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MS Distributed File System Version 4.1 for MS Windows NT Server Version 4.0 and Administrator's Guide

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Release Notes
MS Distributed File System for MS Windows NT Server 4.0 Administrator's Guide
Practical Uses of Dfs Trees
How Dfs Works
How Users See and Connect To Dfs Trees
Installing Dfs
Administering Dfs Trees

Release Notes

Welcome to the Microsoft Distributed File System (Dfs) version 4.1 for Microsoft Windows NT Server version 4.0. This is a maintenance release of Dfs version 4.0, the final release of Dfs for the Windows NT 4.0 platform.

For complete documentation of Dfs on Windows NT 4.0, see the Administrator's Guide, Dfsdoc.htm, in the systemroot\system32\dfs\docs directory. The Administrator's Guide is in HTML format. Note that if you copy the Dfsdoc.htm file to another directory to use it, you must also copy the file Dfs.gif to that directory. Please also note that the HTML documentation has not been updated from its original release, and that these Release Notes supersede content found in the Administrator's Guide.

What's New in this Maintenance Release

  • The Windows 95 Dfs client now comes with full support by Microsoft Technical Support and security signatures. In addition, plain text passwords are no longer sent by default, for increased security.

  • Cached Dfs referral expiration has been extended from 5 minutes to 1 week, to improve response times and reduce load on the root server.

  • An issue related to chaining of filter drivers has been resolved.

Note: This maintenance release is for x86 and Alpha processors only. It is for English-language versions only. The Dfs Service and Administration tool has not been localized for multiple language support, and it has not been released as part of a service pack, although Windows NT Dfs client updates have been provided in Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 3, available at: http://www.microsoft.com/NTServer/nts/downloads/winfeatures/NTSDistrFile/default.asp

About This Release

This release of Dfs supports only servers running the final commercial release of Windows NT Server 4.0, along with Service Pack 3 or greater.

Windows NT client software

It is recommended that you run Service Pack 3 (SP3) or greater for Windows NT 4.0 on all Windows NT computers that act as Dfs clients. SP3 corrects the following issues on Windows NT Dfs clients:

  • Without SP3, Windows NT clients cannot access Windows 95 shares over a Dfs tree.

  • Without SP3, performance is very slow if another redirector, such as NetWare, is also running on the client.

  • Without SP3, Dfs clients are sometimes required to make explicit connections to a server's IPC$ share to access it.

Installing Dfs on Windows NT Server

The following instructions are for first-time installations of Dfs. If you are upgrading an earlier version, refer to the appropriate section below.

Your server must be running the final release version of Windows NT Server 4.0 (build 1381) in order to use Dfs. In addition, your server must have Service Pack 3 or greater installed.

Important Note If you have Microsoft TechNet follow the instructions in the Administrator's Guide section below titled "Installing Dfs" to copy the self-extracting file for your processor-platform from the TechNet CD. Then you don't need to download the file from the Microsoft Web site as indicated in the next step.

You can download a self-extracting compressed file containing the Dfs software from the Microsoft Web site at the following location:

http://www.microsoft.com/NTServer/nts/downloads/winfeatures/NTSDistrFile/default.asp

Be sure to obtain the proper file for your processor platform (x86 or Alpha). For example, use the file Dfs-v41-i386.exe for an x86 processor.

Run the self-extracting compressed file to automatically copy the Dfs .cab files to your systemroot\system32\dfs directory.

Once you have downloaded and executed the Dfs cabinet file for your processor platform, you are ready to install Dfs on your server. Use the following procedure for a first-time installation of Dfs on Windows NT Server.

Note: If you are running a prior release of Dfs, use the specific upgrade instructions that follow these installation instructions.

To install Dfs for the first time on Windows NT Server

  1. Double-click My Computer, and then double-click Control Panel.

  2. Double-click Network.

  3. Click the Services tab, and then click Add.

  4. Click Have Disk.

    Important: If Distributed File System appears in the Network Service list, do not select it. Instead, click Have Disk.

