Connecting Windows 2000 Professional to your NetWare server

How do you connect a Windows 2000 Professional workstation to your NetWare server? In this Daily Drill Down, John Sheesley outlines the differences between Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4.0 when you attempt to connect them to a NetWare file server.

If you’re evaluating Windows 2000 Professional for possible use on your network, you may be trying to figure out the best way to make it connect to your NetWare server. If you’ve ever connected Windows NT Workstation to your NetWare server, you shouldn’t find it too difficult to connect Windows 2000 Professional. However, Windows 2000 is different enough from Windows NT that there are a few tricks and traps you should be aware of. In this Daily Drill Down, we’ll show you what they are.

Connecting Beta 3 to NetWare Microsoft’s way
Although there are many similarities between Windows 2000 Professional and Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, Microsoft has changed enough in Windows 2000 Professional that you can’t do everything the same way you used to. Adding support for new network servers reveals the similarities and differences. You’ll quickly notice that things are going along smoothly, and then something unexpected will pop up.

One of the first differences you’ll notice is how you begin to add client support to your Windows 2000 Professional Workstation. With Windows NT Workstation, you could just right-click Network Neighborhood, select Properties, and then click Services and be on your way.

Windows 2000 Professional adds a few more steps. First, Microsoft has done away with Network Neighborhood. Instead, you’ll see a new icon called My Network Places on the desktop. My Network Places consolidates networking functions in one central place—unlike the old Network Neighborhood.

Right-click My Network Places and select Properties. When you do, you’ll see the Network And Dial-up Connections property sheet appear. Right click LAN Connections and select Properties. You’ll see the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box shown in Figure A.

Figure A
This dialog box allows you to add network services.

To install the NetWare client, click Install. You’ll see the familiar Select Network Component Type dialog box. Select Client and click Add.

You’ll then see the Select Network Client dialog box. The only choice offered is Client Service For NetWare. Select it and click OK. When you do, Windows 2000 will install the client along with IPX and NWLINK NetBIOS.

You’ll then see the Select NetWare Logon dialog box shown in Figure B. This dialog box enables you to specify your default server or default NDS tree and context. If you don’t know the server’s name, you can browse for one by using the drop-down list box. Unfortunately, there’s no way to browse for the NDS tree and context; you’ll have to know them in advance.

Figure B
The Select NetWare Logon dialog box allows you to specify a Preferred Server or NDS Tree and Context.

Also, it’s not possible to specify a different logon ID for your NetWare server. By default, Windows 2000 Professional attempts to use your Windows logon ID for the NetWare logon ID. As of this article, we haven’t found a way to have separate logon IDs.

When you click OK, Windows 2000 Professional logs on to your NetWare server. Unlike Windows NT Workstation, you don’t have to reboot your workstation.

You’ll then see the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box appear again. It will be the same screen you saw before, but now you’ll see the Client For NetWare Networks along with its support protocols. Click Close, and you’re ready to work on your NetWare server.

A better beta client
Using Microsoft’s Client Service for NetWare, you can quickly and easily connect your Windows 2000 Professional Workstation to a NetWare 3.x or 4.x server. Unfortunately, Windows 2000 Professional’s NetWare client won’t connect you to a NetWare 5.0 server running in IP-only mode. Microsoft’s client depends on IPX for NetWare communication. To connect to a NetWare 5.0 server, you’ll either need to install IPX or enable IPX-compatibility.

You can also try downloading Novell’s Client for Windows 2000 from Novell’s Web site. Novell’s Client for Windows 2000 gives you the ability to connect your Windows 2000 Professional computer to your IP-based NetWare 5.0 server. It includes the same functionality that Novell’s other clients provide, except for the inclusion of ZENworks and IPX support.

Just like Windows 2000, Novell’s Client for Windows 2000 is currently in beta. When Microsoft ships Windows 2000, Novell plans to release a final version of the client. Because this client is still in beta, Novell doesn’t officially support it through its tech support lines. You’re on your own if you have problems, so don’t deploy the client in a production environment.

You can get a copy of the beta client by going to Novell’s Web site at . To download the file, click the Connect link that’s closest to your geographical region, and save the file to a temporary directory on your workstation. The file is 5,150,946 bytes long, so it may take a while to download, depending on the speed of your connection.

You can extract the client files by typing NTCLT3.EXE and pressing [Enter] at the command prompt on your workstation. The self-extracting executable automatically extracts the files and creates the subdirectory structure you need to install the client.

To install the client, right-click My Network Places and select Properties. When the Network And Dial-up Connections property sheet appears, right-click Local Area Connections and select Properties, and the Properties sheet for your LAN configuration will appear.

If you’ve previously installed Microsoft’s Client Service for NetWare, you must first uninstall it. Unlike other versions of Novell’s client, the Windows 2000 beta client doesn’t automatically uninstall existing NetWare clients. To uninstall Microsoft’s client, select it from the Components list box and click Uninstall. Follow the directions that appear on screen.

To begin installing Novell’s client, click the Install button on the Local Area Connections Properties dialog box. The Select Network Component Type dialog box will appear. Select Client and click Add. When the Select Network Client dialog box appears, click Have Disk.

When the Install From Disk dialog box appears, you can either enter the path to the extracted NT5CLT3 files, or you can click browse. If you browse to find the files, you’ll need to select the IWCLIENT.INF file, as shown in Figure C, and click OK.

