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Top level shared folder access report

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Last Modified: 2019-07-30
I'm looking for something that can help me identify stale folders within my Windows shared folders. All the software I've come across are catered to IT Security Audits so most of the reports that are generated from them are granular and are focused on file access.

I need something that can generate a report that shows least company accessed FOLDERS so I can create a plan on how to archive stale files and folders.

Has anyone had similar experience with cleaning up file and folder shares for an entire organization and what were the tools you ended up using to help you get to your end goal?

For what it's worth, I've already tried using SolarWinds ARM product and Windows FSRM. Both give granular reports down to the file level access within shared folders.

Thanks in advance.
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I don't know of anything that does what you want, the way you want. What I have, that I believe could accomplish this task, is the Solar Winds Log and Event Manager. You would have to setup the folder monitors and then let it go for a while and track the results.
Jonathan BanhIT Manager/Network Engineer

Author

Commented:
I feel like what I'm asking isn't unreasonable and is most likely performed by other IT departments. I would think File Server data would be reviewed every 1-3 years to locate stale files in order to archive and reclaim storage space.
Matt DaviesSenior Support Engineer
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Commented:
We use Varonis at the moment. Downside is its not exactly cheap but it does come with a wide variety of file access and inactivity reports.
Jonathan BanhIT Manager/Network Engineer

Author

Commented:
Thanks Matt.

I'll give this product a try to see if it can come up with the stale directory report I'm looking for. I'll most likely run into pricing issues but if I can get the information I need from the trial I may not need to buy!

Commented:
I use powershell commands to get last modified/accessed/created stats for all files on a share/drive on servers which act as file servers. Would that be any use? You could then filter each folder and look for how many if any of the files in that directory have been accessed in x days. You could import the data (csv format) into excel or access and do some really useful stats for management. I had to do it to check we were deleting home drives of former employees in line with a policy we have (and similar for mailboxes). Not sure the MAC stamps on the root folders themselves.give you a perfect picture of what is being accessed or amended within.
Jonathan BanhIT Manager/Network Engineer

Author

Commented:
PMA111,

This may be the ticket for me. Do you know if the powershell command identifies users that just view the files? Not necssarily, make any changes or delete files within a directory.

I would think if it does then I may have my solution!

Do you mind sharing the powershell command that you use?
Joe WinogradDeveloper
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Most Valuable Expert 2018

Commented:
Hi Jonathan,
I see that you joined Experts Exchange on Monday and that this is your first question, so let me start by saying...Welcome Aboard!

I'm working on a program called FindBigFiles. As you can tell from its name, the original idea was to search folders (or an entire server) to find "big" files, along with a "newer than" or "older than" criterion. However, the program can also find all files, regardless of size or age. The crux of the design is discussed in this EE post:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29105271/Script-returning-large-files-created-recently-on-the-server.html#a42613454

The Quick Start Guide for an early version (v1.1) is attached to this EE post:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/29105271/Script-returning-large-files-created-recently-on-the-server.html#a42637061

There were three updates after that (v1.2, v1.3, v1.4), but then I put the program on the back burner. I revived it recently and am now working on v1.5, although it is not ready for distribution yet.

FindBigFiles can already find what you are calling "stale" FILES, i.e., files that have not been accessed in N days (where the user can specify the value of N). It cannot currently find stale FOLDERS, but I can certainly enhance it to allow that. But, and it's a big BUT, the default for Windows is NOT to update the Last Access time stamp on NTFS folders. So, unless you've changed that default on your system, the Last Access time stamp won't help in identifying stale FOLDERS.

Btw, you may enable the Last Access time stamp via the disablelastaccess parameter on the fsutil command, documented here:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/administration/windows-commands/fsutil-behavior

Also, a web search for "disablelastaccess" will get you lots of good info.

Thus, you may need to change your criterion/criteria for considering a folder to be "stale"...perhaps looking at the Last Access time of every file in the folder. In any case, I hope you don't mind...I'd like to pick your brain for ideas...I get many excellent ideas for my programs from folks here at EE. So, questions for you: After the program generates a report that shows the stale folders, what's next? How can the program help you to perform the archiving of the stale folders/files (which, of course, is your objective)? How about having it create a batch file with the fully qualified file name of each "stale" file, prefixed and suffixed with user-specified data? For example, a batch file that has lines that look like this:

move "h:\share\JohnSmith\hello world.txt" "g:\archive\JohnSmith\hello world.txt"

The prefix in that example is move and the suffix is "g:\archive\JohnSmith\hello world.txt".

All ideas welcome! Regards, Joe

Commented:
Hi jonathan I will try and remember to post it tommorow when back in the office but yes you could just show last accessed rather than the other 2 attributes

Commented:
get-childitem -path \\server\share\directory  -recurse | select fullname,name,attributes,lastwritetime,creationtime,LastAccessTime, length | Export-Csv C:\directoryinventory.csv -NoTypeInformation

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Jonathan BanhIT Manager/Network Engineer

Author

Commented:
It's been awhile since I made a post towards this issue but I was able to locate a program called TreeSize that handled my needs and was an inexpensive option.

However, now I'm running into issues with what I believe are my backup software, windows server backup and cloudberry enterprise backup, continually updating the lastaccesstime per file/folder every time the scheduled backups are ran.

This may require a new thread to be created but anyone run into this issue before and how did you resolve it?
IT Manager/Network Engineer
Commented:
TreeSize Professional was my solution to this issue.

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