  5. Type systemroot\system32\dfs, and click OK. For example, if Windows NT Server is installed in the c:\winnt folder, type c:\winnt\system32\dfs.

  6. Click Distributed File System, and click OK.

  7. To host a Dfs root volume on this server, select the Host a Dfs on share check box. 8.If the folder that will serve as the root exists and is shared, type or select the share name.

    ­­Or­­

    To use a new share as the root, click New Share and specify the folder.

  8. Click OK, and then restart the computer to complete the installation.

Note: For instructions on using this directory to install Dfs on additional servers, see the Dfs Administrator's Guide (Dfsdoc.htm).

Use the following procedure if you already have Dfs installed on your server.

To upgrade to the Dfs maintenance release on Windows NT Server

  1. Make a backup copy of your existing Dfs junction topology. To do so, click Save As from the Dfs menu in Dfs Administrator (Dfsadmin.exe), then type a file name and click Save.

  2. Double-click My Computer, double-click Control Panel, and then double-click Network.

  3. Click the Services tab, click Distributed File System, and then click Update.

  4. Type systemroot\system32\dfs, and click Continue. For example, if Windows NT Server is installed in the c:\winnt folder, type c:\winnt\system32\dfs.

  5. Click Close, and then click Yes to restart the computer.

To verify the version of your Windows NT Dfs installation, in Windows NT Explorer, right-click the Dfsadmin.exe file (or any file located in systemroot\system32\Dfs matching Dfs*.exe, Dfs*.sys, or Dfs*.dll), click Properties, and then click the Version tab. The file version displayed should be 4.10.

Note: The original Dfs Version 4.0 has a file version mask of 5.00.14xx.1.

The Windows 95 Dfs client has no version mask that can be viewed from NT. To verify the 4.1 version mask, you must view them either directly from Windows 95 or check the file dates (as described in the section "To upgrade the Dfs client for Windows 95 from an earlier release," below.

Installing the Dfs Client on Windows 95

Dfs includes client software that enables computers running Windows 95 to gain access to Dfs paths. You can download this software to a Windows 95 computer in the following ways:

  • Use a Windows 95 computer to download the software directly from the Internet by clicking the option for the Windows 95 client software (Dfs-v41-win95client.exe). Upon running Dfs-v41-win95client.exe, the .cab files are copied to the windir\system\Dfs directory on the Windows 95 computer.

  • Share or copy the Windows 95 client software from the systemroot\system32\dfs\win95 directory of a Dfs server. You can share this directory and use it for network installation of the Windows 95 Dfs client software, or you can copy the contents of the directory to an installation floppy disk.

Regardless of which of the above methods you use to download the Windows 95 software, you must then install the software as a service on the Windows 95 computer. To do so, use the following procedure.

Note: You may need original Windows 95 media (compact disc or floppy disks) when installing the Dfs client software.

To install the Dfs client software on a Windows 95 computer

  1. If you are installing using software downloaded to a computer running Windows NT Server, share the systemroot\system32\dfs\win95 directory of the server that downloaded the Dfs .cab file, or copy the contents of this directory to a floppy disk. (If you ran the .cab file directly on the Windows 95 computer, skip this step and proceed to step 2.)

  2. On the Start menu on the Windows 95 computer, click Settings, click Control Panel, and then click Network.

  3. Click Add, double-click Service, and then click Have Disk.

    Important: If Distributed File System appears in the Network Service list, there is already a Dfs version installed. You must remove the existing version before installing the new version of Dfs. Follow the instructions in "To Remove the Dfs Client Software from a Windows 95 Computer," below.

  4. Under Copy manufacturer's files from, type the path to the network, floppy disk, or local location of the files (probably windows\system\dfs), and then click OK.

  5. You should see Dfs Services for Microsoft Network Client listed in the Models dialog box. Click OK.

  6. In the Network dialog box, click OK. When prompted to restart your computer, click Yes.

To upgrade the Dfs client for Windows 95 from an earlier release

Changes between previous releases and this release do not permit a direct upgrade of the Windows 95 Dfs client. You must first remove the previous version of the Dfs Client software by following the instructions below in "To remove the Dfs client software from a Windows 95 computer." Then you can install the final release by following the instructions above in "To install the Dfs client software on a Windows 95 computer."

