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Distributed File System

In a Microsoft network, the shared folders can be found within the servers that host them. Normally, the combination of shared folder and server is written using what is known as a universal naming convention (or UNC) name in the form \\server\folder. On a large network, finding things can be difficult because the users don't know which server hosts the resource they are seeking. Active Directory in Windows 2000 helps with this because information about shared folders can be published and searched by users. However, a user may still need a bewildering array of drive letters and shortcuts to connect to shared folders they need.

With the World Wide Web, we have become used to the idea of links in one place that take us to somewhere else. And it is links that drive the Distributed File System. The idea of DFS is simple: shared folders can contain links that store the UNC name of another shared folder. Although these links look like subfolders, when a user tries to access the subfolder, the network client software on their computer recognizes a link and connects to a shared folder that it points to. This might be on the same server or a completely different server that might not even be running Windows 2000.


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