by Wayne M. Krakau - Chicago Computer Guide, September 1996

This is a collection of tips for working with a NetWare server. They are the ones that I am most frequently asked about in my day-to-day encounters with NetWare LANs.

NETADMIN is the DOS-based administration tool for NetWare 4. It has a primitive and somewhat obtuse interface that follows only its own standards. Its capabilities to edit the System Login Script can, however, be very handy when testing, modifying, and retesting the script. It saves much time versus repeatedly going in and out of Windows to get to the Windows-based NWADMIN. The trick is, how to maneuver through NETADMIN to get to the script editing screen.

Here’s how to get there. After entering "NETADMIN" at the DOS prompt (assuming you have the appropriate network rights), select "Manage" objects from the main menu and press "Enter". Then select the organization name and press "F10". (Warning! Don’t press "Enter" - you must use "F10".) Now select "View or edit properties of this object" and press "Enter". This is the menu that gives you access to the Organization’s properties. Finally, select "Login script" and press "Enter". At this point, you can edit the System LOGIN Script, press "Escape", and save or discard your changes similar to the way used within the old SYSCON utility on older versions of NetWare.

The Windows-based NetWare management utility, NWADMIN, has its own little quirks. For instance, if you double-click on the Country, Organization, an Organizational Unit, or a Volume, the tree structure under the object will alternately compress and then expand. To edit the properties of these objects, the shortcut is to highlight the object and then press "Enter".

While you are double-clicking on these container objects (Containers hold either other subsidiary containers or leaf objects. Leaf objects are the endpoints on the tree.), you may also note that the objects beneath them are resorted with each compression/expansion cycle. That’s how newly added or renamed objects can be sorted.

To customize the sort order, click on "View" from the top menu and then click on "Sort by Object Class". This brings up a sorting menu listing object classes (a User Object, for example) in their current order. You can reorder them any way you like and optionally save the new sequence as the default. To get the new sequence to take effect, double-click on the appropriate container object as previously specified.

A quick way to give one object rights to another (make it a trustee) is to drag the prospective trustee and drop it on the object. This will bring up a "Trustees of" menu with the trustee name already filled in. Using the Shift and Alternate keys in the same way as they are used in Windows File Manager, you can select multiple objects to drag. Shift is for a contiguous series of objects while Control can handle noncontiguous groups.

Note that any discussion of rights and trustee assignments should include the warning that you shouldn’t become so enamored of the incredibly flexible and powerful security system built into NetWare that you needlessly complicate your environment. Just because you can adjust rights at an incredibly detailed level doesn’t mean you have to use every last option. Compare it to the maximum acceleration capability of a sporty car. It’s nice to know that you have the acceleration capability when you really need it, but you don’t have to go overboard by flooring it at every green light (unless, of course, you are male either under twenty-five or recently turned 40).

If you want to move an object, drag and drop it while holding the Control key. A "Move" menu will appear. If applicable, you can create an alias by checking off the appropriate option.

To set up a default user template, to be used by all newly created user objects, first click on "Object"

on the top menu bar. Select "User Template". This will bring up a "User" properties window for a new user called "USER_TEMPLATE". This object can subsequently have its properties modified at any time, just like any other user.

All of the standard user properties are available, including home directory (within "Environment"), password restrictions, login time restrictions, network address restrictions, mailbox, and group membership. After changing these settings, all newly created users will inherit them.

I have received many panicked calls for help from people who are in NWADMIN but who can’t see the tree. They just see a blank screen with the menu across the top. The way out of that leads to a secondary trick. First select "Tools" from the top menu. Then click on "Browse". This makes a browse window appear.

The secondary trick is to select one of the container objects (such as organizations or volumes) and start another browse window. The new browse window will contain only those portions of the tree that are below the originally selected container object. You can make as many of these browse windows as you want, within the limits of screen acreage and visual acuity.


Lest you think I went overboard in last month’s column on the circular logic frequently used to justify Windows NT Server (It’s a floor wax AND it’s a dessert topping, too!), the front page of the August 12 issue of Info World stated "Meanwhile, Internet tie-ins and bundled apps make NT Server 4.0 stronger then Version 3.51, but it can’t match NetWare in file-and-print or directory services." Note that, for the sake of this discussion, directory services are synonymous with the enterprise capabilities that I mentioned. Hmmm. It seems that I am not alone in my opinions.

�1996, Wayne M. Krakau