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Map a Windows Drive Letter to your NetStorage Drive

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Mike Brady

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Posted: 13 Oct 2004
 

I really like NetStorage, but the problem is the end users. They get confused when using a web interface, when they are used to everything being done through the traditional Windows Explorer using drive mappings. However, there is a little-known tool that comes on the NetWare 6.5 and 6.0 client CD that can be a great help with this problem. It's called "NetDrive".

NetDrive allows you to map a drive letter in Windows to a NetStorage drive mapping. You can either map all NetStorage drives under a single drive letter, or map individual drives. This works great for remote users, and for folks who are both office and remote users. I even have a little DOS batch file that will check for the existence of an internet connection before mapping the drive. This eliminates the user prompts when NetDrive can't find the server.

To map all NetStorage drives to a single drive letter just do this:

  1. Open up NetDrive, and click on New Site.
  2. Then give the site a name, something like "Office", and give it the URL to your NetStorage system, normally something like this : https://ipaddress ofnetstorageserver/oneNet/netstorage
  3. Then click Finish. The site will be added to NetStorage.
  4. Now, assign a drive letter, and uncheck Anonymous login, and put in the user name and password you want this machine to use when logging in.
  5. Check Save password, but don't check Connect at login/startup - we'll handle that in a minute. There, you are ready to connect.
  6. Click on the connect button to test it. In a couple of seconds a window should open for the mapped drive letter. You will see folders that are named for each of the drive mappings in NetStorage.

I find this to be nice and clean, and the users seem to understand it better.

If you want to map to a single NetStorage mapping, replace the URL above with: https://ipaddressofnetstorageserver/oneNet/NetStorage/DriveH@SYS

You can get these URL's by logging into NetStorage in your browser, then switching NetStorage to text mode, then right-clicking on the link for the drive letter you want, and choosing Copy shortcut. Then just paste that in as the URL in NetDrive. As far as I can tell, you can also map down fairly deep into a directory. Might be nice for some users or applications.

OK, here is how I check for the internet connection before letting NetDrive do its mappings. The nice thing is, NetDrive gets hooked into the Windows OS pretty tightly, so you can use "net use" commands to do your mappings. Here is a batch file I use. I named it netdrivemap.bat and put it in the startup folder. (Be sure to replace 1.1.1.1 with the IP address of your NetDrive server.)

:: -----netdrivemap.BAT------
@ECHO OFF
PING 1.1.1.1 | FIND "TTL" > NUL
IF NOT ERRORLEVEL 1 (
NET USE L: \\netdrive\office /PERSISTENT:NO
ECHO Connection to NetDrive complete.
) ELSE (
ECHO You are not connected to the internet, cannot connect to NetDrive at this time.
)
:: -----netdrivemap.BAT------ 

That's it! This will connect to the NetDrive we defined earlier named "office". If you named yours something else, replace "office" with the name you used. You can map multiple drives this way -- just be sure to define them in NetDrive first. Oh, by the way, NetDrive can also map drive letters to FTP sites, I use it map drive letters to web sites I maintain, so I can drag and drop files, and just use my normal editing tools on the web files. Works great!

Additional Suggestions

Geoffrey Carman

Another option, is to use Internet Folders/Web Folders. In WinXP, My Network Places, you can use the NetStorage URL to set up a WebDAV connection. Which looks like a folder in The Internet section.

You can choose to remember the password or not.

The interesting part is that the connection is actually done via IE, and so if you connect via the the Web Folder, then hit the web page in IE, you are already connected, and vica versa.

If you have any questions you may contact Geoffrey at geoffc@yorku.ca


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