Distributed File System or DFS is the feature in Windows server 2003 that allows administrators to configure a one-stop-shop for all users from where they can access the data which may be scattered around all over the local area network on several computers. This means that there might be numerous computers in a network and every computer might have one or more shared folders in order to provide access to other users using network path. This practice might be quite hectic for users as they need to remember several network locations to get their data. With help of DFS administrators can create a central point and can map this shared central point to every user account. Whenever a user wants to access any data he just needs to access the root location created by the administrator. You can configure DFS by following the steps given below:
- Log on to the domain controller using administrator account.
- Click on Start button.
- Go to Administrative Tools and from the submenu click on Distributed File System.
- On the Distributed File System snap-in right click on Distributed File System node and from the context menu click on New Root.
- From Welcome to the New Root Wizard page click on Next button.
- On the Root Type page make sure that Domain root radio button is selected and click on Next button.
- On Host a Domain page ensure that your domain name is selected (TESTDOMAIN.COM in this case) and click on Next button.
- On Host Server page type the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of the server which will work as the host server for Distributed File System (PCTIPS-3000.TESTDOMAIN.COM in this case) and click on Next button.
- On Root Name page specify a name by which you want the domain users to locate the DFS root. Optionally you can type the comment in the Comment text box. You will see the network path of the root in the grayed Preview of UNC path to the root text box.
- Once satisfied with the name and comments click on Next button.
- On Completing the New Root Wizard page go through the summary carefully and click on Finish button.
- Back on Distributed File System snap-in right click on the newly created root and from the context menu click on New Link.
- In the New Link box in Link Name text box type the name of the shared folder by which you want the domain users to recognize a particular shared folder that contains data.
- In Path to target (shared folder) text box type the network path of the shared folder which you want to link with this DFS root. Alternatively you can click on browse button to locate the shared folder.
- Once done click on Ok button on all the Windows to accept and confirm you selections/configurations.
To make task even easier for the users you can use Startup/Shutdown or Logon/Logoff scripts to map the DFS root folder has a network drive on all user accounts.