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Drive mapping - what's the deal? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi all -

    I want to move some data from an external drive on to my new WHS box... turn on duplication for the WHS folder I copy my data into... then map that WHS folder to a drive on my client machine. So, \\SERVER\Music would become H:\ as far as my laptop (client) is concerned.

    What's the official word on mapping drives in WHS? I've read in a number of places that you shouldn't. Is this accurate?

    Any info would be much appreciated!
    -meat
    Friday, June 26, 2009 10:34 PM

All replies

  • Hi all -

    I want to move some data from an external drive on to my new WHS box... turn on duplication for the WHS folder I copy my data into... then map that WHS folder to a drive on my client machine. So, \\SERVER\Music would become H:\ as far as my laptop (client) is concerned.

    What's the official word on mapping drives in WHS? I've read in a number of places that you shouldn't. Is this accurate?

    Any info would be much appreciated!
    -meat

    It depends on how you map the drive and what you plan to do once you map the drive. You can map the drive if you map using the UNC path to the shares i.e. \\<servername>\sharename\. You should NOT map to any location using D:\
    Lara Jones [MSFT] | Program Manager
    Community Support and Beta | Windows Home Server Team
    Windows Home Server Team Blog
    Connect Windows Home Server
    Windows Home Server
    Friday, June 26, 2009 11:25 PM
    Moderator
  • ugh... thanks?

    can you expand a bit on your answer?

    when would you typically find yourself using one approach or the other? why is one way bad and the other not? how can you confirm the mapping is set up properly? what are the side-effects of improperly mapping a drive?

    you say it also depends on how i use the mapped drive... how? from where I sit there's only one way to use a drive mapping - to access and store data - am i missing something?

    maybe this is a good FAQ item?
    Monday, June 29, 2009 6:47 PM
  • ugh... thanks?

    can you expand a bit on your answer?

    when would you typically find yourself using one approach or the other? why is one way bad and the other not? how can you confirm the mapping is set up properly? what are the side-effects of improperly mapping a drive?

    you say it also depends on how i use the mapped drive... how? from where I sit there's only one way to use a drive mapping - to access and store data - am i missing something?

    maybe this is a good FAQ item?

    You should never access the server using D:\ but rather using \\<servername\shares.  Also, while you can redirect your documents to the server i.e. redirect my documents, there may be issues with client side caching. This is a scenario that we do not recommend.

    For more information regarding drive extender, please see the technical brief. In other words, you cannot map to a drive on Windows Home Server like you would on a standard 2003/2008 server or client.



    Lara Jones [MSFT] | Program Manager
    Community Support and Beta | Windows Home Server Team
    Windows Home Server Team Blog
    Connect Windows Home Server
    Windows Home Server
    Monday, June 29, 2009 6:55 PM
    Moderator
  • Oh yeah cool let me just pop open that "Technical Brief" and.... wait... WHAT!?

    First off, the doc's title is "Windows Home Server Technical Brief for Drive Extender" - what is "Drive Extender"? I don't recall installing this... or, ya know, ever seeing *anything* with that name in the documentation that came with my system.  How am I to understand how it pertains to my questions?

    2nd, there's nothing obviously about mapping drives in the doc, certainly nothing that clearly answers the questions I posed. (although there is a section called "The Magic of Tombstones" which I wish I never laid eyes on or dared to read)

    *sigh*

    I Remote Desktop (RDP) into my Home Server (Acer easyStore) in an attempt to fix another issue (a future post perhaps) and the first thing I see is this SUPER-SCARY html page essentially saying "don't use RDP to do anything or else you'll ruin EVERYTHING" (seriously, don't even get me started on this one).

    So I come to the forums for answers...

    So far the answer I'm getting is: WHS is probably not for a user like me.

    Ugh.

    (apologies for being snarky... i know / hope yr hearts are in the right place... but i really think you need to be aware of the pain / frustration an average consumer will experience)
    Monday, June 29, 2009 8:46 PM
  • Oh yeah cool let me just pop open that "Technical Brief" and.... wait... WHAT!?

    First off, the doc's title is "Windows Home Server Technical Brief for Drive Extender" - what is "Drive Extender"? I don't recall installing this... or, ya know, ever seeing *anything* with that name in the documentation that came with my system.  How am I to understand how it pertains to my questions?

    2nd, there's nothing obviously about mapping drives in the doc, certainly nothing that clearly answers the questions I posed. (although there is a section called "The Magic of Tombstones" which I wish I never laid eyes on or dared to read)

    *sigh*

    I Remote Desktop (RDP) into my Home Server (Acer easyStore) in an attempt to fix another issue (a future post perhaps) and the first thing I see is this SUPER-SCARY html page essentially saying "don't use RDP to do anything or else you'll ruin EVERYTHING" (seriously, don't even get me started on this one).

    So I come to the forums for answers...

    So far the answer I'm getting is: WHS is probably not for a user like me.

