Shares

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Share Management

A lot more detail still needs to be added

Once you have assigned some devices to Unraid and started the array, you can create shares to simplify how you store data across multiple disks in the array. Unraid will automatically create a handful of shares for you that it needs to support common plugins, containers, and virtual machines, but you can also create your own shares for storing other types of data. Unraid supports 2 types of share:

  • User Shares
  • Disk Shares

You can control which of these types of shares are to be used under Settings->Global Share Settings. The default on Unraid is to have User Shares enabled but Disk Shares disabled.

It is sometimes important to realize that these are two different views of the same underlying file system. Every file/folder that appears under a User Share will also appear under the Disk Share for the physical drive that is storing the file/folder.

User Shares

User Shares can be enabled/disabled via Settings->Global Share Settings.

From the Shares tab, you can either create a new share or edit' an existing share. Click the Help icon in the top-right of the Unraid webGui when configuring shares for more information on the settings available.

User Shares are implemented by using Linux Fuse file system support. What they do is provide an aggregated view of all top level folders of the same name across the cache and the array drives. The name of this top level folder is used as the share name. From a user perspective this gives a view that can span multiple drives when viewed at the network level. Note that no individual file will span multiple drives - it is just the directory level that is given a unified view.

When viewed at the Linux level then User Shares will appear under the path /mnt/user. It is important to note that a User Share is just a logical view imposed on top of the underlying physical file system so you can see the same files if you look at the physical level (as described below for Disk Shares.

  • Current releases of Unraid also include the mount point /mnt/user0 that shows the files in User Shares OMITTING any files for a share that are on the cache drive. However This mount point is now deprecated ant likely to stop being available in a future Unraid release.

Normally one creates User Shares using the Shares tab. However if you manually create a top level folder on any drive the system will automatically consider this to be a user Share and give it default settings.

Which physical drive in the main array is used to store a physical file is controlled by a number of settings for the share:

  • Allocation method: This has various options:
    • Most Free: This option means that new files should go to the disk with the most free space. It has the downside that one is continually switching drives which keeps the drive involved spun up.
    • Fill Up: This option means simply fill up drives in disk order until the free space falls below the Minimum Free Space setting, and when that happens move onto the next disk. Many users like this setting because their content is static in nature to they find this a simple way to manage their storage.
    • High Water: (default) This option attempts to provide a compromise between continually switching drives as is caused by the Most Free setting and filling up disks in a sensible manner, but not fill each drive to capacity before using the next one. The aim is to allow related files do be kept together on the same drive and to let unused drives be spun down.
It works with switch points based by continually halving the size of the largest drive in the array.
Many people find this confusing (particularly in an array with drives of varying size). so as an example if you had an array consisting of drives of 8TB, 3Tb and 2TB
  • The largest drive is 8TB so the switch points are 4TB, 2TB, 1Tb etc.
  • The 4TB switch point is active so The 8TB Drive one would be filled to 4TB free space left.
  • The 2TB switch point becomes active so the 8TB and 3TB drives each gets used in disk order until it they have 2TB free space
  • The 1TB switch point becomes active so each drive now gets used in disk order until it only has 1TB free space.
  • etc
  • Included or excluded drives: These settings allow you to control which array drives can hold files for the share. Never set both values, set only the one that is most convenient for you. If no drives are specified under these settings then all drives allowed under Settings >> Global Share settings are allowed.
  • Split level: This setting controls how files should be grouped.
Important: in the event of there being contentions between the Minimum free space, Split Level and the Allocation method settings in deciding which would be an appropriate drive to use the Split level setting always wins. This means that you can get an out-of-space error even though there is plenty of space on other array drives that the share can logically use.

Important: The Linux file system used by Unraid are case sensitive while the SMB share system is not. As an example this means that a folder at the Linux level a folder called 'media' is different to one called 'Media'. However at the network level case is ignored so for example 'media', Media', 'MEDIA' would all be the same share. However to take this example further you would only get the content of one of the underlying 'media' or 'Media' folders to appear at the network share level - and it can be non-obvious which one this would be.

The following sections proved more detail on how these settings work:

Allocation method

When a new User share is created, or when any object (file or directory) is created within a User share, the system must determine which data disk the User share or object will be created on. In general, a new User share, or object within a User share, will be created on the data disk with the most free space. However there are a set of share configuration parameters available to fine tune disk allocation.

The basic allocation strategy for a share is defined by the Allocation method configuration parameter. You may select one of three allocation methods for the system to use.


