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Copying C:\My Documents to the Network

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Danny Stark

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Posted: 13 Dec 2000

Current version: ZENworks for Desktops 3

About the question of copying a user's C:\My Documents directory to their network drive, here's something that might help. On our network, everyone's home directory is in a folder off the root of SYS called data. My login script has "MAP Root H:=SYS:\DATA\%1" in it. If you use drive H: for copying the folder and accessing the folder, it will get mapped to whomever is currently logged in to that computer.

If you have any questions you may contact Danny at

Other Ideas

Keith Craig

A follow up to Danny Stark's tip for copying to the user's network directory. If you have a home directory set in NDS you can make use of this in the login script. Instead of "MAP Root H:=SYS:\DATA\%1" it becomes "MAP H:=%HOME_DIRECTORY". This then maps to the correct directory and covers the exceptions of people whose home directory is not in the usual place.

If you have any questions you may contact Keith at

Stan Levine

You should NEVER put users' home directories on the SYS: volume. All you are doing is asking for trouble - if the SYS volume fills up because you are using it for non-static, uncontrollable users, you will crash your server!

Setting up a home directory is a standard practice of EVERY network.

If you have any questions you may contact Stan at

Debbie Carraway

As a followup to the point/counterpoint, sometime one is in the unfortunate position of inheriting a server with nothing but a giant SYS volume (I got one once that had a 27 GB SYS, with all user data, weird apps, print queues, everything).

It's less than ideal, but you can avoid having your SYS volume fill up with user data by using directory space limits. With the traditional NetWare file system, it's pretty straightforward, and directory quotas are included for NSS in the recently released Support Pack 2a for NetWare 5.1.

If you have any questions you may contact Debbie at

Glenn Symko

Re: Copying C:\My Documents to the Network. Save all docs to the network drive for some simple reasons:

  • All of my network drives are backed up daily.
  • If a file becomes corrupt, your server's backup software should alert you.
  • You can salvage a deleted file.
  • You can limit your user's network disk space usage.
  • Files are secure if your rights have been assigned properly.
  • Users have access to files throughout the network if you have a WAN.
  • Users can (almost) always find their files.

Local disk should only be used for Applications, Swap File, Temp, and caching.

(My favorite workstations were diskless with bootproms running WIN311.At 100Mb, it was FAST & MANAGEABLE!)

If you have any questions you may contact Glenn at

Michael Raugh

On the issue of copying files from C:\My Documents to a home directory, rather than copy files at logout, why not just set the system so that "My Documents" points directly to the home directory?

The physical location used by "My Documents" is in the registry at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders. Set the string value "Personal" to "H:\" (or whatever drive letter you use for home directories). There is also a "My Pictures" value you can set in the same key, which is used by some programs to locate graphics.

You can make this change via an app object, or create a policy template for your User Extensible Policies. An ADM just for this purpose would look something like this:


CATEGORY "User Registry Tweaks"

POLICY "Personal Data folders"

KEYNAME "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders"



VALUENAME "Personal"




VALUENAME "My Pictures"




-Michael Raugh, Master CNE, US National Archives

If you have any questions you may contact Michael at

Nathan Pearce

When thinking about this problem keep in mind that it may need to work off the network also. What about those mobile users or having an environment that the users can keep working in during system failures (however rare they might be)?

I would normally suggest the solution posted by Michael Raugh. It is great for use on the network, but may I suggest the following:

At startup:

  1. Set the My Documents location to a local drive (See Michael's solution).
  2. Test for the presence of the network (test for a file or a folder on the network or even an environment variable set by the login script or NAL).
  3. If the network is there then change the My Documents location to a network drive.
  4. Copy/Move the files from the local drive to the network drive (This keeps everything in one place).

(Truthfully, I would normally suggest GroupWise Document Management. It eliminates this problem.)

Mike Brady

In response to the article on copying the My Documents directory from the hard drive to the network. I do this here, because we have several users with laptops that actually get used outside the office, in an "off-line" mode. They must save to the hard drive, because it's the only drive available. I have setup a very simple ZEN application to handle this. Here's the details from my app object:

Path to executable: C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\Xcopy32.exe

Command line options:

"c:\my documents" "p:\my documents\" /s /e ; This command should be one line and should include the quotes. The /s /e ensure that we get all of the files and subdirectories.

I simply assigned this to a group I call Laptop, which contains all of my laptop users. Then I tell it to force run, and prompt the user. In the prompt it describes what is going on.

So far this has worked great, and it was easy setup. If you wanted to get fancy this could be assigned to the computers instead of the users, so it would only run on laptops.

If you have any questions you may contact Mike at

David Linker

If you use Mike Brady's suggestion to use XCOPY32.EXE /S /E, you should add the parameters /D /H /R /C which:

  1. only copy files updated since the last copy
  2. copy hidden files
  3. copy over read-only files
  4. ignore errors and continue

There are some others that may be useful, so check out XCOPY /? for full details.

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