Once you have removed the old Dfs client software for Windows 95 and installed the new version, you may want to verify the version of your Windows 95 Dfs client installation. To do so, in Windows Explorer in Windows 95 (note: You can not check Windows 95 versions from NT), right-click on either Dfs.vxd, Vnetsup.vxd, or Vredir.vxd (located in windows\system), click Properties, and then click the Version tab. The file version displayed should be 4.10.1541 Alternatively, you can compare file dates:

Current Windows 95 Dfs Client v4.1: Dfs.vxd - July 10, 1997 Vredir.vxd - July 10, 1997 Vnetsup.dfs - July 10, 1997 Older Windows 95 Dfs Client v4.0: Dfs.vxd - December 10, 1996 Vredir.vxd - December 11, 1996

Note: If the file dates are not shown in Windows Explorer, click View Details.

To remove the Dfs client software from a Windows 95 computer

You will need original Windows 95 media (compact disc or floppy disks) to remove the Dfs client software from a Windows 95 computer. During the removal process, you must answer Yes or No consistently (that is, always answer Yes, or always answer No) when prompted.

  1. Double-click My Computer, double-click Control Panel, and then double-click Network.

  2. Click the Services tab, click Distributed File System, and then click Remove.

  3. Follow any prompts, then click Close and restart the computer.

Differences between the Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95 Dfs clients

Due to architectural differences between the Windows NT and Windows 95 kernels, the following features are not supported in the Windows 95 Dfs client:

  • Junctions to non-SMB volumes. The Windows 95 Dfs client can only negotiate referrals to other SMB volumes, such as those hosted by Windows NT and Windows 95. All other volumes (example: NFS, NetWare, etc.) will appear as empty directories to the Windows 95 Dfs client. Windows NT does not have this limitation.

  • Net Uses beyond the share level. The Windows 95 Dfs client cannot Net Use beyond the hosting server's share point. Windows NT Clients can perform a Net Use within a Dfs volume to any point of the namespace, as in: Net Use * \\Server\Share\Path1\Path2\etc. The Windows 95 Dfs client can only connect to the share level, as in: Net Use * \\Server\Share

Getting Started with the Dfs Server Service

After you have successfully installed and restarted your server, you can begin using Dfs immediately. To configure shares into Dfs, use Dfs Administrator (Dfsadmin.exe). To start Dfs Administrator, from the Start menu, click Programs, click Administrative Tools, and then click Dfs Administrator.

Dfs Administrator can only be used on Windows NT Workstation, not on Windows 95. In addition, you must access Dfs through its network UNC path, not through a local directory.

To administer Dfs, you must belong to the Administrators group. For more instructions on using Dfs Administrator, see the online Help or the Dfs Administrator's Guide (Dfsdoc.htm).

Any user running Windows NT Server 4.0 or Windows NT Workstation 4.0 (build 1381 or later) can access your Dfs root as though it were any other network share.

Planning

Carefully planning the design of your Dfs root will help you to gain the most benefit from Dfs. A well-planned Dfs structure can make administration easier and simplify the way your organization stores and retrieves information.

Although it is theoretically possible to configure every network share in your organization to be accessed through a single namespace via the Dfs root, it would probably not be advisable to do so. Instead, you should make divisions based on logical categories. Since Dfs maps the physical storage into a logical representation, the net benefit is that the physical location of data becomes transparent to users and applications.

When planning your Dfs root, keep in mind that you can build a two-tiered structure. This consists of a root with leaf volumes, where each leaf can be either a standard Windows NT \\server\share, or an Inter-Dfs junction (a Dfs root hosted on another server).