High Water

The high water allocation method attempts to step fill each disk so at the end of each step there is an equal free space left on each disk. The idea is to progressively fill each disk but not constantly go back and forth between disks each time new data is written to the array. Most times, only a single disk will be needed when writing a series of files to the array so the array will only spin-up the needed disk. The high water level is initially set equal to one-half of the size of the largest disk. A new high water level is again set to one-half of the previous high level once all the disks have less free space than the current high water level.

High-Water Allocation Method.JPG

The above example shows what will occur when there is a mix of 4 disks varying is size from 500gig to 2T in size.

First Pass - The high water level is set to one-half of the size of the 2T drive or 1T. Each disk will be filled until it has <1T of free space remaining. This means no data is stored on disk1 or disk2 since both already have <1T of free space. 500gig of data will be stored on disk3 followed by 1T of data being stored on disk4.

Second Pass - The high water level is reset to one-half of the previous level or 500gig. Each disk will be filled until it has <500gig of free space remaining. This means no data is stored on disk1 since it already has <500gig of free space. 500gig of data will be stored on disk2 and then 500gig of data will be stored on disk3 and finally 500gig of data will be stored on disk4.

Third Pass - The high water level is again reset to one-half of the previous level or 250gig. Each disk will be filled until it has <250gig of free space remaining. 250gig of data will be stored on disk1 and then 250gig of data will be stored on disk2 and then 250gig of data will be stored on disk3 and finally 250gig of data will be stored on disk4. An interesting note is that the 500gig disk does not get used at all until the third pass. Don't be concerned if the smaller sized disks don't immediately get used with this method.

This pattern will continue with progressively smaller high water levels until the disks are full.

Most Free

The most free allocation method simply picks the disk with the most free space and writes the data to that disk. Each time a file is written Unraid will check the free space on the disks and pick the one with the most free space.

Fill-Up

The fill-up allocation method simply attempts to fill each disk in order from the lowest numbered disk to the highest numbered disk. The fill-up allocation method must be used in conjunction with the minimum free space setting. Otherwise, Unraid will begin to give disk full errors and not allow any more transfers once the first disk gets close to being full.


Min. Free Space

The minimum free space setting is used with the allocation method and split level. The minimum free space setting tells Unraid to stop putting new content onto the disk when the free space falls below the level you set (as long as the Split Level setting indicates it can be split to a new disk). This must be used with the fill-up allocation method or disk full errors will occur when there is not enough space to fit a file you are trying to write to the array.

First a brief explanation of how Unraid will typically receive a file. Unraid typically receives data in this manner. First, Unraid receives the request to store a file, named for example "file.eg". At this time, Unraid has no idea how big "file.eg" is so Unraid will pick a spot to place "file.eg" and begin to store the file data as the data is transferred over the network. Now, this is important because Unraid may pick a storage disk that does not have enough space to store the complete "file.eg". Unraid doesn't know there is not enough space when it first places the file so Unraid will only find out the disk doesn't have enough space when the disk is full. At this point, the transfer will fail with a disk full error.

So, Unraid will write to a different disk if the minimum free space is set to a value larger than the biggest file size you will ever transfer. The recommended setting is 2 times the largest file size you will ever transfer. For example, if the largest file you have is 8gig in size then set the minimum free space to 16gig. This allows you to transfer files that may vary in size somewhat and not accidentally transfer one too large. The minimum free space is set in kilo-bytes.

Here are some examples of the minimum free space setting;

Free Space Value
500 meg 500000
20 gig 20000000
40 gig 40000000

Note that unRAID will still place files on the disk if the split level does not allow the files to be placed on another disk with more free space.

Also note that unRAID will typically not move a file onto a new disk if you're over-writing or updating it. For example, a backup file that grows in size over time could end up filling a disk and causing a disk full error.


Split level

The Split level setting is one that many users find confusing to here is a more detailed description of how it works.

IMPORTANT: in the event of there being contention between the various settings for a share over which array drive to select for a file the Split Level setting always takes precedence. This can mean unRAID chooses a drive which does not have enough space for the file so that an out-of-space error subsequently occurs for the file.

The split level setting tells unRAID how many folder levels are allowed to be created on multiple disks. The split level can be used to ensure that the contents of a folder are kept on the same disk. The split level numbering starts with the user share being the top level and given the number 1.


Here is an example showing a possible directory structure for a user share called "Media".

