How to Install Distributed File System (DFS) on Windows 2000

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SUMMARY

Distributed file system (Dfs) is used to make files distributed across multiple servers appear to users as if they reside in one place on the network. Because of this, users no longer need to know or specify the actual physical location of files in order to obtain access to them. Dfs can be implemented as stand-alone or domain-based. Domain-based Dfs has the following advantages:
  • Windows 2000 automatically publishes the Dfs topology in the Active Directory, making it visible to users on all servers in the domain.
  • The administrator has the ability to replicate the Dfs roots and shared folders to multiple servers in the domain. By doing so users are permitted to obtain access to their files even if one of the physical servers on which the files reside becomes unavailable.

Dfs Architecture

In addition to the server-based Dfs component of Windows 2000, there is also a client-based Dfs component. The Dfs client caches a referral to a Dfs root or a Dfs link for a specific length of time, configured by the administrator. A computer running the Dfs client must be a member of the same domain as the server hosting the Dfs root. The Dfs client component runs on a number of different Windows platforms.

Platform: DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows for Workgroups, NetWare
Host Dfs client: No
Host Dfs root: No

Platform: Windows 95
Host Dfs client: Yes, requires client for Dfs 4.x and 5.0 add-on
Host Dfs root: No

Platform: Windows 98
Host Dfs client: Yes, Dfs 4.x and 5.0 (stand-alone) client included; requires client for Dfs 5.0 add-on (domain-based)
Host Dfs root: No

Platform: Windows NT 4.0 and Service Pack 3
Host Dfs client: Yes, Dfs 4.x and 5.0 (stand-alone) client included
Host Dfs root: Yes, stand-alone server only

Platform: Windows 2000
Host Dfs client: Dfs 5.0 client included
Host Dfs root: Yes, stand-alone and domain-based server or domain controller

MORE INFORMATION

A member server or a domain controller may be used to host a Dfs root, but the host server is limited to only one Dfs root. The Dfs root may be located on a file allocation table (FAT) partition, but a Windows NT File System (NTFS) partition offers support for synchronization of Dfs shared folders, in addition to considerable security advantages.

To create a Dfs root:

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Distributed File System.
  2. On the Action menu, click New Dfs Root, and then click Next.
  3. In the Select the Dfs Root Type window, click to select Create a domain Dfs root, or Create a standalone Dfs root, and then click Next.
  4. If you are creating a domain-based Dfs root, click the name of the domain where you want to create the Dfs root, and then click Next.
  5. Enter the name of the host computer for the Dfs root or click Browse to select a server name, and then click Next.
  6. In the Specify the Dfs Root Share window, click an existing shared folder or specify the path and name of a new shared folder to create, and then click Next.
  7. Accept the default name for the Dfs root or specify a new name, and then click Next.
  8. Click Finish to create the new Dfs root.
  9. Restart your computer.
NOTE: To add an additional Dfs root share, repeat the above procedure.

To add a Dfs shared folder:

NOTE: The first shared folder is added when you create the Dfs link.
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click Distributed File System.
  2. In the console tree, right-click the Dfs root to which you want to assign a shared folder, and then click New Dfs Link.
  3. In the Link Name box, enter the logical name for this subfolder.
  4. In the Send the user to this shared folder box, enter the name of a shared folder, or click Browse to select from the list of available shared folders, and then click OK.
If the Dfs partition is NTFS, choose one of the following:
  • Click to select the Join Replication check box to have the files that are located in the Dfs root or Dfs link that you selected automatically replicate as changes occur to the source file. This option requires the host server for the Dfs root or Dfs link to be a domain member.
  • Click to select the No Replication check box to have the source file remain unchanged.
NOTE: Automatic replication is not available for stand-alone distributed file systems.

You may now copy the files to be replicated from the selected Dfs Root or Dfs link to the Dfs shared folder.

Properties

Article ID: 241452 - Last Review: March 1, 2007 - Revision: 3.2
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
Keywords: 
kbhowto kbnetwork KB241452

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