A server can host only one Dfs root. A standard Dfs tree might be composed of a root and some shares, as in the following example:

dsfnt01

Alternatively, you can join many Dfs roots together to form a multi-tiered tree of Inter-Dfs junctions. In the following example, HR_Server, Dev_Server, and Marketing_Server are all roots of Dfs trees themselves. They in turn become leaf nodes in the overall Dfs tree represented by Dfs_root.

dsfnt02

When you plan departmental Dfs trees, keep in mind that later you may wish to publish each of these individual departmental Dfs trees inside a larger, inter-Dfs tree.

Support

Peer support for Dfs is conducted using a public Internet News Group. The news group is accessible at the following URL:

news:microsoft.public.windowsnt.dfs

You can also get support for the Dfs service and the Windows NT & Windows 95 Dfs client from Microsoft under the same terms as your existing Windows NT terms of support. Additionally, the systemroot\system32 directory contains a Probrep.txt file. You should use this file to report Dfs problems to Microsoft.

Troubleshooting Notes

Enabling unencrypted passwords

The SMB redirector will not send an unencrypted password unless you add a registry entry to enable unencrypted passwords.

To enable unencrypted passwords, add an EnablePlainTextPassword entry in the following key and set the value to "1".

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \System \CurrentControlSet \Services \VxD \VNETSUP

IrpStackSize

While using Dfs, especially if the server has many file systems loaded, you may need to increase the value of the IRPStackSize entry for the server. The range of this value is 1-12 (the default is 4).

To increase the value, add the IrpStackSize entry (REG_DWORD) to the following key and set it to a value higher than 4:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \System \CurrentControlSet \Services \LanmanServer\Parameters

General usage

Any computer running Windows NT 4.0 (along with Windows 95 clients that run the Dfs client software) can potentially access a Dfs tree simply by referring to \\dfs_server_name\dfs_root. If you encounter a problem from one client while others appear to have no problem, check to see if the client can view the shared resource directly, not through Dfs. For example, if \\server1\share is included in a Dfs tree with the Dfs path name \\dfsserver\dfs\server1, check to make sure the client can access \\server1\share.

If the client cannot access the share directly, one of the following may be the problem:

  • Permissions - does the user have sufficient permissions for the share?

  • Client - does the client have the proper redirector loaded (MS redirector, NetWare, etc.)?

  • Protocol - does the client have the proper protocols installed?

Connecting to Dfs shares or home directories with explicit credentials

If a user explicitly specifies a user name and password when connecting to a Dfs share, additional connections to that Dfs share will fail unless the same user name and password are again explicitly specified. To connect to the same Dfs share an additional time, the user must specify the same credentials again. This problem affects a user who has a Dfs share specified as the user's home directory (in the user profile), because the user's home directory is always connected with explicit credentials.

Known Issues

250-character length limit for path names

Publishing a path name whose length is greater than 250 characters is not supported.

Publishing volumes from nonexistent servers

With Dfs, it is possible to publish volumes from servers that don't physically exist. The intent is to permit volumes to be published which are either temporarily offline or which are inaccessible to the administering workstation (for example, the workstation does not have the correct protocols to verify the new volume's validity). If Dfs can contact the server, then the share is validated prior to publishing into the Dfs namespace.

Disk space considerations

Developers writing applications that use GetDiskFreeSpaceEx to determine available free disk space should keep in mind that the amount of space available may vary depending on whether alternate shares (shares hosted on different servers) are available.

IP addresses

IP address naming is not supported in the Dfs Administrator tool. For example, specifying "\\124.100.100.100\junctionpoint" as a junction is not supported. However, resolving a server's IP address as part of the client's name resolution is supported. For example, "Dir \\124.100.100.100\DfsShare" is supported by the client.

Integration with early releases of Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS, formerly known as Wolfpack) for Windows NT Server, Enterprise Edition

Windows NT Dfs 4.x will not function properly during a Windows NT cluster failover. This issue will be addressed in the Windows NT 5.0 timeframe.

Loops

The Dfs Administration Tool does not prevent the creation of loops (for example, Server 1 junctions to Server 2, which then junctions back to Server 1). Loops will eventually exit once their path length exceeds 255 characters.

Maximum number of alternates

The maximum number of supported alternates for any junction point is 32.

