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Something in XP SP2 messed up DFS?

Published to Blog on 22 Sep 2004

Though I have a fairly simple network at home (for a developer), I choose to use DFS (Distributed File System) to keep track of all my shares in one place - exactly what DFS was designed for.

I have a W2K machine that is a combination web server/database server that runs DFS as well as has several shares on it (one for Inetpub, one for database backup folder, ...), a Linux server that runs a couple of PHP sites, PostgreSQL and some other fun Linux stuff, my primary workstation (XP Pro) which contains a couple of large drives and tends to be my storage, and then my wife's computer (XP Home) and the kids' computer (W2K).  I probably don't need to use DFS, but it makes it easy for me to know that I can find all my shares for the network by just going to the one computer to get them.

As I mentioned, I have two shares on my workstation that are included in my network's DFS - a “Dan's Documents” folder that has about 20GB of data in it - basically my desktop, favorites, Outlook pst file, all word documents, project info, etc.  I also have a large “Storage” folder that basically is a file dump where I put everything else: archived files, downloaded apps, things I want to try but haven't yet, etc.  Recently when I tried to access those shares through mapped drive letters on my workstation (through DFS) I got an error something like: Could not access Drive J:. Network path not found, connection has not been restored.  I assumed that it would fix itself after reboot, but I still get the same.  I can access the shares through DFS from other computers on the network fine.  Did XP SP2 change something so that I cannot access a DFS share when the DFS points back to a share on the same computer?!?

If I try to type in the network path, using DFS, then I get a message saying something about not having permissions - that's just ridiculous.  If I try to access the share directly, it works fine.  I can access all the other shares on the network through DFS fine.  What is going on?!?

I know, it is an easy fix - I can just remap my drives on my workstation so that they do not use DFS, but just point directly to the shares on the local machine.  But, I don't want to do that!  I want to know why it stopped working - I have used the same setup for about 3 years now perfectly.  I guess I will have to do some googling to see if I can figure this out.  But, I'm not going to put too much work into it - I'll just resort to the easy fix if I have to.  

UPDATE: 9/27/2004 - after doing some “googling” and not finding much, I decided to just change the mapped drives on my local machine to point directly to the drives on my local machine rather than attempt to go through DFS.  Result: the problem is “fixed”, but I've lost a little faith in Microsoft.  'Tis a sad day.

    Dan Hounshell
    Web geek, nerd, amateur maker. Likes: apis, node, mobile, motorcycles, watches, food, Nashville, Savannah, Cincinnati and family. Dislikes: mean people
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    • On 23 Sep 2004 Clark said:

      You didn't really just use google as a verb did you?

    • On 24 Sep 2004 Dan said:

      Why yes I did!