Mapped drives

All too often we find that Windows Datacentre admins configure Datacentre to use "mapped drive" paths for Backups (or even for the Documents root). In the latter case, they soon find out that it doesn't work. In the former, they probably won't find out until they need to retrieve a backup and find that there are none. Or, as happened recently, they try to save a backup down to a client (which requires that a backup be successfully made to the Backups folder on the server first). The result in that case is an error message suggesting that the server is misconfigured. Which it is.

The issue is that MoneyWorks Datacentre runs as a service, executing as the LocalSystem user, as services do by default. The LocalSystem user has no access to "mapped drive" network volumes, which are a hack that applies only to the individual logged in user on the machine. This is not a limitation of MoneyWorks; it is a design/security feature of Windows.

Since few people are aware of this fundamental limitation, the Datacentre Console on Windows, as of 6.1, detects that a path specified is in fact a mapped network drive and will disallow it and post a helpful coach tip.

It will only do this for the usual case where the service runs as the LocalSystem account. If the service has been configured to run as some other user, then the "is network drive" check will be skipped on the assumption that the administrator knows what they are doing.

FYI, we detect the configured user of the server using

sc qc "MoneyWorks Datacentre"

and look to see if SERVICE_START_NAME is LocalSystem. You can also determine this using the Service's LogOn tab in the Services control Panel.

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