Future Releases of Dfs

The following Dfs features are planned for the future release of Windows NT Server version 5.0. Note that the following list consists of preliminary information and is subject to change without notice.

  • The Dfs 5.x root can be hosted by multiple participating servers. With Dfs 4.x, there is a single Dfs root.

  • Dfs 5.x junctions hierarchically junction to other Windows NT 5.0 servers without a fresh referral. With Dfs 4.x, hierarchical junctions are only possible with Inter-Dfs links (which entail a fresh referral at each level of the hierarchy).

  • Dfs 5.x clients will intelligently select alternates based on sites. If two alternates are located in different sites, the client will take preference to the alternate located in the same site as the client.

  • Dfs 5.x will leverage the Windows NT 5.0 File Replication Service to optionally permit replication of file changes between Dfs alternates.

  • Dfs 5.x services will work with Microsoft Cluster Server for high availability.

  • Windows NT 5.0 will include a newly designed Dfs Administrator tool which conforms to the Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

  • Windows NT 5.0 will ship with Dfs 5.x in the box. There will be no need for a separate download or install. Additionally, localization to other languages and support via service packs will be available.

MS Distributed File System for MS Windows NT Server 4.0 Administrator's Guide

Contents

Practical Uses of Dfs Trees
How Dfs Works
Installing Dfs
Administering Dfs Trees

Microsoft® Distributed File System for Microsoft Windows NT® Server (Dfs) enables distributed file system capabilities on Windows NT Server. A distributed file system provides a single tree structure for multiple shared volumes located on different servers on a network. A user accessing a volume on a Dfs tree does not need to know the name of the server where the volume is actually shared.

With the Dfs software, you can create a Dfs tree root on any server running Windows NT Server version 4.0. Each Dfs tree you create is accessible by users of computers running Windows NT Workstation version 4.0, Windows NT Server version 4.0, and Windows® 95.

This document explains what Dfs is, why it is useful, and how to create and administer Dfs trees on Windows NT Server version 4.0.

For additional details about this release, see "About This Release" near the beginning of the Release Notes (Readme.doc).

Practical Uses of Dfs Trees

A Dfs tree makes network access easier for users, who no longer have to manually locate which server any particular resource is on. After connecting to the root of the Dfs tree, they can then browse for and access all resources contained within the tree, no matter which server on which the resource is physically located.

With Dfs, if a server goes down and you need to replace it, or you need to move a volume from one server to another, you can do so without informing users of the change. Instead, you modify the Dfs tree to refer to the new server location for the resource, and users can continue to use the same Dfs path to access the volume.

Because you can have multiple Dfs trees on your network, you can create a different Dfs tree for each type of user on your network. For example, an engineering firm could create one Dfs tree containing all the volumes needed by their engineers, another for payroll and benefits people, and so on. Any particular volume can be included in one or more Dfs trees, ensuring that every user can access all the resources they need.

With Dfs, you can increase data availability and transparently distribute load across multiple servers. This is because multiple servers can serve as duplicate storage points for a single volume.

Dfs gives you the flexibility to expand your network as smoothly as possible. When you add disk storage to your network, the physical server on which you add it can be independent of where in the logical namespace the new storage is made available.

Dfs also complements Microsoft Internet Information Server. For example, if you set up a World Wide Web site on your network, you could have the root of the web site be the root of a Dfs tree. If you later move a resource within the Dfs tree, all HTML links will continue to work.

How Dfs Works

Dfs organizes your shared-file resources into a tree structure. A shared-file resource that is part of a Dfs tree can be accessed by either its Dfs path name or its \\servername\sharename path.

Each Dfs tree has one rootvolume. The root volume can have one level of volumes, called leafvolumes, beneath it. Leaf volumes can be physically located on different servers than the root volume.

The root volume must be hosted on a server running Windows NT Server version 4.0 and the Dfs software. Leaf volumes can be hosted on any type of Microsoft server, or any other server software for which a Windows NT-based client is available. This includes any version of Windows NT Server or Windows NT Workstation, NetWare, Windows 95, Windows for Workgroups, LAN Manager, or NFS. (Banyan volumes can not be added to Dfs trees, however.)