Figure C
Select the IWCLIENT.INF file to install Novell’s beta client for Windows 2000.

The Select Network Client dialog box will reappear. This time, you’ll see Novell Client for Windows 2000 listed in the Network Client list box. Select it, and click OK. When you do, Windows 2000 will copy the client files to the proper location and configure Windows 2000 to use the client.

Customizing the Novell Client for Window 2000
After you install the beta client, you’re ready to go. The installation process makes most of the default selections necessary to give you a workable connection when you restart your computer. However, you may want to make some custom adjustments to your client’s configuration.

To customize the client, select it from the Components list and click Properties. When you do, you’ll see the Novell Client For Windows 2000 Properties dialog box, as shown in Figure D. Because Novell has derived the Windows 2000 client from its Client 4.5 for Windows NT, you may be familiar with many of the configuration options.

Figure D
The Novell Client for Windows 2000 Properties dialog box enables you to configure Novell’s client.

The Windows 2000 client has many options you can use to tweak performance for your Windows 2000 Professional computer. The first dialog box you’ll see is the Client dialog box. Here’s where you’ll configure the basic connections from the workstation to your NetWare server. You can specify the preferred server or tree, as well as the context your workstation should initially connect to. You can also specify the first drive letter your workstation should use when mapping drives from your server. The Client dialog box also displays the version of the client.

If you click the Location Profiles tab, you’ll see the screen shown in Figure E. Location profiles allow you to store information from a user's specific login into one profile. Location profiles can save you time because they automatically configure login information such as the user name, server, context, and login script.

Figure E
The Location Profiles tab enables you to specify a user’s profile.

When you click the Advanced Login tab, you’ll see the screen shown in Figure F. This dialog box enables you to specify additional displays when a user logs on to the system. Selecting the Default Policy Support check box causes policies from the Ntconfig.pol file to be downloaded and applied to the user and workstation after the user logs on to the NetWare server. The Show On Login section allows you to turn on and off options that the users see when they get the Novell Login screen. For example, clearing the Advanced Button check box causes the Advanced menu option to disappear from the login screen. The Welcome Screen section allows you to change the default welcome screen. You could replace the Novell welcome screen with your company’s logo or a welcome screen of your own design.

Figure F
The Advanced Login tab enables you to customize the login screen.

Clicking the Contextless Login tab, shown in Figure G, enables you to remove the requirement that the user provide a proper context when logging in. The user won’t have to enter the proper context to the user object. Instead, the client will search the NDS tree for a matching user ID based on the parameters you enter on this screen. This can be a problem if you have many identical user IDs in different branches of your NDS tree. The contextless search may return a user ID other than the one intended.

Figure G
Users don’t have to know their context if you enable contextless logins.

You can create default network printer capture settings by adjusting options under the Default Capture tab shown in Figure H. Here, you can force a network printer to generate multiple copies. You can also turn off banner pages and force time-out settings for older MS-DOS programs.

Figure H
The Default Capture tab lets you configure default print capture settings.

The Protocol Preferences tab, shown in Figure I, enables you to set the primary protocol that the client will use to connect to your network. The beta version of the client appears to support both IP and IPX, but in reality, it doesn’t. Novell doesn’t include its own 32-bit IPX stack with the client. Also, you can’t force the beta client to change its preferred protocol. However, you can trick the client into using Microsoft’s IPX stack, as we’ll show you below.

Figure I
The Windows 2000 beta client doesn’t allow you to change the preferred protocol.

As you can see in Figure J, the Advanced Settings tab contains many options that allow you to configure how the client performs on the network. You can turn off the client’s Auto Reconnect feature. You can also change the way the client deals with performance issues such as packet size, bursts, and locking. There isn’t enough room in this article to go into detail about what all of the settings mean and how you should adjust them for your network. Unless you’ve made changes in this area on Windows 9x or Windows NT computers, it’s best not to make changes here.

Figure J
The Advanced Settings tab offers many options to increase your client’s performance.

Configuring IPX Support for Novell’s client
Unlike Microsoft’s own NetWare client and other versions of Novell’s client, the Windows 2000 beta client doesn’t support IPX for connecting to NetWare servers. Nor does it include Novell’s version of IPX to make the connection. It only supports IP connections to NetWare 5.0 servers. However, with a little effort, you can use Microsoft’s NWLink IPX protocol along with Novell’s beta client to make the connection to IPX-based NetWare 5.0 or older NetWare 4.x servers.

From the Local Area Connections Properties dialog box, click Install. When the Select Network Component Type dialog box appears, select Protocol and click Add. You’ll then see the Select Network Protocol dialog box. Select NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS Compatible Transport from the Network Protocol list box, then click OK. Windows 2000 will copy and configure IPX for your workstation.

When you shut down and restart your Windows 2000 workstation, it should connect to your IPX-based NetWare 5.0 or NetWare 4.x server. When we configured Windows 2000 Professional to communicate with our NetWare 4.x servers, we initially had mixed results. As mentioned above, you can’t set IPX as the preferred protocol, even though you just added it. Nor can you delete IP as a preferred protocol.

Eventually, our Windows 2000 Professional Workstation started communicating with our NetWare 4.x server and has worked flawlessly ever since. Using a beta client on a beta operating system with a protocol that isn’t supported by the client is one of those things you just have to keep working at to get the results you want.

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