Desiging and Implementing a Folder Structure

When planning for your Server enabled environment, it is important to think about how the server resources will be managed.  Where are the user home folders going to live, how will these be accessed and will you require any type of public or resource folders.

It is impossible for me to dictate the structure that you will use for your networked resources, as it depends upon the number of servers, partitions and the allocation of space.  Disk quota management also needs to be considered, as Disk Quota needs to be enabled on a volume, which could mean that when a user saves to a handing in point, the user will effectively be charged twice for saving the work – particularly if you the folder permissions are wrong.

There are no hard and fast rules for defining your folder structure, but you might find my example useful in your design.

For my server system I have already created 2 partitions, E: for my User Home directories and G: for my shared applications space, remote installation space and Software deployment.  Using this arrangement would allow me to use Disk Quotas at any time during the server life time.  It should also make setting up duplicate/additional servers slightly easier, as the disk space allocation would be similar.

This configuration will also slot neatly with my Group Policy for redirecting user desktops and profile spaces – covered in another article.

If you have been following my Series for building a School Network Server, create new folders on your partitions, as follows;

C: Partition

No network based files are stored or shared from this drive.

E: Partition

This partition is used to store the user's home folders. 

  • E:Users
  • E:UsersStaff
  • E:UsersStudents
  • E:UsersTechnicians

G: Partition

This partition is used for storing the Public and Managed areas as well as Remote Installation deployment files, Single Instance Storage and software packages that can be deployed using MSI technology.  The Remote Installation and Single Instance storage folders are created and shared automatically when RIS is installed.

  • G:Applications
  • G:i386
  • G:Resources
  • G:ResourcesPublic
  • G:ResourcesStaff
  • G:ResourcesShortcut Bank
  • G:ResourcesStart MenusStaffDesktop
  • G:ResourcesStart MenusStaffStart Menu
  • G:ResourcesStart MenusStudentsDesktop
  • G:ResourcesStart MenusStudentsStart Menu
  • G:ResourcesStart MenusTechniciansDesktop
  • G:ResourcesStart MenusTechniciansStart Menu

Sharing and Folder Security

It is essential that the following folder security is placed on the newly created folders.  This will prevent students from accidentally accessing other students' areas or staff areas.

In order for the network to function correctly, the folders that where created in the previous section must now also be shared.

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Browse to the drive that contains the folders to share.
  3. Right Click on the folder and choose Sharing and Security.
  4. Choose the Share this folder radio button.
  5. Enter the name to share the folder as.
  6. Click the Permissions button.
  7. Add/Adjust the permissions of the share according to the table below.
  8. Click the Caching button. (Not for any of the User folders)
      • Change the caching options to "Files and programs from this share will not be available offline"
  9. Click Apply.
  10. Click Close.


Share Name

User Group




Domain Admins

Full Control
Full Control
Read Only




Full Control



Domain Admins

Full Control
Full Control



Domain Admins

Full Control
Read Only



Domain Admins

Full Control
Full Control



Domain Admins

Full Control
Full Control



Domain Admins

Full Control
Full Control



Domain Admins

Full Control

When sharing a folder, you may be wondering the significance of the $ behind the names of the shares.  Using the $ symbol will tell the networking side of Windows to hide these shared folders from view.  This means that you will need to specifically access those folders by name, it is not possible to browse for hidden folders.

Accessing and testing the shared folders

All shared folders can be accessed by using its UNC reference path.  This is a bit like a URL path that is used for internet addresses.  UNC paths start with 2 backslash characters; a single backslash is used as a separator to separate folder names.

To access the Public folder type, server01public into the address bar of Windows Explorer.  When you press the Enter/Return key, Windows Explorer should then display the contents of the public folder.  To access one of the hidden shared folders. Use exactly the same syntax, ensuring that you enter the $ symbol at the end of the line before pressing the Enter/Return key.

NOTE: we have not changed the default NTFS file based permissions of our newly created folders.  Changing NTFS permissions will be covered in another article.

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