    Ugh.

    (apologies for being snarky... i know / hope yr hearts are in the right place... but i really think you need to be aware of the pain / frustration an average consumer will experience)

    "For more information regarding drive extender, please see the technical brief. " I believe that's what I said :)

    There is nothing obvious about mapping in the documents but the documents do tell you to access your shares using \\<servername\shares which is the exact same way you should map your drives.  That’s why I pointed you to the documents. The reason is drive extender, which is in the Windows Home Server code. It is what makes duplication work in Windows Home Server and what allows you to add drives to your storage pool forming one DATA drive. 

    The document also explained how duplication worked with "tombstones" and the shadow files. If you do not want this explanation then please understand that accessing the drives in any other manner is not a good idea and may cause problems with your server and/or may result in not being able to access the files at all (i.e. linking to the wrong folders )

    Therefore, the answer to your original question is:

    You can map a drive but you must map using the UNC path to the shares i.e. \\<servername>\<sharename>\ 
    If you are redirecting your My Documents folder to the server, we advise against this. It's not that you cannot do it, but it is not supported because of issues with client side caching.

    It's not that I don't want to provide you with an answer but I'm not sure how to answer without providing technical details. Perhaps Ken or another MVP will be able to speak up ;)


    Lara Jones [MSFT] | Program Manager
    Community Support and Beta | Windows Home Server Team
    Windows Home Server Team Blog
    Connect Windows Home Server
    Windows Home Server
    Monday, June 29, 2009 9:29 PM
    Moderator
  • If you open the Shared folders on server shortcut on your desktop, you have already access to all ressources. If that is not good enough for you, you can map a drive as Lara already said, pointing to \\server\sharename (the server is the name of your server, sharename one of the shares you see in the mentioned shortcut).
    Be aware, that there is a cosmetic but, which may cause on Vista all mapped drives shown as full, since as total size the size of drive D: in the server is shown, but as free space the total free disk space of the entire storage pool. This may not only confuse users, but also some applications.
    So I advise to use the Shared folders shortcut for accessing the server shares, even if mapping is possible.
    Best greetings from Germany
    Olaf
    Monday, June 29, 2009 9:44 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks. I think we're getting closer.

    So, what I'm hearing is:

    1) Make sure whatever drive maps you set up use the "\\server\sharename" format (so "H:\" on the client machine would point to "\\server\sharename"). (if you read Meat's original post, this is exactly what we are doing).
          Q: Is there a way to confirm the drive map is setup correctly without deleting and recreating it?

    2) Actually using a mapping may cause problems - we recommend you avoid using mapping at all!
          Q: Why would WHS allow you to setup an unsupported mapping in the first place?

    So... what's the verdict?

    I was hoping to use WHS a simple file server (in addition to the backup functionality). I have applications that access data at specific locations - iTunes for example uses a "Music Folder" and changing this is no small task - I normally just map a drive in order to maintain that data path.

    Sounds like WHS can't do this?

    "It's not that I don't want to provide you with an answer but I'm not sure how to answer without providing technical details."

    I get the impression this is WHS' unofficial motto.

    Sorry again to be a total pain in the neck... but this whole exchange seems bizarre to me... it's almost as if you don't want "normal" people using WHS. If that's the case, you should label the product appropriately (ex: "recommended for users familiar with server and network administration").

    Monday, June 29, 2009 10:39 PM
  • Thanks. I think we're getting closer.

    So, what I'm hearing is:

    1) Make sure whatever drive maps you set up use the "\\server\sharename" format (so "H:\" on the client machine would point to "\\server\sharename"). (if you read Meat's original post, this is exactly what we are doing).
          Q: Is there a way to confirm the drive map is setup correctly without deleting and recreating it?

    No.  Just map the drive like you would any other drive and you'll be fine.

    2) Actually using a mapping may cause problems - we recommend you avoid using mapping at all!

    Lara never said that.  She said, "If you are redirecting your My Documents folder to the server, we advise against this."  That's not the same thing.

    Q: Why would WHS allow you to setup an unsupported mapping in the first place?

    So... what's the verdict?

    I was hoping to use WHS a simple file server (in addition to the backup functionality). I have applications that access data at specific locations - iTunes for example uses a "Music Folder" and changing this is no small task - I normally just map a drive in order to maintain that data path.

    Sounds like WHS can't do this?

    Yes, you can, as long as you map to a UNC path (providing iTunes will use that).

    "It's not that I don't want to provide you with an answer but I'm not sure how to answer without providing technical details."

    I get the impression this is WHS' unofficial motto.

    Sorry again to be a total pain in the neck... but this whole exchange seems bizarre to me... it's almost as if you don't want "normal" people using WHS. If that's the case, you should label the product appropriately (ex: "recommended for users familiar with server and network administration").


    Tuesday, June 30, 2009 12:52 AM
    Moderator