Note: I (the original author of this section) consider combining media types into a single large share a poor way to store media. I use a share for each media type. Movies is a share and TV shows is a share. I combined the movies and TV shows to show the pitfalls in the split levels when doing this as explained after the figure.

Split level 1.JPG

Here is an explanation of the different split levels, referenced to the folder structure above;

  1. Level 1
    • The top level Media share can be created on every disk.
    • Every other folder under the Media share must remain on a single disk.
    • This setting does not allow the SD Movies, HD Movies, Kids Movies or TV Shows folders to spread to multiple disks.
    • This setting is too low for all the media.
  2. Level 2
    • The top level Media share can be created on every disk.
    • The SD Movies, HD Movies, Kids Movies and TV Shows folders can be created on every disk.
    • Each Movie Folder and TV Show Folder must remain on a single disk.
    • This setting may work well. It will keep each movie and each TV series together on a single disk.
    • This setting may give issues because it keeps each TV series on a single disk. So, a disk may fill as new TV seasons are added to a TV show which is on a disk which is close to full.
  3. Level 3
    • The top level Media share can be created on every disk.
    • The SD Movies, HD Movies, Kids Movies and TV Shows folders can be created on every disk.
    • Each Movie Folder and TV Show Folder can be created on every disk.
    • Each Season Folder must remain on a single disk.
    • This setting will allow the contents stored in each Movie Folder to be spread out onto multiple disks.
    • This setting is too high for the different movie types.
  4. Level 4
    • The top level Media share can be created on every disk.
    • The SD Movies, HD Movies, Kids Movies and TV Shows folders can be created on every disk.
    • Each Movie Folder and TV Show Folder can be created on every disk.
    • Each Season Folder can be created on every disk.
    • This setting is too high because it will allow the contents of every folder to be spread out onto multiple disks. The split level is not being used to keep similar content together.

The only valid split level for the above example is 2. This causes a split level limitation which forces each complete TV series to a single disk. This can force a new TV season to be placed on a disk which is almost full and result in out of space errors once new episodes completely fill the disk. The split level can't be increased to 3 because each individual movie would not be contained to a single disk.


The first way to fix this split level mismatch issue is to create separate shares for the movies and the TV shows. This way, the movies can be set to use a split level of 2 and the TV shows can use a split level of 3.

Split level 2.JPG

For Movies use a split level = 2. This allows the "SD Movies", "HD Movies" and "Kids Movies" folders to be placed on every disk and it keeps each individual movie folder on a single disk. This way, any single movie folder and the contents of the movie folder will remain on a single disk.

For TV_Shows use a split level of either 1 or 2. A split level of 1 will keep each TV series on a single disk and split level of 2 will keep each season on a single disk. The split level of 2 means that the complete TV series can be stored on multiple disks, however each individual season of that TV series will be on a single disk.


The second way to fix the issue is to add another folder level to the movies, starting first with a Movies folder in the Media share and then placing the different movie types below this.

Split level 3.JPG

This user share structure must use split level = 3. SD Movies, HD Movies, Kids Movies and each TV series can exist on multiple disks. This structure means each TV season can be on a different disk. This has the opposite issue compared to the first example. You can not use split level 2 to force each complete TV series to remain on a single disk without messing up the ability of the movies to split to every disk.


Some things to keep in mind.

  • The above examples are to demonstrate the use of the split level. It is not necessary to store your media sorted in the same format as the above example illustrates. You may want to use a Movies share and then just place a "Movie Name" folder for each movie directly into the share without sorting the movies by type.
  • It is completely valid to force each complete TV series to stay on a single disk. Just understand that a continuing TV series will keep filling the disk where it is first placed. This may require manual intervention to shift some TV series from an almost full disk to an empty disk. Using the Most Free allocation method can help eliminate the issue since a completely new TV series would be placed on the disk with the most free space.
  • The above TV example applies to any similar share. It could apply to a Pictures share where you store the pictures in folders based on the year (2010, 2011, 2012 etc) or it could apply to a Music share where you store the music in a folder for each artist. In these cases, a split level of 1 would keep a whole year of pictures on a single disk or it would keep all the music by an artist on a single disk.





Disable Split Level

It is also possible to disable the split level by setting a high split level. A file copy or move will fail if a folder is locked to a full disk and an attempt is made to add more files into that folder. Setting a high split level will ensure each file will get written to the server as long as a disk has space for it.


Split Level = 1 Example

The following example demonstrates how the share behaves when the split level is set to 1. The Share name is New_Movies. Each movie stored in this share has its own folder. Inside the movie folder is the movie file as well as some metadata files used by MediaBrowser.