Figure 1 shows a sample Dfs tree. The Dfs paths to each volume are shown in bold, while the network paths are shown in italics.

Cc750189.dsfnt03(en-us,TechNet.10).gif

Figure 1: A sample Dfs tree structure

You can have multiple Dfs trees on your network. Any shared folder can be a volume in multiple Dfs trees.

The various folders on a particular server can be made volumes on different Dfs trees, but a server can have only one folder that serves as a Dfs root.

Dfs automatically creates short file and directory names for long names, so that 16-bit applications can use Dfs paths to access files.

Nesting and Expanding Dfs Trees

Although each particular Dfs tree is limited to two levels of volumes, each volume can contain multiple levels of folders. Additionally, you can create a multi-leveled tree by nesting Dfs trees inside of each other. You do this by adding the root volume of one Dfs tree as a leaf volume in another Dfs. Creating a multi-level tree this way is transparent to users; they do not know when they have crossed from one Dfs tree to another.

You can also add levels to a Dfs tree by using the local storage of the server hosting the root volume. Any files and folders under the Dfs root volume will be visible through the Dfs tree. In addition, when you add leaf volumes to a Dfs tree, you can add them under folders at any level under the Dfs volume directory. In the sample in Figure 1, info is a folder added locally at the server under the folder shared as dfs. The reports and releases volumes are added under the info folder.

Volumes That Include Alternate Paths

Note that some volumes on a Dfs tree (such as \\human_resources\dfs\benefits in the example in Figure 1) can use one or more shared folders for storage. If a volume uses more than one shared folder, it has alternate paths.

Alternate paths provide load balancing, and allow the volume to be accessed even if one of the volume servers goes down. However, the Dfs software does not replicate information between the two servers; network administrators must ensure that the data on the servers stays synchronized through other means.

Because the Dfs software does not synchronize alternate paths automatically (without third-party replication software), alternate paths are best suited for read-only volumes, where users will not be adding files or modifying existing files.

Security

The Dfs software does not add any permissions or security limitations beyond those already assigned to the files or shares themselves. A user can access a volume through the Dfs tree as long as the user has permission to access the shared folder directly.

It is not necessary for a user to have permissions for a root volume in order to access leaf volumes. For example, in the tree in Figure 1, if a user has permissions for the share \\insurance\public (located in the Dfs as \\human_resources\dfs\insurance), then the user can access that share through the Dfs tree, even if the user does not have permissions for the \\human_resources\dfs share.

Only administrators can administer a Dfs tree.

Local File Structure on Servers that Contain Root Volumes

When you add a leaf volume to a Dfs tree, a blank folder is automatically created in the root volume directory. This blank folder serves as a junction point to the leaf volume.

Dfs prevents you from deleting any of these folders manually. If you use Dfs Administrator to remove a volume, the junction point folder is automatically removed.

If you delete the Dfs software from a root server without first removing the leaf volumes from the Dfs tree it hosted, you can then delete the junction point folders manually.

How Users See and Connect To Dfs Trees

Users view and access resources through a Dfs tree just as they view and access other resources on the network. When browsing a network, a Dfs root appears just like a share name of a shared folder in \\servername\dfsname syntax. For example, with the sample Dfs tree in Figure 1, a user browsing the network would see dfs as a shared directory available under the human_resources server.

Users can browse through a tree transparently, no matter the location of each volume or the file system used for that volume. Users can make connections to and assign local drive letters to the root folder of a Dfs tree. Users of Windows NT computers can also make connections and assign drive letters to any folder at any level of a Dfs tree.

When a user views the contents of the root volume through its Dfs name, they see both the leaf volumes located under that volume, as well as any contents of the shared folder that comprises the rootvolume. For example, in Figure 1, when a user views the contents of \\human_resources\dfs, they see the benefits, insurance, and health Dfs volumes, as well as any files and folders located in the \\human_resources\dfs folder.

