Pointing your Win95/WinNT Desktop directory to an SMB share?

Louis Mandelstam lma at sacc.org.za
Thu Aug 14 14:07:04 GMT 1997

On Thu, 14 Aug 1997, Arcadio A. Sincero Jr. wrote:

> 	Using TweakUI from the PowerToys suite of tools, one can easily
> make thier Desktop directory point to any directory they want.  I tried
> making my Desktop directory point to an SMB share on my Linux server
> running SAMBA (v1.9.16p11).  However, this doesn't work very well at all.
> The problem is that any changes made to the Desktop directory do not
> become immediatly apparent on the Desktop.  I noticed this same behavior
> when browsing other SMB drive shares from Explorer windows.  However, with
> Explorer windows, all you need to do is simply hit View->Refresh.  This
> option isn't available for the Desktop tho.  And even if it was, it still
> wouldn't be ideal at all.

I'm currently experimenting with this myself and have noticed the same
problem.  I find this makes for a useful part of a strategy to prevent
users in a mutliple-alike-workstation, central server situation from
keeping files on their hard drives (which can be an admin headache).

One thing I can add is that you can use the standard Windows Explorer
keyboard hotkey for refresh (F5) to refresh the desktop, but only if the
desktop is the "active window" (something which you can't tell just by
looking at the screen, the titlebar could be the active window instead,
for e.g - but it helps to click on the desktop first - nice inexact
science, Microsoft style)

I have found one reference to a possible solution, but my limited
experimentation with it hasn't produced success:

According to http://www.halcyon.com/cerelli/registry.html#screenrefresh :

"  Automatic Screen Refresh 
   Added 10/24/96
   When you make changes to your hard drive and use Explorer, the changes
   are not usually displayed until you press the F5 key
   To make the updates automatic:
    1. Start Regedit                                                   
    2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / System / CurrentControlSet / Control /
    3. Edit the DWORD value to be between 1 and 7
    4. Restart Windows

I've played with this a little, but haven't even tried all seven settings.
No luck so far.

What is needed is some way to tell explorer.exe to check the directory (in
this case the dir specified as the desktop directory) for updates, every x

> 	I suspect this is a limitation of the SMB protocol, but I thought
> I might check with the SAMBA list first.  Thanks in advance for any info
> on this!

Not an SMB limitation, but a design limitation in Windows Explorer.  It
seems to be designed to work in a situation where the kernel can notify it
if any changes have been made to a folder, which is the case on a local
hard drive for e.g.   A different situation exists on a networked share -
Explorer has no way to know things have changes unless it polls it
periodically, which (at least by default) it doesn't seem to do.


Louis Mandelstam              Tel +27 83 227-0712   Symphony  /|\   /|\
Linux systems integration     http://sr.co.za       Research {   } {   }
Johannesburg, South Africa    mailto:louis at sr.co.za (Pty)Ltd {___} {___}

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