Windows (Vista and 7) Connecting to Storage Space on Servers


This is a guide to accessing smb-shared (a.k.a. Windows file sharing) filespace on Biology, Microbiology, and Geosciences departmental servers. All users with accounts on these servers are generally authorized to connect to a subdirectory ("net-private) of their account home directory using Windows file sharing protocols; authorization to access additional space requires approval of the owner of the space. Before users can access shared space they must activate their department account.

Authentication Considerations

When accessing shared resources, the default behavior of Windows is to attempt to authenticate with the username and password of the Windows account the user is using. Access is granted if the Windows username and password corresponds to a username and password on the server to be accessed, when that server account is authorized to use the resource.

'net-private' access

As mentioned earlier, users with accounts on department servers have a "net-private" subdirectory in their server account's home directory. If your Windows Vista/7 account's username and password matches your server account's username and password try connecting using the following steps

  1. click the Windows "Start" menu

  2. in the "Search for programs and files" search field enter "\\‹server name›\net-private" without the quotes; depending on your home department substitute one of,, or for ‹server name›

  3. press "Enter"/"Return" on the keyboard; a window, possibly empty, should open; the address bar should display a path "Network > ‹server name› > net-private"

Mapping a "network drive"

Accessing smb-shared file space on a regular basis can be simplified by mapping the resource. This means configuring a Windows client to assign an unused drive letter to the shared space and present the resource to the user as though it were a drive attached to the workstation.

  1. click the Windows "Start" menu

  2. right-click "Computer", select "Map network drive..." from the drop-down menu

  3. select an unused drive letter from the "Drive:" menu

  4. enter a valid CIFS (Common Internet File System) path to the shared space to be mapped; for a user's 'net-private' share that would be "\\‹server name›\net-private", as in 'net-private' access, step 2. If a check mark is placed in the "Reconnect at logon" box the resource will be mapped automatically when logging in to the current Windows' user account.