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Shared Drive Needs Cleanup

By john.m1 ·
SBS 2003 Lan to 50 client machines including 10 laptops, 35 permanent staff 25 part time or consultant (occasional users).

We have a shared Drive known as "Group".
Over 3 or 4 years it has become a dumping ground, folders created within folders, documents just saved to the root, duplication leading to wrong versions used etc etc.

I take some accountability for this situation but did inherit a pile of pooh in the first place.

My plan is to create folders (Drives) which have logical names that relate to areas of the business.

Next, to create matching security-group names for permissions etc. So "Everyone" would have Read access to Health and Safety but only members of Finance group would access the Finance folder, and of course i could map these drives to user logins so they only see folders that they have permission to access?

BUT, i could do with some comments around moving the data, i can advise people to note where their documents "used to live" and that shortcuts on their desktop will no longer work.

(one reason for undertaking this task is to remove old-duplicated-unwanted stuff from the server) so i plan to make a full backup of the current shared drive to a USB Maxtor drive (only about 40 gigs worth)

My concerns are documenting where the data now lives / putting back relevant data and reuniting people with it in its new home.

I have considered the "wait for the scream approach" and then ask, what was it / where was it? and move it from the backup to the appropriate folder.

Help Advice or Comments Please, John Mahoney.

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by cmiller5400 In reply to Shared Drive Needs Cleanu ...

Well, my condolences for being handed a stinking pile of you know what I would make a full backup of all the data, then send out an e-mail to all users to clean up thier crap. You could create folders in the group area for each dept and ask the users to move only their stuff into the appropriate folders. That way they are semi involved in the process. Then on the date you gave them for the cutoff, I would move the data to the appropriate places that was relocated to the folders you created on the group share. Everthing else gets dumped to another area that only admins have access to and then as they request files, you can then move them appropriately.

This task is not going to be easy and many people are going to kick and scream either way you try to do it.

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I agree

by curlergirl In reply to Wow!!!

I think CM5400 has the right idea - let the users be part of the process, but set a deadline. Let them know that on such-and-such a date, anything that has not been moved into your designated subfolders (i.e., the ones that will be moved to your new shared folders) will no longer be available to them. If you're going to use mapped drive letters, make sure they know which is which (i.e., "F" will be the Finance Dept. files, "H" will be Human Resources, etc.), and who will have access to each area. Let them know that a full backup will be available if they forget something, but that they will not be able to access it directly, only you and/or other admin personnel. No doubt people will still scream, but at least you are doing all you can to make the process only as painful as it really has to be.

Good luck!

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Keep the drive letter consistant

by droll In reply to I agree

I also agree, but keep the mapped drive the same for all users. That way you avoid cofusion among the users, and don't have to worry about running out of (appropriate) letters. When someone refers to the "F" drive, everyone knows it is the shared network drive. Control access at the folder level.

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by t.a.wiser In reply to Keep the drive letter con ...

The network I inherited had a U drive that contained a folder for every user. It was a bit clunky, so I gave everyone a P drive (Personal) that mapped to U:\Username. This was set as the default save location in Office, etc. Later on, each dept was given a shared location on the network which was a single share with a folder (\\Server\Depts) for each dept in it. This was mapped to M (eg. \\Server\Depts\Accounts). This worked for a while but is now starting to cause confusion, especially when people change depts and wondered where their file(s) that they'd stored on M had gone.

I've started using Distributed File System in Server 2003 to provide a single namespace for the shared areas on our network. It's the U: drive but instead of providing all the user folders, it hold a few DFS links that point to \\Server\Depts, \\Server\Home, etc. Nice and simple and very logical.

My advice is not to use a drive letter for department files like I did with our M drive. It just causes confusion.

Plus, any shared areas on our network are emptied on the first Sunday of each month. People generally scream about this, but as long as they're told on a regular basis then the onus is on them.

