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70-270 Windows XP TechNote:
Implementing and Conducting Administration of Resources
Index
- File Systems
--- FAT, FAT32, NTFS, CDFS
--- Converting File Systems
- File and Folder Compression
--- NTFS Compression
--- Compressed (zipped) Folders
- NTFS File Permissions
- Shared Folders & Permissions
--- Offline Files
 
FILE SYSTEMS    Back to top

Windows XP support the following file systems:

FAT    Back to top

Disks formatted with the FAT file system can be accessed by MS-DOS, all versions of Windows, and OS/2. The maximum supported volume size is 4 GB, the maximum file size is 2 GB. This file system should only be used on removable media such as floppy disks and hard disks smaller than 512 MB.


FAT32    Back to top

The faster file system FAT32, is often used in multi-boot situations with operating systems that do not support NTFS. Disks formatted with the FAT32 file system are supported by Windows 95 OSR2, Windows 98 and ME, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. Windows NT 4 and earlier cannot access FAT32 volumes. The maximum supported volume size for FAT32 is 2 TB, but Windows XP can format up to 32 GB only. The maximum file size is 4 GB. The minimum size for a FAT32 volume is 512 MB. You cannot format removable media such as floppy disks with FAT32.


NTFS    Back to top

Disks formatted with NTFS version 5 can only be accessed by Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or higher, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. NTFS supports a volume size over 2 TB and the maximum file size is limited only by the available free space. You cannot format removable media such as floppy disks with NTFS. Besides being able to handle large disks, NTFS is the preferred file system for Windows 2000 and XP because of the extra features it offers, including:
- File and folder permissions - (discussed below)
- File and folder compression - (discussed below)
- Encrypted File System (EFS) - (see EFS TechNotes)
- Disk Quotas - Allows quotas to be assigned to users for disk space usages per volume. Quotas are only available on NTFS volumes and can be enabled and configured on the Quota tab on a volume's Properties sheet.



CDFS    Back to top

This is the file system used on compact discs. You cannot format regular disks with this file system.


Converting File Systems    Back to top

You can convert FAT file systems to NTFS using the following command: convert c: /fs:ntfs
The convert utility cannot be used to convert from NTFS to another file system. For example if you converted a FAT32 partition to NTFS and you want to revert it back to FAT32, you will have to create a full backup, reformat the drive with FAT32, and restore the backup.



FILE AND FOLDER COMPRESSION    Back to top

NTFS Compression    Back to top

NTFS Compression allows compression of individual files and folders, as well as entire NTFS drives. The process of compression and decompression is transparent to the user. For example, when a user opens a document from a NTFS compressed disk, the document is decompressed automatically, when the user saves the document it is compressed again. This process might decrease your computer’s performance; it's best to compress static data and only if it really saves space, you don't want to waste CPU cycles compressing a ZIP file for example. An NTFS-compressed file cannot be encrypted, and an encrypted file cannot be compressed. If you do enable compression for an encrypted file, the file will lose it's encryption attribute before it is compressed.

You can enable compression for a volume when you format it. To enable compression on an existing volume, right-click it and choose Properties from the context menu, on the General tab enable the option Compress drive to save disk space. To compress a file or folder, right-click it and choose Properties from the context menu, click the Advanced button and below Compress and Encrypt attributes enable the option Compress contents to save disk space. When you enable compression on a folder or volume, Windows will ask if you want to enable compression for all the files and subfolders in the folder or volume as well. Besides using Windows Exporer, you can also use the command compact to compress or decompress a file or folder.

When you copy a compressed file to a folder on the same, or a different volume, it inherits the compression state of the target folder. This works also vice versa; when you copy an uncompressed file to a folder with compression enabled, the file will inherit the the target's compression state and thus it will be compressed.

When you move a compressed file to a folder without compression on the same volume, the file retains its compression attribute. When data is moved within the same volume, the data is not actually relocated, just the pointer to it, this is why it retains the compression attribute. When you move a compressed file to a folder without compression on a different NTFS volume, the file inherits the compression state of the target folder. If the target is not compressed, or is a FAT or floppy disk, the file will be uncompressed. A move between volumes is actually considered a copy; after the source file is copied to the target volume the source file is deleted.

By default, compressed files and folders are displayed in a different color, you can change this by choosing Folder Options in the Tools menu of My Computer/Windows Explorer. Click on the View tab and enable the option: Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color.