Users of computers with Windows NT Workstation or Windows NT Server version 4.0, and users of Windows 95 computers that have the Dfs client software installed can see and access Dfs trees. Older versions of Windows NT and other client operating systems cannot see or access Dfs trees, but still can use conventional \\servername\sharename syntax to access shared folders that are included in Dfs trees.

Windows 95 Dfs clients have some additional limitations which do not apply to Windows NT clients:

  • The Windows 95 client cannot access non-SMB leaf volumes.

  • The Windows 95 client cannot use the DNS namespace as part of accessing Windows NT shares (for example, DIR \\DFS.Microsoft.Com\Public).

Installing Dfs

You must install the Dfs server software on any server that will host a root volume of a Dfs tree. The Dfs software does not need to be installed on servers that will host only leaf volumes.

When you run the self-extracting installation file, it is automatically installed on the computer you use to extract the software. Dfs also creates a systemroot\system32\dfs folder on that computer that contains all the Dfs files.

You can then use this folder to install Dfs on other computers in your organization. When you do so, you can connect directly over the network to the systemroot\system32\dfs folder on the source server, or you can first copy the files from the source server to a single floppy disk, and use the disk for installation. When you install Dfs on an additional computer this way, be sure to install by using the files for the correct platform (such as x86, MIPS, PPC, or Alpha). (Your Microsoft TechNet CD only contains the x86, Alpha, and Windows 95 files)

To install Dfs:

Installation Requirements:

Microsoft Dfs requires Windows NT Server version 4.0 (Build 1381) with Service Pack 3 or greater. This maintenance release is also for x86 and Alpha processors only.

Click here to access this information

File sizes of the self-extracting files:

Dfs41w95.exe (275 KB compressed)

Dfs41i386.exe (442 KB compressed)
Dfs41axp.exe (550 KB compressed)

After you have copied the software from the TechNet CD:

  1. Make a connection to the systemroot\system32\dfs folder on the source server, or insert the floppy disk you made into the target server.

  2. On the Start menu on the target server, click Settings, and then click Control Panel.

  3. Double-click Network.

  4. Click the Services tab, and then click Add.

  5. Click Have Disk.

  6. Type the path to either the systemroot\system32\dfs folder on the target server, or to the root of the floppy disk, and then click OK.

  7. Click Distributed File System, and then click OK.

  8. To host a Dfs root volume on this server, select the Host a Dfs on share box.

  9. If the folder that will serve as the root exists and is shared, type or select the share name. Or, to use a new share as the root, click New Share and specify the folder.

  10. Click OK.

Installing The Dfs Client Software on a Windows 95 Computer

For information on installing the Dfs client software on computers running Windows 95, see the release notes, readme.doc.

Administering Dfs Trees

You administer Dfs trees by using the Dfsadmin tool.

With Dfsadmin, you can add and remove volumes to a Dfs tree, modify volumes, create alternate paths to a volume, and view and configure information about the volumes contained in a tree. You can remotely administer any Dfs tree on the network that you have permissions for.

To start Dfsadmin

  1. On the Start menu, click Programs, then click Administrative Tools, then click Dfs Administrator.

    -Or-

    On the Start, menu, click Run. In the Open box, type dfsadmin, and then click OK.

Installing the Dfs Administration Tool on Another Computer

You can install the Dfsadmin tool on any computer running Windows NT Workstation version 4.0 or Windows NT Server version 4.0. To do so, copy dfsadmin.exe and dfsadmin.hlp from the systemroot\system32\dfs folder on a computer that has the Dfs software installed, to the systemroot\system32 folder on the computer you want to use for administration.

Creating a Dfs Tree Root

You can create root volumes only on servers that have the Dfs software installed.

To create a root volume for a new Dfs tree

  1. On Control Panel, double-click Network.

  2. Click the Services tab.

  3. Double-click Distributed File System.

  4. Select the Host a Dfs on share check box.

  5. If the folder that will serve as the root exists and is shared, type or select the share name. Or, to use a new share as the root, click New Share and specify the folder.

  6. Click OK.

Adding a Volume to a Dfs Tree

Any folder you want to add to the Dfs tree must already be shared.