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Don't forget proper protocol

by ckl_13 In reply to I agree

The crap that you inherited and that is still being heaped is coming from all other departments. Before I put out a company wide announcement, I would first formulate the proper plan of attach, (which by the way you seem to be effectively doing) then I would notify the GM or OPS Boss that you need to bring this up to your respective counterparts. Lay out the plan to your Operations manager as to all of the affected departments so that implementation goes as best as possible. It's kinda like announcing that the road is going to be repaved next week so you can plan for the time and inconvenience. Many of the other managers will undoubtedly have people away on assignment etc. These inputs will assist you in formulating a practical time frame for your improvement. It has been my experience that managers who work together make for a much smoother and comfortable work environment. You will also find less animosity and misunderstanding for future projects. Good Luck to you

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That's Wha We Did

by rasilon In reply to Wow!!!

That's pretty much what we did. We talked to each of the groups and spent a good deal of time working on educating them. We spent most of it trying to identify the critical (work stops without these) files.

The only thing I would add would be to document the changes made and be sure you can support the number of help desk calls you will be getting in the near term.

Also, if practical, try to provide some training sessions for each group to help them understand what they need to do and how to manage files and folders. Otherwise all you will accomplish is to end up with *several* masses of unorganized data instead of one.....

Hank Arnold

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spot-on, CM5400 -- been there, done that.

by plusaf In reply to Wow!!!

i had a similar problem in the technologically archaic world of about 1985. a group of organizations had use of a networked share drive and it was a mess.

unfortunately, my style was more dictatorial, and i didn't involve the "customers" much in the creation process. ... mainly because it would have been matrix-management and everyone can say yes, but one "no" stops the process, too.

i'd suggest creating folders labeled organization by organization, in whatever way makes sense for them. [you put the first shovel into the dirt and start the design].

i created subfolders based on products or product lines of the organizations, but this might not make sense for your situation.

the idea of first backing the whole thing up to offline storage is great, and then put two copies on the share: the "online backup" or "originals" folder, and the "new world" folder structure you set up.

then set the deadline for everyone to MOVE their files and folders to the new structure.

as CM puts it so well, after the deadline, kill all the permissions to to old folder and only give access to anyone who screams, but with the proviso that the only thing they can do is MOVE their file to the new structure before they can access it [or let the admin folks do the moving, which might be even better! :) ]

good luck.... after i did this, about 1.5 years later, there were still what looked like "fossil" files left on the old structure. some of the people had moved to new positions. so, i deleted their files. just as luck would have it, my backup process had, unknown to me, failed at the same time. one gal called, looking for her files. it seems she'd kept her links to the old system, even though she'd moved to another site in another city and a different organization entirely!

when she discovered that her files were gone, she tried to run up my org chart, thinking that if she yelled at the right level of management, they could retrieve her files. yep, that's the kind of manager she was, too. she seemed to have trouble with the concept, "your files have not been backed up and they have been deleted, and therefore they're NOT retrievable under any currently-known laws of time/space and physics."

[and why didn't you back up your file on your own organization's resources, you moron...]

you can see why i wasn't too good at that, and was happy to move the backup services to the Site people to handle. end of problem... sort of an early version of "outsourcing," eh?

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This will be a long job

by jevans4949 In reply to Wow!!!

You face many problems.

First, the people who know whether those files are important are probably too busy to deal with what they will see as YOUR problem.

Second, current post-holders may not realise that a particular file is in fact the only remaining copy of the design document for their mission-critical system. Or that the one they decided to keep was an early draft.

Third, you will likely have a spate of requests around company year-end and tax year-end for stuff which people didn't realise they needed.

Then there is the file that everybody uses as a reference but nobody "owns". Two possibilities here: (a) everybody makes a copy, filling up your new folders, (b) nobody makes a copy because it's not their problem.

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Agreed as well

by brudab In reply to Wow!!!

Making full use of the "wait and scream" approach made my job **** a while back. Users could only tell me that "the file was in that spot on the desktop" and they don't know if it was just a shortcut, where it was stored etc.

Imagine looking for something you're not even sure that's missing.

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Try this

by djmort In reply to Wow!!!

Transfer all the files to a public "read only" directory.This would permit people to read their old files but would require them to save any changes to their personal directory. After a period of time you could then delete the public directory.

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