Keeping an eye on Windows 98 share points

If users are using Windows 98's file-sharing features, the NetWatcher utility can help them track who's accessing what files when.

By Brien M. Posey | Posted Jun 26, 2000
Page of   |  Back to Page 1
Print ArticleEmail Article
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LinkedIn

I recently received an irate phone call from a user who had rebooted her computer because it was running slowly. Upon rebooting, she found that the file she wanted to work on was corrupt. After examining the system, I found no other signs of corruption besides this single file. I did a little digging and discovered that the file in question was shared to other users via Windows 98's file and print sharing services. The reason for the slow response was that a large number of users were trying to access the same file. Needless to say, the corruption resulted from rebooting the computer (in this case, turning off the power without shutting down) while someone else was saving changes to this large file.

This user needed a method of knowing who and when someone was trying to access her shared files. Fortunately, doing so isn't difficult--you don't have to break out the protocol analyzer or watch for the tell-tale slowdown. Instead, you can use the NetWatcher tool that's built into Windows 98.

Using NetWatcher

NetWatcher
NetWatcher reports the users connected to each share point and tells which files they have open.

Source: Windows 98 NetWatcher

NetWatcher works as a simplified protocol analyzer that's dedicated to performing a single task. It watches over share points on the local machine to see when a remote computer has connected to it. It then extracts Net BIOS information to report which computer is connected to the share. Not only does NetWatcher tell you who is connected to which share, but it also reports which files are opened by which user. Therefore, if a user needs to reboot the machine or make changes to a locked file, it's easy to see which users have which files opened. The user on the local machine can even disconnect remote users from the share, if necessary.

NetWatcher isn't loaded into Windows 98 by default. To install it, follow these steps:

1. Double-click on the Add/Remove Programs icon in Control Panel.
2. Select the Windows Setup tab from the Add/Remove Programs properties sheet.
3. Select System Tools and click Details.
4. Select the NetWatcher check box and click OK twice.

At this point, NetWatcher will be installed. A shortcut is added to the Start|Programs|Accessories|System Tools menu. When users open NetWatcher, they will see a screen similar to that shown in Figure 1 above.

Once a user knows who is connected to her computer and what files they are using, there are several options. You might have noticed in Figure 1 that NetWatcher has a toolbar above the connection list. This toolbar contains such options as disconnecting a user, and adding and removing network shares. If a user needs to disconnect someone or close an open file, it can be done with the click of the appropriate button. Furthermore, the user can use other buttons on the toolbar to view the connection status by user, share point, or open files. //

Brien M. Posey (Brien_Posey@xpressions.com) is an MCSE who works as a freelance writer and as the Director of Information Systems for a national chain of health care facilities. His past experience includes working as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. Because of the extremely high volume of e-mail that Brien receives, it's impossible for him to respond to every message, although he does read them all.

Comment and Contribute
(Maximum characters: 1200). You have
characters left.
Get the Latest Scoop with Enterprise Networking Planet Newsletter