Compressed (zipped) Folders    Back to top

A new feature introduced in Windows XP is Compressed Folders. These are ZIP files that can be used like regular folders, with some limitations and some advantages. The main limitation is that many programs can't be run directly from the ZIP file because they might depend on files outside the Compressed Folder. Also you cannot save files to a compressed folder (zip file), you have to use drag and drop or copy and paste. Some advantages of Compressed (zipped) Folders are that they can easily be transported on removable media and the Internet, they can be used on FAT partitions, and they can be protected with a password. Compressed Folders are not available on Windows XP 64-Bit Edition.

The easiest way to create a Compressed Folder is by right-clicking the desktop, point to New, and then select Compressed (zipped) Folder. You can also use the File menu in My Computer. A Compressed Folder is represented by a Folder icon with a zipper.



NTFS FILE PERMISSIONS    Back to top

One of the main reasons to use NTFS is the possibility to assign permissions for individual files and folders. Each file and folder on an NTFS volume contains an Access Control List (ACL). This list is filled with entries for groups and individual user accounts and their corresponding permissions. When a user tries to access a resource, Windows XP checks the ACL if the user is listed and what level of permission is assigned.

The following permissions can be assigned for files and folders:


Read Allows user read files and list the contents of folders, subfolders and volumes, including the attributes, permissions and ownership of the files.
Write Allows the same as Read and additionally allows the user to modify and create files and (sub-)folders as well as changing attributes.
Read and Execute Allows the same as Read and additionally allows users to run applications.
Modify Same as Read plus Write and and additionally allows executing applications as well.
Full Control Allows everything permitted by the other permissions and and additionally a user with Full Control can change permissions and take ownership of file.

For folders only, the following additional permission can be assigned:

List Contents Allows user to read files and list the contents of folders and volumes, user with this permissions can only see the files and folders, not read or change them.

To assign NTFS permissions in Windows Explorer/My Computer, right-click a file, folder, or drive, and click Properties and then the Security tab. If your computer is not a member of a domain, you have to disable the option Use simple file sharing on the View tab of Folder Options before you can see the Security tab.

Under Group or user names: on the Security tab, select or add a group or user, and allow or deny one of the permissions listed in the table above. Denying permissions is usually only done to make an exception, for example, you could allow Modify permission for the Sales group and deny the same permission for certain user account in the Sales group.




Allow permissions are cumulative. For example, John is a member of the Sales group and the Management group. Sales has been allowed Modify permissions for the folder Sales_reports and the files in it. Management has been allowed Read permissions for the same folder and the files in it. John's effective permissions in this case is Modify.

File permissions override folder permissions. For example, if user David has been allowed Read permissions for the folder and Full Control permissions for a file work.doc, his effective permissions for the work.doc file is Full Control.

In addition to the permissions listed in the tables above, you can also assign special permissions by clicking the Advanced button on the Security tab.

When a user creates a file or folder Windows XP automatically assigns Full Control permissions to the creator/owner. You can take ownership of a file by replacing the owner with your own account or with one of the groups you are a member of. You must have Full Control or the special permissions Take Ownership to be able to take ownership of a file or folder.



SHARED FOLDERS & PERMISSIONS    Back to top

A shared folder (commonly referred to as a share) is a folder or entire volume that is published on the network and can be remotely accessed by other users. The shared folder can be used as if it were a local folder; to store data, and even to run applications from the share over the network. Members of the built-in group Administrators, Server Operators and Power Users can share folders. If the shared folder is located on an NTFS volume, users need at least the NTFS permission Read for the local folder to be able to access it, regardless of the share permissions assigned to it.

A Windows XP client that is not a member of a domain uses Simple File Sharing by default. If you want to set advanced options such as permissions, caching and a user limit, you need to disable this option first. From the Tools menu in My Computer choose Folder Options, disable the option Use simple file sharing on the View tab.

Here are some common methods for creating shared folders:
1. Using the Shared Folders snap-in, which is included by default in the Computer Management console. In the console tree, click Shares (below Computer Management|System Tools|Shared Folders). On the Action menu, click New File Share. You will be prompted to select the folder or drive, enter the share name and description, and set permissions.
2. Using the following command at the command prompt: net share sharename=drive:path
3. In Windows Explorer/My Computer right-click the folder or drive, click Properties and then the Sharing tab. Enable the option Share this folder, enter a name for the share, an optional description and configure other settings as depicted in the following image.