Movie Share.jpg

The above Windows Explorer screen shot shows the file structure of the New_Movies share on the left and the contents of the A History of Violence movie folder on the right. The levels for this share are labeled on the example. This is what split level = 1 means:

  • A New_Movies folder can be created on each disk allowed by the include and exclude disk settings. A new New_Movies folder will be created on the next disk in line when the allocation method calls for unRAID to begin filling the next disk. Note that the New_Movies folder will only be created on the next disk in line when it is necessary and not when the share is created.
  • The A History of Violence folder can only exist on one disk. Once it is created on the disk, all of the contents will remain on the same disk. Any changes or additions to this folder will remain on the same disk. For example, a new file called movie.nfo for the XBMC metadata might be created in this folder in the future. The movie.nfo file will be created in the existing A History of Violence folder. A duplicate A History of Violence folder will not be created on another disk to store this new file.


You will notice that the movie folders 500 Days of Summer (2009) and 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) both appear in the New_Movies share. The next screen shot will show how each of these files is stored on a separate disk.


Movies Share Disk View.JPG

The above screen shot shows side by side Window Explorer views of the file structure stored on disk1 and disk2. On the left is disk1 and on the right is disk2. The left Explorer window shows the contents of disk1. The New_Movies share is a folder stored at the top level or the root of disk1 with the individual movie directories stored in this directory. The right Explorer window shows the contents of disk2. The New_Movies share is a folder stored at the top level or the root of disk2 with the individual movie folders stored in this directory. As files were being moved into the New_Movies share, Unraid created the New_Movies folder on both disk1 and disk2 to store these files.

The windows side by side can be used to examine the contents of the New_Movies share on a disk by disk basis. You will notice that the movie folder 500 Days of Summer (2009) is stored on disk1 and the movie folder 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) is stored on disk2. As previously noted, Unraid combines the movies stored on disk1 and disk2 into one network share called New_Movies and both movies appear in the New_Movies network share.

Take note that a share called Movies is also visible on disk2.

Split Level 0

Split level 0 is a special case. Split level 0 requires you to create the desired top level or parent folder structure. Unraid will unconditionally create an object on the disk that contains the parent folders. Unraid will choose which disk to use according to the allocation method if the parent folders exist on multiple disks.

If you set the Split level to 0, then all directories/files created under that share will be on the same disk where the directory within that share share was originally created. In other words, use level 0 to not allow the share to split automatically across disks

NOTE: If you create the same folder structure on multiple disks then Unraid will apply the other share settings to decide which disk to use.


Example

The server has 4 disks. A user share called Media is desired. Different types of media will be stored in this share. The desired structure is;

  • disk1 - will hold the DVD movies.
  • disk2 - will hold the BluRay movies.
  • disk3 - will hold the BluRay movies.
  • disk4 - will hold the TV series.

The desired structure is illustrated below.

Level 0.JPG

On the left side is how the user share will appear and on the right side is the folder structure on each disk. The user will go to each disk and create the folders shown in red to create the storage as listed above. Then, the Media folder as well as the DVD Movies, BluRay Movies and TV Shows folders become the parent folders for everything stored in the Media share. The media will be sorted by disk as follows;

  • Movies placed in the DVD Movies folder will go to disk1.
  • Movies placed in the BluRay Movies folder will go to disk2 or disk3. The disk is selected by the allocation method.
  • TV shows placed in the TV Shows folder will go to disk4.

Say one day that disk1 is full and disk5 is added to the server to hold new DVD Movies. The same folders on disk1 must be created on the new disk5. In other words, the folder Media and sub-folder DVD Movies must be created on disk5. Then, Unraid can use either disk1 or disk5 to store DVD Movies.

Split By Character

Specify a character in the split level box to use this method. Then, Unraid will not allow any folder name containing the character to split. For example, set the split level to an opening square bracket ( [ ) instead of a number. Then, create each movie folder with the year encased in square brackets after the title in this manner - Iron Man 2 [2010]. Unraid will see the opening square bracket ( [ ) and it will not split this folder or any content stored inside this folder.

This type of split level can allow different levels of sub-folders to be specified as not splitting simply by inserting the character into the folder name which should not split. This can overcome the limitation of having a fixed split level for a share.


