Windows networking question
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Thread: Windows networking question

  1. #1
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    Windows networking question

    I have a small network which has Windows 2000 Pro running on the server with mostly Windows 9x clients and some Windows XP Home. With the Win9x clients any user can login to these computers and a script will map a drive to their personal folders on the server. No account information is stored on any of these clients, and any account administration that needs to be performed can be done from the server.

    The clients that are running Windows XP Home don't appear to be able to do this as you have to setup each user's account on each computer so that they can first login to the client. Since this is inefficient the current solution is to have the client only store the account information of its main user, but even this creates duplication issues and makes password changing and the like a pain. It would be preferable to have the XP Home clients act in exactly the same way as the Win9x clients.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I could do? (buying new OS's is not an option)

  2. #2
    Shadow Programmer mmelby's Avatar
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    I will assume you are running a workgroup and not a domain. How about creating a batch file that is run in the startup group of the machine. The mapping can be done with a net use command and user name substitution. I think the eviornment variable is %username%. Does this make sense? IF not let me know a I can send you an example.

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  3. #3
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    I don't see how first setting up an account on the XP box's is inefficient as it allows a level of security not available on win 9x box's. You could just enable the guest account and let users log on with that, but that would be insecure.

    Having created accounts for each user on the xp box's you could map a network drive to each users personal folder on the server, with tools>>map network drive from within my computer. Then create a shortcut to each users folder on the server and place them on each users desktop.

    Maybe a bit of work to set up but i would think not to much. But then i'm no networking guru.
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  4. #4
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    ive been watching this thread all night hoping someone could shed some light on this. i havn't had much experiance with "home" anything but occasional run accross it. ive never gotten it to join a domain though i havn't tried much.

    having to create an account on each machine everytime someone moves or leaves and someone else comes in is very inefficient compared to a network loggin. which allows them no rights on the local machine but can logon anywhere (if allowed) yet keep their network privilages home directory and personalized mapping at any machine.
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  5. #5
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    Hmm...there IS a way to do what you want, of this I am sure. I've seen computer systems before where you login through the network, and then it loads up XP with all the network drives already mapped, nothing else available. (No, it wasn't a dumb terminal.)

    ::Tries to think of a way:: Well, I'll ask the admins who manage the local campus network how they have it set up so that I'll be able to tell you exactly.

    In the mean time, perhaps you should use Samba, or Microsoft Network File Sharing. Allow people to login after they've signed onto the computer. They can see all of the folders, but there permissions will only allow them to login to the folders they should be able to use anyway. Map the network to the main folder.

    That should work as a temporary solution, make things a bit easier for you in the mean-time.

    I hope that helps some, atleast.
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  6. #6
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    Originally posted here by mmelby
    I will assume you are running a workgroup and not a domain. How about creating a batch file that is run in the startup group of the machine. The mapping can be done with a net use command and user name substitution. I think the eviornment variable is %username%. Does this make sense? IF not let me know a I can send you an example.

    m2
    First off - yes, it is a workgroup and not a domain. What you have described is pretty much what I was doing with the 9x clients. Trouble being that for XP Home you have to log on to the machine first, which isn't necessary with 9x.

    Originally posted here by jinxy
    I don't see how first setting up an account on the XP box's is inefficient as it allows a level of security not available on win 9x box's. You could just enable the guest account and let users log on with that, but that would be insecure.
    The clients themselves are by their nature insecure. I am unconcerned with protecting the clients' hard drives and so forth, since everything of worth is stored on the server.

    Having created accounts for each user on the xp box's you could map a network drive to each users personal folder on the server, with tools>>map network drive from within my computer. Then create a shortcut to each users folder on the server and place them on each users desktop.

    Maybe a bit of work to set up but i would think not to much. But then i'm no networking guru.
    Realistically it isn't that much work, especially considering the size of the network. However, it's inefficient and while the current setup works I was looking to optimize it.

    Originally posted here by Tedob1
    ive been watching this thread all night hoping someone could shed some light on this. i havn't had much experiance with "home" anything but occasional run accross it. ive never gotten it to join a domain though i havn't tried much.

    having to create an account on each machine everytime someone moves or leaves and someone else comes in is very inefficient compared to a network loggin. which allows them no rights on the local machine but can logon anywhere (if allowed) yet keep their network privilages home directory and personalized mapping at any machine.
    Although it's not a domain, you've basically outlined what I was trying to do in your second paragraph. Regardless, the solution I ended up with was:

    -forcing automatic logon as a guest account for each XP Home box
    -writing a vbscript which disconnected any old shares, got the user to enter their network username and password and then connected to their folders on the server.

    A bit fiddly but definitely an improvement over before.

    Thanks for all your replies

  7. #7
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    an observation here but --

    XP Pro's major difference is the ability to join a domain whereas home cannot (just an fyi for those who did not already figure this out).

    As far as the observation, for security reasons I would set up a separate account on every machine other than the built in guest account, the account can be the same across the entire workgroup, as none of this really matters. When trying to gain access to a system with little or no information the first thing tried is usually the standard Guest and administrator accounts.

    You may also look at using local policy on each machine to somewhat pseudo enforce domain style group policies to restrict / improve security and functionality. Just my 2 cents here but XP Pro will easily allow a "standing upgrade" over an existing XP home machine, and with the advent of 2003 server, 2000 server software and licensing costs have dropped considerably, it may be worth going the extra mile to set it up as a domain. You may even want to look at a samba based domain controller solution in the future.

    Regardless, if what your doing now works at an acceptable level, dont fix it if it aint broken!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Zonewalker's Avatar
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    ive been watching this thread all night hoping someone could shed some light on this. i havn't had much experiance with "home" anything but occasional run accross it. ive never gotten it to join a domain though i havn't tried much.
    Ted - that'll be because XP home (supposedly) can't join a domain (which since 9x can I find a little silly but..). Having said that and further to THEJRC post this is worth a go

    Powertoad - I think the solution you've come up with is the best you'll be able to get with XP Home - it's what I would have said if I had come here a little earlier in the day

    oh finally - jinxy... logging in as a guest isn't that bad - the guest account is even more limited than a limited user account - it wouldn't be any less secure than using a normal user account other than the fact its not password protected by default - although you can change that

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