As much as I love Novell, it usually takes longer to log in and out of a Windows workstation that uses the Novell client than one that doesn’t (because of the use of multiple transports). It’s especially nerve-wracking if your primary server is running Windows NT and you need to access NetWare services only once in a blue moon.

Windows NT Workstations can be especially susceptible to this phenomenon (see Q171386 for more information in the Microsoft Knowledge Base ). But the Novell client is a necessary evil if you must access NetWare servers. Or is it?

Enter Microsoft’s Gateway Services for NetWare, or GSNW, as it is commonly called. Microsoft created this tool with you—the occasional NetWare user—in mind. GSNW allows computers using only the Microsoft client to access NetWare services. These clients can access both Bindery and NDS resources, such as NetWare volumes, directories, printers, and printer queues. GSNW supports Novell server versions 2.x, 3.x, and NetWare 4.x.

GSNW acts as a bridge between NT’s Server Messaging Block (SMB) protocol and NetWare’s Core Protocol (NCP). Once this bridge is connected, the NT Server uses a NetWare account that exists on the NT Server to create a connection to the NetWare server. The NT Server then attaches to a NetWare resource, such as a printer, and shares it with the rest of the Microsoft clients on the network.

Naturally, there’s a catch. Since the Microsoft clients are being processed through the gateway, access is slower than direct access from the client to the NetWare server. That’s why clients who need frequent access to NetWare services should run the Novell-supplied client. The initial logon may be slower, but access to the NetWare resources will be quicker.

The gateway is not a typical service and is therefore not installed by default when you install NT Server. Make sure that you remove any third-party network services or client software, including NetWare client software, before you install the gateway.

GSNW installation
Installation is simply a matter of right-clicking on Network Neighborhood, choosing Properties from the shortcut menu, and clicking the Services tab in the Network dialog box. Click Add and then choose Gateway (and Client) Services for NetWare. After installation is complete, reboot the server. Keep in mind that NetWare will be placed first in your network access order. You may want to change the binding order, since most of the resources you access are on the NT Server.

Now that you’ve installed the gateway services, it’s time to actually create the gateway. This process involves enabling the gateway on the NT Server and then activating it. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Create a user on the NT Server called NWUSER (actually, you can call this user anything you’d like).
  2. Create the same user with the same password on the NetWare server.
  3. Create a group called NTGATEWAY on the NetWare server (you must use this group name).
  4. Make NWUSER a member of NTGATEWAY.
  5. When you installed the gateway services, a new icon was added to your Control Panel called “GSNW.” Start the applet and make sure the Preferred Server or Default Tree and Context fields are correctly filled in. Next, click the Gateway button.
  6. Check Enable Gateway and enter the user account name and password for the gateway you created in Step 1.
  7. Now let’s specify which directory to export. Click the Add button and type a name for the shared directory you are creating.
  8. Enter the path to the NetWare directory (e.g., \\[SERVERNAME]\[VOLUME NAME]\[DIRECTORYNAME].
  9. Choose a drive letter for this shared drive. That’s it!

With GSNW, you can run some command-prompt NetWare utilities, but others can’t be run and you’ll need to rely on your NT Server utilities to complete the task. The table below lists the NetWare utilities supported by NT.

NetWare utilities supported by Windows NT Server using GSNW
chkvol help rconsole settts
colorpal listdir remove slist
dspace map revoke syscon
flag ncopy rights tlist
flagdir ndir security userlist
fconsole pconsole send volinfo
filer Psc session whoami
grant pstat setpass  

Some NetWare-aware applications require the use of certain DLLs. For instance, many 16-bit applications, including some of the ones found in the table above, need NWIPXSPX.DLL in order to run properly. This file needs to be located in the \%SYSTEMROOT%\SYSTEM32 directory on your NT box. Any NetWare app that uses NCP will need access to NETWARE.DRV, NWNETAPI.DLL, and NWCALLS.DLL. These files also belong in the \%SYSTEMROOT%\SYSTEM32 directory on your server. Novell’s VLM is not supported by GSNW, so some apps, such as nwadmin, will not run.

Troubleshooting GSNW
Microsoft says that most problems associated with the gateway not functioning correctly are caused by an improper installation of the network card or because of some configuration snafu of the gateway services. In my experience, problems are usually related to the latter.

Thus, you’ll want to ensure that the user account you use to start the gateway exists on both the NT and Novell networks and that the account is a member of the NTGATEWAY group. Also, make sure that this account has access rights to the NetWare resource you are trying to use. If the service still doesn’t start after you verify that your account is set up properly, you can try to start it manually from NT’s Services applet in Control Panel. If this doesn’t solve the problem, review NT’s Event Viewer for related error messages. Check out the table below for possible solutions to common problems.

Resolving common problems
Problem/Error Message Resolution
Gateway Services for NetWare terminated with the following error: The system cannot find the specified file This usually means that GSNW was not installed properly. Use the Network applet to remove it, reboot the server, and then reinstall it.
The NWLink service depends on the NWLinksys services, which failed to start because of the following error: The system cannot find the file specified. The NWLink IPX/SPX Compatible Transport Protocol was not installed correctly. Remove it, reboot the server, and reinstall it.
Error binding to adapter card [cardname] Your NIC is either not working right or is not installed correctly. Verify the settings, making sure NWLink is bound to the card. Your NIC hardware should have come with a diagnostic program on the installation media. Try running this to test the integrity of your NIC.
You can’t see any NetWare servers even though GSNW starts. Make sure that both your NT Server and NetWare Server are using the same frame type.
You are denied access while creating the gateway The NetWare account you are using to enable the gateway is probably not a member of the NTGATEWAY group.

Gateway Services for NetWare can be a very useful tool, and it’s not difficult to install and configure. Just keep in mind that access to the NetWare resources will be slower, GSNW is more for the occasional NetWare user, and that gateway access is not audited. Good luck and may all of your gateways open.
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