TechRepublic member and network administrator Todd C. submitted the topic for this pop quiz solution. If you’d like to submit a topic, please drop us a note.
Here’s the situation Todd described: “I have a WAN that connects four offices. Four servers run on the WAN, all of which belong to the same domain. They are all running Windows NT Server 4.0. Here's the problem: I have laptop (Windows 95) users who travel from office to office, and their default login scripts map drives to their home office. If they are in a different office and try to access programs, the laptop comes to a complete halt because it is trying to access data from their home office.”
Is there a way to have a login script determine which server is authenticating the user's password, and then map drives to the appropriate server?
This quiz is one for which there is no single correct answer, so we decided to present several different solutions for you to consider. Here are the highlights:
NT and 95 solutions
Ushakov wrote: "Todd can select one of two ways. Way 1: Install WindowsNT WS on laptop and use following command in logon script:
net use <drive_letter>: \\%LOGONSERVER%\<Name_of_share_resource>
where %LOGONSERVER% is the WindowsNT environment variable that is initialized at logon. Regrettably, this way does not work on Windows 95. :-)
Way 2 (for Windows 95): First, create manually on _each_ appropriate server in NETLOGON (%SYSTEMROOT%\SYSTEM32\repl\import\scripts) folder SRVNAME and put file srvname.bat with the following content:
(Doing so prevents this folder from replication in domain.)
Next, add following string to default login script (before map drives):
Use variable SRVNAME in Map drives command, for example:
net use <drive_letter>: \\%SRVNAME%\<Name_of_share_resource>
The KISS approach
Lance Rizzo, MCSE, CNE, N+, A+, wrote: "The 'Kiss Principle' (Keep It Simple, Stupid) is always best. I'll give the answer and follow-up with an explanation.
First, map four network drives for each office in the login script (use quick logon to compensate for the WAN connection):
net use l: \\office1\apps
net use m: \\office2\apps
net use n: \\office3\apps
net use o: \\office3\apps
Next, create a program group for each campus with the shortcuts pointing to the appropriate applications:
- Office1 Program Group
- — Accounting package
- — Word
- — Excel
- Office2 Program Group
- — Etc.
Finally, use policies or traveling desktops to manage those program groups so you don't have to update each laptop when you install a new app.
That's the best answer, and here's why:
- The entire company is in the same domain, and there's no GUARANTEE that you will be authenticated by the server in that office. In fact, it's likely that you won't.
- If you HAVE to access an app at another site, it's possible.
- It's simple to explain to users and simple to implement.
And the winner is…
To select the winner of the $25 gift certificate to Fatbrain.com, we put everyone's name in a hat and selected one name at random. Congratulations to our winner: Lance Rizzo.
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