Included and Excluded disk(s)

The included disk(s) and excluded disk(s) parameters control which disks are allowed to be used by each user share. These parameters can be used separately or together to define the group of disks allowed for writing files to each user share. The disks are entered by disk number with a comma separating each disk, for example "disk2,disk5".

Unraid will first check the included disks(s) set and then the Excluded disk(s) set when deciding which disk to place a file on. Then, Unraid will use the split level and allocation method to pick a disk which is allowed to hold the file.

Note: The Include/Exclude settings at the individual share level only control which disks new files can be written to. Files on other disks that are in a folder corresponding to the share name will still show up under that share for read purposes.

Included disk(s)

The included disks(s) parameter defines the set of disks which are candidates for allocation to that share. All disks may be used by the user share when the Included disk(s) parameter is left blank. Specify the disks to include here. For example, set the included disk(s) to "disk1,disk2,disk3" to allow the share to only use disk1, disk2 and disk3.

Excluded disk(s)

The excluded disk(s) parameter defines the set of disks which are excluded from use by the user share. No disks are excluded from use by the user share when the excluded disk(s) parameter is left blank. Specify the disks to exclude here. For example, set the excluded disk(s) to "disk1,disk2" to restrict a share from using disk1 and disk2.


Default Shares

If you have Docker or VMs enabled then a number of default shares are set up to support their use. It is not mandated that you use these shares (and the system will let you remove them if you do not want to use them for their standard purpose) but it is recommended as it tends to make it easier to support users who encounter problems.

The shares that fall into this category are:

  • appdata: this is the default location for storing working files associated with docker containers. Typically there will be a sub-folder for each docker container.
  • system: this is the default location for storing the docker application binaries, and VM XML templates
  • domains: this is the default location for storing virtual disk images (vdisks) that are used by VMs.
  • isos: this is the default location for storing CD iso images for use with VMs.

Mover Behavior with User Shares

Note: Starting with Unraid 6.9.0 multiple pools can exist and they can have any name the user chooses. Any of these pools can act act as a cache in the way Unraid uses the term. The word cache therefore is referring to this functionality and not necessarily to the pool name.

Unraid includes an application called mover that is used in conjunction with User Shares. It’s behavior controlled by the “Use Cache for new files” setting under each User Share. The way these different settings operate is as follows

  • Yes: Write new files to the cache as long as the free space on the cache is above the Minimum free space value. If the free space is below that then by-pass the cache and write the files directly to the main array.
When mover runs it will attempt to move files to the main array as long as they are not currently open. Which array drive will get the file is controlled by the combination of the Allocation method, Split level, and Minimum Free Space setting for the share.
  • No: Write new files directly to the array. Which array drive will get the file is controlled by the combination of the Allocation method, Split level, and Minimum Free Space setting for the share.
When mover runs it will take no action on files for this share even if there are files on the cache that logically belong to this share.
  • Only: Write new files directly to the cache. If the free space on the cache is below the Minimum free space setting for the cache then the write will fail with an out-of-space error.
When mover runs it will take no action on files for this share even if there are files on the main array that logically belong to this share.
  • Prefer: Write new files to the cache if the free space on the cache is above the Minimum free space setting for the share, and if the free space falls below that value then write the files to the main array instead.
When mover runs it will attempt to move any files for this share that are on the main array back to the cache as long as the free space on the cache is above the Minimum free space setting for the cache
It is the default setting for the appdata and System Shares that are used to support the Docker and VM sub-systems. In typical use you want the files/folders belonging to these shares to reside on the cache as you get much better performance from Docker containers and VMs if their files are not on the main array (due to the cost of maintaining parity on the main array significantly slowing down write operations).
This setting works for a share even if you do not have (yet) a physical cache drive(s) as then files will simply be written directly to the array. If at a later date you add a cache drive mover will now automatically try and move the files in any share set to Prefer to the pool defined as the cache for the share to improve performance. This is why it is the default for shares that are typically located on the cache rather than Only as it caters for those who do not (yet) have a cache drive.

Moving Files from a Pool (cache) to the Array

This is the more traditional usage of a pool for caching where one wants the files for a particular share initially written to a pool acting as a cache to maximise write speed, but later you want it to be moved to the main array for long term storage. Most of the time all that is required is to set the Use Cache setting for the share to Yes and the default behaviour handles the rest with no further user interaction.

