Will accessing a program on the server perform better with a mapped drive versus a shortcut?

Posted on 2007-08-02
Last Modified: 2010-03-17
Easy question. Just wanted to make sure though. We have a program which is installed on the server. (That is the way it is recommened to be run) It is a billing program. After it is installed, you simply browse to it and send a shortcut of the .exe file to your desktop. After that, clicking on the shortcut allows you to work with the program off the server.

When the companies' support tech called today, he told us that it wouldn't work very well because the folder where the .exe file resides (the program's folder) should have been a Mapped Network Drive instead. I went ahead and mapped it, but I don't see why it should work better as a mapped drive than a shortcut since they should be fairly similar. I mean I know that mapping a network drive can have its advantages, but if I am simply trying to access one file and the folder isn't going to move, why would it work better?
Question by:Bert2005
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    Accepted Solution

    The only thing mapping a drive will help will be that network discovery happens on logging into windows (assuming you've made it a permanent network mappping) rather than clicking on the link. That could possibly save a second or 2 after pressing the icon, more if you have to give credentials to log in.

    Some older applications do not like UNC naming convention and will demand a mapped drive, but if the application is telling you to set up the shortcut like that, then it's almost certain to support it.

    I'd recommend networked drives when you want to access other parts of the application (editing INI files, backing up data, etc) because it will be easier to find and navigate through. That said, there is really no harm in setting one up apart from everyone will typically need the same mapping to get ini files to work. If they are recommending it then roll with it. There maybe other issues that they know of that crop up doing it the way you do, so I wouldn't go against them for something pretty trivial to implement.
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    Author Comment

    ", If they are recommending it then roll with it. There maybe other issues that they know of that crop up doing it the way you do, so I wouldn't go against them for something pretty trivial to implement."

    That's great advice!
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    Author Comment

    The only thing I should add is:

    The way it is set up now, there is a shortcut on the desktop of a workstation which access the program on the server.

    Mapping that folder to each desktop may have advantages that I do not know about as stated. BUT, then I still have to make a shortcut to the same exectuable file in the folder which is mapped. Is that still an advantage?
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    Expert Comment

    A shortcut is just a simple way to go to the specified directory and run the specified program. Having a shortcut to a mapped drive (S:\myprog\myprog.exe) is still the same as going to S: drive and finding the application to start. Mapping a drive means that the networking layer is now one level lower. The OS is now only looking at a drive the same as any other drive, even though to access the contents it still needs to send network requests. Only a subtle difference. UNC presents the network as a resource, mapping presents the network as part of the file subsystem (which is then presented as a resource).
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    Author Comment

    Thanks. I understand better now. I have mapped network drives before.

    The main reason I asked, which may help you to know why I continue to want to know the smaller details is that when we had a few corrupted files on one of our programs which runs ON the server and is accessed via shortcuts from the client, i.e. there is no actual application on the clients when then access a database on the server, the tech support blamed it all on the shortcut rather than a mapped drive to the folder. I was wondering if it makes a difference. Again, your answer about, hey maybe not, but why the hell don't do it, kind of answers that.

    I am kind of a white paper kind of guy. OK, support, I will do what you say, but show me the data of why it makes a difference.

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