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Chapter 4.  Configuring the Windows 2000... > Gain quick access to network resourc...

4.11. Gain quick access to network resources

All your system's local volumes appear in My Computer along with any network shares that are mapped to local drive IDs. You can browse for shared network resources through My Network Places. Opening My Computer to access a volume doesn't take much time, but browsing for a network share can require several clicks and a sometimes lengthy wait for the interface to respond on a busy network.

You can get quicker access to local volumes, mapped or unmapped network shares, network printers, and remote computers by creating shortcuts to those resources right on the desktop, in the Quick Launch toolbar, or in another toolbar on the taskbar. You also can use UNC pathnames to quickly access network resources that are not mapped to local drive IDs.

4.11.1. Create shortcuts to local and network resources

You can create shortcuts on the desktop, in a folder, or on a toolbar to shared network resources to make it easier and quicker to access those resources than going through My Network Places. Creating a shortcut is an easy task:

  1. Open My Network Places and browse to the location where the network resource resides.

  2. Right-drag the resource (printer or shared folder) to the desktop or to a toolbar and choose Create Shortcut(s) Here. Alternatively, right-click the desktop or the target toolbar and choose New Shortcut. In the Create Shortcut wizard specify the path to the resource using its UNC pathname (see the next section).

4.11.2. Use UNC pathnames

UNC stands for Universal Naming Convention. A UNC pathname specifies an absolute path to a network resource such as a shared folder or printer. A UNC pathname takes the form \\server\share\subshares, where server is the name of the computer sharing the resource, share is the name by which the resource is shared, and subshares represent additional levels in the remote folder structure. For example, assume that a computer named Barney shares a folder with the share name Documents. You could reference the folder with the UNC pathname \\ Barney\ Documents. You could also reference subfolders of the Documents share or documents on the UNC pathname, for example, \\ Barney\ Documents\ Letters\ Resignation.doc.

One advantage to using UNC pathnames to reference resources is that you don't have to map the resource to a local drive ID. This frequently saves time if you're using only a few resources from the remote computer and don't use the resources often enough to warrant mapping a drive letter. It's also handy when you know the server and share name but can't remember what drive ID is mapped to the share.

Following are some places where you might use a UNC pathname:

  • In the Create Shortcut wizard, to specify a network resource without browsing to it

  • In the Address bar in Explorer, to quickly browse to a specific share

  • In the Open or Save dialog box of an application, to open a file from a network share or save to a network share without a mapped drive ID

Just type the UNC pathname to a resource any time you would otherwise specify a mapped drive ID or path to a network printer.

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