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Windows 7: Getting back to traditional networking

22 Dec 2010   #1

Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon | Win 7 Ult x64
Getting back to traditional networking

I've been reading comments on this forum for a few weeks and can see that Windows 7 is very popular. Alas, I wish I felt as optimistic as many others do here. But I'm hoping for some answers that might make my experiences with Windows 7 a little more rewarding.

I have a traditional network. A bunch of computers connected together, for the most part, with Cat6, through a switch and connected to the outside world by Cable Internet. Each of the client machines is a Windows 7 Ultimate system, pretty much identical in configuration, with small hard disks. I also have some iPhones and a laptop connecting wirelessly.

These all connect to a server running (for better or worse), Windowx XP, which also runs Coldfusion, a Syslog facility and a few other services. All of our family's data is stored on the server. A single point of failure I know, but I'm comfortable that the daily backups, offline storage (DVD), and the nature of the data is such that a data loss would not be significant. It also limits duplication of data.

Connected to this server are USB drives for near-line storage of backups. Each client has a mapped drive for their personal data, accessible only to them and the administrator (little ol' me :)), and a shared drive for miscellanous stuff we all want to access.

I do backups of the clients, only for the purpose of expedient client recovery - not data recovery.

The server has 9 terrabytes of storage. Each of the different types of data is stored on a separate drive. There is no mirroring or RAID in use, mainly because of physical space and cost considerations.

Each drive is mapped to a drive letter on the clients.

So why on earth would I need homegroups or libraries?

I've spent some time reading up on these features and they hold no benefits for me that I can see. Not given my preference to centralise all data, backups and reduce individual client PC costs.

So if they are of no value to me there must be some way to get rid of them - completely. I think I've succeeded with Homegroups.

Not so with libraries. I've tried the registry hacks around the place. They don't eliminate libraries from everywhere.

The libraries "place" always seems to be the default for open and save. It's starting to really get on my nerves. I'd prefer "computer" to be the default - everywhere.

I don't use the navigation pane in explorer - specifically to avoid seeing the Libraries entry.

Another of my pet hates is the fact that explorer fails to remember window sizes, position and view settings when you open each folder in a new window. I had to buy an application to do that for me. I assume there has been no change in Micro$oft's position on this? Nothing in SP1 perhaps?

Finally, Windows update, as you can probably guess, is a service I'd rather have disabled. Considering how expensive Internet plans are in Australia, wasting our download allowances can be quite frustrating. I'd rather download updates once, and install them from a central location. I'm yet to find some free software that can automate this effectively and reliably, but that's not my point.

I constantly find that despite me setting the automatic updates to "Notify but don't download or install", that it gets changed back to "Install updates Automatically", and this happens on all machines. Is there a known fix for this?

Any help is appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Dec 2010   #2

Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon | Win 7 Ult x64
Windows 7 libraries - if I must.. maybe

Looks as if I'm going to have to change 20 years of computing habits. For so long I've run a server with drives mapped on the clients. With that sort of config libraries offer no benefits.

But it seems they are so core in win7 that there's really no way to get rid of them, damn it!

I've found the Win7 Library tool that will allow me to replace the mapped drive with a number of libraries with a single location for each.

Where I draw the line though is having the disgusting navigation pane turned on. If I don't turn that on, how am I going to access the libraries?

I view computer in detail format so I see each drive and the space details. It's compact and shows me only what I want to see. I'd like to maintain that simplicity without having to have navigation pane take over more of my screen realestate.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Getting back to traditional networking

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