To add a volume to a Dfs tree

  1. In the Dfsadmin main window, select the volume under which you want the new volume to appear.

  2. On the Dfs menu, click Add To Dfs.

  3. Under When a user references this path, type the volume name for the new volume as an extension of a current volume in the tree. For example, if you are creating the \\human_resources\dfs\insurance volume in Figure 1, you would type insurance immediately after \\human_resources\dfs\. (To add the new volume farther down in the directory tree, type as much of the path as you need; for example, to create the \\human_resources\dfs\info\reports volume, you would type info\reports after \\human_resources\dfs\.) You can use the Browse button to browse the current structure of the Dfs tree, and select the Dfs path to append your new volume to.

  4. Under Send the user to this network path, type the path of the shared folder to add as a volume. (Or use the Browse button to browse the network and select the volume.)

  5. Optionally, type a comment in the Comment box.

  6. Click OK.

Removing a Volume from a Dfs Tree

To remove a volume from the Dfs

  1. In the Dfsadmin main window, select the volume to remove.

  2. On the Dfs menu, click Remove From Dfs.

  3. Click Yes.

Adding Alternate Paths for a Volume

A volume can use one or more shared folders for its storage. If the volume uses more than one, it has alternate paths.

When a volume includes alternate paths, user requests to access the volume are distributed among the alternate paths.

The Dfs software does not ensure that the contents of the alternate paths of a volume are replicated. Network administrators must manually ensure that the alternates stay synchronized.

To add an alternate path for a volume

  1. In the Dfsadmin main window, double-click the volume.

  2. Click Add.

  3. Click Yes.

  4. Under send the user to this network path, type the path of the shared folder to add as an alternate path for the volume.

Removing a Volume's Alternate Path

To remove an alternate path from a volume

  1. In the Dfsadmin main window, double-click the volume.

  2. Under Send the user to this network path, select the network path you want to remove.

  3. Click Remove.

  4. Click OK.

Saving and Restoring the Dfs Structure Table

You can save the current structure of the Dfs tree to a file, which you can later reload to restore the Dfs volume structure. Note that this saves only the links between volumes, not any volume contents. The save files are server-specific comma separate files, with a .csv file extension

To save the current Dfs tree structure

  1. On the Dfs menu, click Save As.

  2. Type a name for the file in the File name box, and then click Save.

To restore a previous Dfs tree structure

  1. On the Dfs menu, click Load.

  2. Select the file to restore, and then click Open.

Filtering the View of Volumes

You can filter the list of volumes shown in the Dfsadmin main window. You can filter volumes by name, comment, and the number of alternate servers that provide storage for the volume.

To filter the list of volumes

  1. On the View menu, click Filter.

  2. Click the filtering option you want, and then click OK.

For more information on any of the filtering options, right-click the option and then click What's This?

Stopping and Starting the Dfs Service

Dfs is implemented as a service (the Distributed File Service). When Dfs is installed on a server, the Distributed File Service is configured to start automatically when the computer starts.

You can start and stop the service manually by using either Services in Control Panel or the command line. The commands are net stop dfs and net start dfs.

Administering a DFS Tree From the Command Prompt

DFS provides the following commands you can use from the command prompt.

dfscmd /map \\dfsname\dfsshare\path \\server\share\path [comment]

Adds the shared folder \\server\share\path as a volume in the specified Dfs tree.

dfscmd /unmap \\dfsname\dfsshare\path

Removes the volume from the Dfs tree.

dfscmd /add \\dfsname\dfsshare\path \\server\share\path

Adds \\server\share\path as an alternate path for the specified Dfs volume.

dfscmd /remove \\dfsname\dfsshare\path \\server\share\path

Removes the specified alternate path from the specified volume.

dfscmd /view \\dfsname\dfsshare [/partial | /full]

Displays all the volumes in the Dfs tree. Without arguments, only the volume names are displayed. Specifying /partial causes comments for each volume to also be displayed. Specifying /full causes the network path of each volume (including all alternate paths) to be displayed.

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