrator without going to another room. This may include modifying a shared folder or send a message containing instructions via a shared folder.

regards,
wkid
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#11 keyboardNinja

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 04:46 PM

:blink:

Okay, that was really confusing, but I will come back and re-read this when I am more coherent. :crazy:
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#12 wkid

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 05:52 PM

I had to draw it out on paper (circles, arrows, etc.) to get a visual on it.
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