Networking / Beginners

Using Net Watcher

Net Watcher is easy to use; but you must be careful in performing some tasks. If you disconnect a user or close a file while it is in use, for example, the user loses all unsaved data.

Tip If you must disconnect someone or close a file, give the user time to close the file before you complete the task. You might try using WinPopup Gold or another messaging program to broadcast your plans.

You can choose to change views in Net Watcher. You also can change the computer you're monitoring, disconnect users, close files, and add and change shares.

Note: If Net Watcher isn't installed, you can add it by using the Add/Remove Programs icon in the Control Panel. Net Watcher is listed as an Accessory.

Changing views

The default view in Net Watcher is Show Users. You can change the view easily to view shared folders or shared files. Viewing the files and folders in different ways presents different information about the shares.

To view shared folders, choose View → By Shared Folders, or click the Shared Folders tool. The Shared Folders view. Note that you see the path and the share name as well as the access type of the share. If you select a shared folder, you can view the computers connected to the share in the right window pane. You also can view any shared printers in this view.

To view the open files of a computer, choose View → by Open Files. Alternatively, click the Open Files tool. The Open Files view.

Selecting a server

Net Watcher refers to any computer as a server, whether you're on a client/server network or not. The server, in this case, is the Net Watcher server software. You can view your own shared resources as well as other computers on the network, as long as you know the password set in the Remote Administration dialog box.

To select a server, follow these steps:

  1. Open Net Watcher.
  2. Choose Administer → Select Server. The Select Server dialog box appears.
  3. Enter the server's name or use the Browse button to locate the computer.
  4. Click OK. The Enter Network Password dialog box appears.
  5. Click OK. The selected server's shares appear in the Net Watcher window.
After you've accessed a server using the password, Windows adds it to your password list. You have to enter the password only once to access each server.

Disconnecting a user

You can disconnect a user from the server you're monitoring at any time. Before you disconnect the user, however, you should make sure that user has closed all open files from his or her computer.

You can disconnect a user only in Show Users view.

To disconnect a user, select the user and then choose Administer → Disconnect User. A warning dialog box appears. Click Yes to continue. Net Watcher doesn't warn the user when you disconnect him or her. When the user tries to access the computer, however, the drive is not available.

Closing a file

As with disconnecting a user, you must be careful when closing a file that is in use. You should warn a user before you close the file so that the user can save changes. If the user doesn't save changes, he or she will lose unsaved data.

To close a file, select the Show Files view. Select the open file and then choose Administer → Close File. A warning dialog box appears. Choose Yes to close the file. Again, Net Watcher doesn't warn the user.

Working with shared folders

You can share folders on any server computer to which you're attached with Net Watcher. You can open any drive and share any folder; the remote administration password gives you the permission you need to perform these tasks.

To share a folder, follow these steps:

  1. Open Net Watcher and then open the computer you want to monitor.
  2. Change to Shared Folders view.
  3. Choose Administer → Add Shared Folder. The Enter Path dialog box appears.
  4. Enter the path or use the Browse button to locate the folder on the server computer.
  5. Click OK. The Share dialog box appears.
  6. Choose Shared As and then enter the share name and access type.
  7. Click OK to close the Share dialog box.

You also can stop sharing a folder by selecting the folder and then choosing Administer → Stop Sharing Folder.

You can view a shared folder's properties by selecting the folder and then choosing Administer → Shared Folder Properties.

Preventive Maintenance to Optimize Your Network

The purpose of network "watchers" and system monitors is to locate problem areas on the network and try to alleviate traffic tie-ups and bottlenecks. Before you get to that point, however, you can lessen many problems by performing some preventive maintenance tasks.

Just like keeping a printer clean or the files on your hard disk orderly, keeping your network in top shape can help performance and efficiency. Periodic checks of equipment and configurations will contribute to optimum network performance.

Think about the following aspects of building and maintaining a network:

  • Consider the quality of your networking hardware. If you use cheap network cards and second-rate cabling, your network performance suffers.
  • If the cabling is out in the middle of the floor where people trample it and kids run toy cars over it constantly, you're putting your network connections at risk. Check the cabling periodically for damage.
  • Periodically check all connectors, routers, hubs, and so on to make sure that connections are secure.
  • Install and configure all programs-such as browsers, e-mail, and other shared applications- the same way so that maintenance and troubleshooting is easier.
  • Use a UPS on each computer to prevent damage from power surges, brownouts, and power outages.
  • Keep backups of your data, and from time to time, test the backups to make sure that they're reliable.
  • Clean network printers regularly.
[Previous] [Contents] [Next]