Sometimes for one reason or another users find that the files seem to be 'stuck' on a pool. The way to proceed in such a case to get the files belonging to a share from a pool onto the main array is:

  • Disable Docker/VM services if they are enabled (as files open in these services cannot be moved).
  • Change the Use Cache setting for the share to Yes
  • Manually run mover from the Main tab to get it to move Yes type shares from array to the pool (cache).
  • When mover finishes you can re-enable the Docker and/or VMs services you use if you disabled them earlier.
  • (optional) change the Use Cache setting to Only to say files for this share can never be written to the array.

Moving Files from the Array to a Pool (cache)

One typically wants files associated with running Docker containers or VMs on a pool to maximise performance. It is not unusual for one reason or another to find that one has files on the main array which you really want to be on a pool. In particular this is likely to happen for the appdata or system shares

The way to proceed to get the files belonging to a share from the main array onto a pool is:

  • Disable Docker/VM services if they are enabled (as files open in these services cannot be moved)
  • Change the Use Cache setting for the share to Prefer
  • Manually run mover from the Main tab to get it to move Prefer type shares from array to the pool (cache).
  • When mover finishes you can re-enable the Docker and/or VMs services you use.
  • (optional) change the Use Cache setting to No to say files for this share can never be cached on a pool.

Disk Shares

These are shares that relate to individual drives within the Unraid system. By default if User Shares are enabled then disk Shares are not enabled. If you want them this is done under Settings->Global Share Settings. They will then appear under a new section on the Shares tab.

When viewed at the Linux level then disk shares will appear directly under /mnt with a name corresponding to the drive. Examples of such names are:

/mnt/boot: This is the flash drive that is used to boot Unraid and store all user settings. It also appears at the network level as the ‘flash’ share.

/mnt/diskX: these are array drives where X corresponds to the disk number that shows in the Unraid GUI.

/mnt/pool-name/. These are pools. A single pool can actually consist of multiple drives but Unraid treats them as if they were one drive. The commonest example of a pool name is ‘cache’ but it can be any other name defined by the user.


IMPORTANT
If you have both Disk Shares and User Shares enabled then there is an important restriction that you must observe if you want to avoid potential data loss. What you must NEVER do is copy between a User Share and a Disk Share in the same copy operation where the folder name on the Disk Share corresponds to the User Share name. This is because at the base system level Linux does not understand User Shares and therefore that a file on a Disk Share and a User Share can be different views of the same file. If you mix the share types in the same copy command you can end up trying to copy the file to itself which results in the file being truncated to zero length and its content thus being lost.

There is no problem if the copy is between shares of the same type, or copying to/from a disk mounted as an Unassigned Device..

Network access

You can control what protocols should be supported for accessing the Unraid server across the network. Click on Settings->Network Services to see the various options available.. These options are:

  • SMB: This the standard protocol used by Windows systems. It is widely implemented on other YS.
  • NFS: Network File System. This is a protocol widely used on Unix compatible system.
  • AFP: Apple File Protocol. This is the protocol that has historically been used on Apple Mac system. It is now a deprecated option as the latest versions of MacOS now use SMB as the transferred protocol for accessing files and folders over the network.
  • FTP: File Transfer Protocol.

When you click on the name of a share on the Shares tab then there is a section that allows you to control the visibility of the share on the network for each of the protocols you have enabled. The setting is labelled Export and has the following options:

  • Yes: With this setting the share will be visible across the network.
  • Yes (Hidden): With this setting the share can be accessed across the network but will not be listed when browsing the shares on the server. Users can still access the share as long as they know the name and the user is prepared to enter in manually.
  • No: With this option selected then it is not possible to access the share across the network.


Access Permissions

When you click on the name of a share on the Shares tab then there is a section that allows you to control the access rights of the share on the network for each of the protocols you have enabled. The setting is labelled Security and has the following options:

  • Public: All users have both read and write access to the contents of the share
  • Private: All users including guests have read access, you select which of your users have write access
  • Secure: You select which of your users have access and for each user whether that user has read/write or read-only access.

Windows 'Gotcha'

There is an issue with the way Windows handles network shares that many users fall foul of:

  • This is the fact that Windows only allows a single username to be used to connect to a specific server at any given time. All attempts to then connect to a different share on the same server that are not public shares put up a Username/Password prompt and this fails as though you have entered an incorrect password for this username. If you have any shares on the server set to Private or Secure access it can therefore be important that you connect to such a share first before any shares set for Public access which may connect as a guest user and make subsequent attempts to connect with a specific user fail.
  • A workaround that can help with avoiding this issue is the fact that if you access a server both by it's network name and via it's IP address then Windows will treat it a two separate servers as far as authentication is concerned.