One of the nicest features of NDS is that it allows you to record a lot of information about your users in one central location. You can centralize information about items such as the user’s location, telephone number, fax number, company title, and so on. However, the main drawback to all of this comes from the fact that someone has to enter and keep the information up to date.
Normally, that someone is you. And you probably don’t have time to properly keep up to date on all of the information, especially if you have a large network with hundreds of users. Fortunately, Novell’s Client 32 allows you to delegate the responsibility of entering personal information into NDS to your users. All it takes for your users is a little understanding and a few clicks of the mouse.
The big red “N”
One of the first things your users probably noticed after you installed Novell’s Client 32 on their workstations was the red N taskbar icon. The N icon gives end users a quick place to go to perform tasks such as map drives, capture printer ports, and log on and off of the network. The feature we’re most concerned about here is found in the User Administration menu.
To access these features, right-click the N icon and select User Administration For Treename. Treename is, of course, the NDS tree where your user has authenticated. The User Administration menu contains the following seven choices:
- Personal Information
- Work Information
- Mailing Information
- Edit Login Script
- Login Account Information
- Novell Password Administration
- Group Membership
When your user selects each menu choice, it displays a corresponding window. Some windows are for informational purposes only and won’t make any change to the NDS tree. Other windows allow users to make changes to their own User object in the NDS tree. Under no circumstances do the changes made on any of these windows affect other users in the tree. If a user goofs something up, they can only hurt themselves—not the network or other users.
The Personal Information window displays the user’s login ID along with naming information. Each part of the user’s name is contained in a separate field (Given Name, Middle Initial, Last Name, etc). When you create a new user object, NDS forces you to supply only the last name of the user. The Personal Information window allows the user to enter or change the rest of the naming information for you. All the user has to do is enter the information in the appropriate field and click OK. NDS automatically updates the user object with the new information.
Most of the fields on the Personal Information screen are self-explanatory. The confusing ones are Given Name, Generational Qualifier, and Other Name. Given Name is Novell’s term for the user’s first name. Generational Qualifier stands for such things as Junior or Senior. Other Name can stand for nicknames or other names the user goes by. The Other Name field can also contain old user IDs the user had if you’ve changed the name of the User Object in NDS.
The Work Information window displays information about where users work and how to contact them. Again, all of the fields are self-explanatory. The only things that may confuse a user are the drop-down list boxes on several of the fields. These fields can contain multiple records such as several telephone numbers. If the user is familiar with how drop-down list boxes work, they should have no problem updating and maintaining these fields. Again, all the user has to do is make any changes they need and click OK to update the NDS tree.
The Mailing Information window gives users a place to enter postal information. The Copy To Label button provides a quick way of copying information from the Postal Address pane to the Mailing Label Information pane.
The Edit Login Script page is one place where users can cause themselves some problems. This window displays the user’s personal login script. It doesn’t display any system or other login scripts you may have on your network. On this window, the user can create or change the login script for their User object. You may want to advise your users not to make any changes here because they may do something that will cause their workstation problems when they log on to the network.
The User Login Administration window appears when users select Login Account Information from the User Administration window. This is a window that only displays information. No changes can be made to NDS from this window. Users can see the time of the last login for the User ID in the Last Login Time pane. Users can also see any restrictions placed on the account such as login time restrictions or simultaneous logins.
The User Password Administration allows users to change their NetWare passwords. All they must do is click the Change Password button, enter the old password, enter the new password twice, and click OK. Client 32 will also update the Windows password and Microsoft Networking password to match the new NetWare password. The user can’t change Information in the Password Restrictions pane of the User Password Administration window.
The Group Membership is also an information-only window. It lists all of the groups to which the user object belongs. Users can’t make any changes to their group memberships, but they can confirm that they are in the right groups.
NDS records a lot of information about your users, but you probably don’t have time to properly keep track of it all. If you teach your users how to use the User Administration menu from the Novell Taskbar icon, they can help you keep up with their information. In this article, we’ve described the screens users can utilize in the User Administration menu.
John Sheesley has been supporting networks since 1986, when he got his hands on NetWare 2.2. Since then, he’s worked with the Jefferson County Police Department in Louisville, KY and the Genlyte-Thomas Group. John’s been a technical writer for several leading publishers, including TechRepublic, The Cobb Group, and ZDJournals. If you’d like to contact John, send him an e-mail .
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