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Managing Server Folders

Moving back to the Server Folders tab, you'll find a list of folders are already populated on screen. Various details are presented for each folder, including the name, description, the folder's location, free space available in the folder and its status (usually blank if all is well and no tasks are running).

Click on a folder and you may see some additional details about the folder listed in the Details pane, but often you'll see that there's little additional information available.

By default, Windows Server 2016 Essentials sets up a number of shared folders which can be accessed by your users. You should see the following:

  • Client Computer Backups: a folder used to store your PC backups.
  • Company: a general folder used to store documents about your organization.
  • File History Backups: you guessed it! Your user's File History backups will be stored in this folder.
  • Folder Redirection: used to store user folders configured for folder redirection.
  • Users: you'll find a separate folder for each of your network users stored here.

If you've previously used Windows Server 2012 Essentials, or an earlier related operating system like Windows Home Server, you'll no doubt be looking for shared media folders (Music, Pictures, Videos, Recorded TV and the like). These are no longer created by default (and haven't been since Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials). We'll install the Windows Server's media services and you can add these folders should you wish.

To the right, there's the usual list of tasks we can perform, split by specific tasks for each folder, and a Server Folders Tasks section which covers broader, server-wide tasks. To add your own, additional shared folders, simply use the Add a Folder wizard we used earlier when setting up the server.

The Understanding Server Folders task simply takes you to online help, so I'm sure by now you're well used to navigating yourself there.

Moving up the screen to individual folder tasks, the available options depend upon which folder you highlight.

The Client Computer Backups folder is unique in that you only have two options, View the folder properties and Move the folder. Move the folder is simply the method through which you "move" a folder from one physical hard drive to another hard drive. If you do not use RAID or Storage Spaces arrays, you may find that you have to perform this task occasionally as your hard drives become full.

Moving Server Folders

Moving a folder is a simple process that calculates the size of the folder you wish to move, asks you where you wish to move the folder to, and then does it.

It's really the kind of task that can be done easily in File Explorer, but having a Dashboard wizard makes life more convenient and allows you to perform the task easily on connected PC clients.

Viewing Folder Properties

Back to the tasks list and the first option, View the folder properties, opens a window that simply provides basic details of the folder including the amount of disk space it uses.

To help you manage your storage efficiently, you can choose to receive a warning when the folder exceeds a certain quota. Just check the box next to Warn me when the folder size exceeds and enter a value in Gigabytes (GB) or Terabytes (TB).

Opening Server Folders

If you highlight a folder that Essentials created when first installed (aside from Client Computer Backups) you get an additional option: Open the folder.

This brings up the folder's contents in File Explorer so that you can view and/or manage the files within.

Configuring Server Folder Sharing Permissions

If you use the View the folder properties option on a pre-configured folder, you'll see that two tabs are available. The first, General, allows you to edit the folder name and description, open the folder (again) and set a quota warning.

In the second tab. Sharing, you will find the ability to share or not share this folder with specific user groups. If a user is not a member of a user group, they will be listed individually. You also have the option to hide a particular folder from someone accessing the server from a remote location.

As you can see in the screenshot above, administrators have full access to all folders. You cannot modify sharing permissions for Client Computer Backups, File History Backups, Folder Redirection or the Users server folders, so don't expect to find a Sharing tab when you view the properties of these folders.

Deleting a User Generated Server Folder

The next category of Shared Folders are user-generated folders such as the Accounting folder we created earlier.

Folders created by the administrator have the ability to be deleted or have sharing disabled/enabled, in addition to having same of the same options as pre-configured folders. Just be aware if you remove a folder, you destroy anything left in it! Fortunately, you'll be asked to check a box that confirms you understand that you're about to kill your data before the server will remove the folder.

Stop Sharing Server Folders

If you decide that you wish to stop sharing a user generated server folder, again it's straightforward. Highlight the folder and select the Stop sharing the folder task. When you stop sharing a folder, note that it will no longer be accessible via the Dashboard, Launchpad or Remote Web Access. But the folder isn't deleted - it remains in place on the server and can be shared again at another time.

While the server folders are the heart of any server, any maintenance required within the Dashboard is rather simple to perform.