Classic Tip: The Novell Client for Windows 9x (Now available in Vista flavor!)

From the archives dated March 17, 2000:. To properly connect Windows 9x to a NetWare server, you should use the Novell IntraNetWare Client. That's good advice even today. Read on about how a tip from the past shows you how to connect Vista to a NetWare server.

Today's classic tip from the TechRepublic archives was featured in our Windows 95/98 TechMail dated March 17, 2000:

The Novell Client

Previously, we looked at the Microsoft Client for NetWare Networks, which allows Win9x systems to join a NetWare network. Of course, Novell has its own Novell IntranetWare Client, which can be downloaded from Novell's Web site. This client, although far larger in size, provides some advantages over the Microsoft Client.

One advantage is that this software is required to run the NetWare Administrator program (Nwadmn95.exe). The Administrator program relies on certain DLLs installed by the IntranetWare Client. At least one PC will require this client on your network.

Microsoft included a client to access NetWare servers back in Windows For Workgroups 3.11. This was vital to Microsoft because in the 80's and 90's even though Microsoft ruled the desktop, when it came to networking, Novell was king.

The problem was, that Microsoft's NetWare clients were never very good. Whether through incompetence or by design to make NetWare look bad, the client software that shipped with Windows 3.x and 9x was horrible. It was buggy, slower, and offered fewer features than the client software offered by Novell.

In today's networking environment, NetWare may not be as huge as it used to be, but it still has a reputable market share. Even though Novell hasn't upgraded the NetWare kernel in several years and is looking towards the future with its purchase of SUSE Linux, many shops still have their NetWare servers humming the closet.

If you're running Windows XP, you still have the choice of running Microsoft's built-in client. Of course the best choice is to use Novell's XP client unless you absolutely can't for some reason.

If you've made the move to Vista however, you're out of luck (for yet another reason). Vista doesn't include a NetWare client. All is not lost however. Novell created its own Vista NetWare client that you can download for free. It only supports Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, and Vista Enterprise, but those are probably the only versions of Windows Vista you should consider running anyway.