When you share a folder, you can set a User limit to set a maximum amount of users that can connect to the share simultaneously.

There are three different share permissions that can be assigned to groups and individual user accounts. These permissions apply only when connecting to the share over the network. The share permissions do not apply to users who log on to the local machine. If you want local security use NTFS file and folder permissions.

Share permissions:
Read Allows user to read files and list the contents of folders and volumes. This allows executing applications as well.
Change Allows the same as Read and allows the user to modify and create files and folders.
Full Control
Allows the same as Change and allows the user to modify Share permissions as well.

When you set permissions you can either Allow or Deny them to a user or group. Typically you would allow a group share permissions and deny the same permissions to certain members of that group. The default permissions for new shares is Read to Everyone.

When you combine NTFS permissions and share permissions the most restrictive permission counts. For example, if you create a folder with files and assign them Full Control NTFS permissions to Everyone and share the same folder and assign the share permission Read to Everyone, users connecting through the network will have Read permissions.

To assign share permissions in Windows Explorer/My Computer right-click the folder or drive, and then click Properties and then the Permissions button on the Sharing tab. Under Group or user names: select or add a group or user, and allow or deny one of the permissions listed in the table above.

By default, Windows XP creates several hidden administrative shares:

Share Purpose
Admin$ This is the system root, usually C:\Windows, Administrators are assigned Full Control share permissions.
Print$ This is the %systemroot%\System32\Spool\Drivers folder, this folder is created when printers are shared to allow clients to automatically download the printer drivers. Administrators and Power users are assigned Full Control share permissions, Everyone is assigned Read permission.
C$, D$, E$, etc.
Each volume on a hard disk is shared. to provide easy access of the entire volume to Administrators. Administrators are assigned Full Control share permissions.

You can also create hidden shares yourself by adding a $ sign to the end of the share's name.

Users can connect to a share in several ways, for example:
1. Using My Network Places/Windows Explorer you can browse to the share or use the Add Network Place wizard.
2. Using a direct UNC path, for example: //FileServer12/ShareX
3. Using My Network Places/Windows Explorer or the net use command to map a drive letter to a share.



Offline Files    Back to top

Offline Folder allows user to cache the contents of a share and make it available offline, so they can access the files and some programs, even when they are not connected to the network. To allow a shared folder to be cached offline, in Windows Explorer/My Computer right-click the folder or drive, click Properties and then the Caching button on the Sharing tab.



If you enable the option Allow caching of files in this shared folder you can choose one of the following three settings:

Manual caching of documents This is the the default setting when you enable caching. Users will be able to manually select the files they want to make available offline.
Automatic caching of documents Each file that is opened from this share will automatically be copied to the Offline Files folder.
Automatic caching of programs and documents
This setting allows caching of files that are read-only such as program files.


To enable and configure the Offline Files feature on a client computer, from the Tools menu in My Computer choose Folder Options and click the Offline Files tab. Here you can disable/enable Offline Files, configure synchronization at logon and/or logoff, enable encryption for all offline files, and set the maximum amount of disk space used for offline files (default is 10% of drive space). When you click the Advanced button, you can also view and delete the offline files, and configure what action should be taken when the network connection is lost.




Before files are actually cached on your client, you need to select the shares you wish to make available offline. You can do this simply by right-clicking a drive mapping, and choosing Make available offline.


Additonal Resources

- Description of the FAT32 File System in Windows XP
- HOW TO: Convert a FAT16 or FAT32 Volume to NTFS in Windows XP
- File compression overview
- How to Share and Set Permissions for Folders and Files Using Windows XP
- Description of File Sharing and Permissions in Windows XP



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Current related exam objectives for the 70-270 exam:

Implementing and Conducting Administration of Resources:

Monitor, manage, and troubleshoot access to files and folders.
- Configure, manage, and troubleshoot file compression.
- Control access to files and folders by using permissions.
- Optimize access to files and folders.

Manage and troubleshoot access to shared folders.
- Create and remove shared folders.
- Control access to shared folders by using permissions.

Configure and manage file systems.
- Convert from one file system to another file system.
- Configure NTFS, FAT32, or FAT file systems.

Manage and troubleshoot access to and synchronization of offline files.


Click here for the complete list of exam objectives.

Discuss this TechNote here Author: Johan Hiemstra




 
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