Mapped drives vs. UNC paths

Discussion in 'Server Networking' started by Jeff Johnson, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. Jeff Johnson

    Jeff Johnson Guest

    A co-worker stated that he "knew for a fact" that there are performance
    issues in accessing a directory over a UNC path versus using a mapped drive
    to the same location. (The bare UNC path scenario is supposedly slower.)
    Apparently this occurs when interating directories with large numbers of
    files. Has anyone heard of such a thing? If so, is there a link to an
    authoritative discussion of the issue? Thanks.
    Jeff Johnson, Dec 3, 2009
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  2. Jeff Johnson

    Dave Patrick Guest

    It's a function of how many network drives (CD-Roms in the drives) etc. that
    you may have mapped. Windows Explorer first has to read the file header
    information, associations and icon information and then compose the Explorer
    view. You can use Network Places instead as it only reads file and directory
    name information so the presentation is generally faster.



    Dave Patrick ....Please no email replies - reply in newsgroup.
    Microsoft Certified Professional
    Microsoft MVP [Windows]
    Dave Patrick, Dec 3, 2009
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  3. Jeff Johnson

    Jeff Johnson Guest

    Your answer would seem to suggest that mapped drives might be slightly
    slower than UNC paths. But my co-worker states the opposite: mapped drives
    perform faster than UNC paths. And this isn't just Windows Explorer; it's
    any file access, such as batch processes through code. Any idea?
    Jeff Johnson, Dec 8, 2009
  4. I think your or co-worker is wrong.
    UNC Paths have less overhead.
    Mapped drives also have connection issues, disconnection issues, timeout
    issues, "browse dialog" issues, and probably a few other issues I haven't
    thought of. UNC Paths have none of those issues other than some of the old
    style dialog boxes don't acknowledge a UNC Shortcut.

    UNC Paths = the future
    Mapped Drives = the dinosaur past and the Novell past.

    Phillip Windell

    The views expressed, are my own and not those of my employer, or Microsoft,
    or anyone else associated with me, including my cats.
    Phillip Windell, Dec 8, 2009
  5. Hi, Phil!

    <devil's advocate mode>
    I have no problems with drive mappings, disconnections, timeouts, or
    anything like that. I hate UNC paths. I mean, I use them to access stuff
    myself sometimes, but I don't want my clients or the desktop apps they use
    to have to know (or to see!) where on a network or server their stuff is
    actually located. A drive mapping is a variable. It lets me change things
    around behind the scenes without users or software ever having to know about
    it. If you've ever used software such as AutoCAD which has all its internal
    links/xrefs using UNC paths, you will know what pain and heartache are
    involved in a server replacement.

    </devil's advocate mode>
    Lanwench [MVP - Exchange], Dec 8, 2009
  6. Jeff Johnson

    Jeff Johnson Guest

    Not UI at all. This is a server-based program (a service, I believe)
    enumerating and reading files on another server.

    Basically I don't believe what my co-worker said and just in case he was
    right I wanted documentation.
    Jeff Johnson, Dec 8, 2009
  7. Jeff Johnson

    Dave Warren Guest

    In message <#> "Lanwench [MVP -
    You're probably lucky enough to have stable connectivity between client
    and server. Not everyone has this luxury at all times, I've got users
    on wifi due to cabling limitations, plus mobile users.

    This message is coming to you over a VPN tunneled through another VPN
    from approximately 35,000 in the air.
    DFS (with or without replication) solves this reasonably well.

    Personally I'm still annoyed and disappointed that Microsoft didn't do
    better with "libraries" in Windows 7, being able to administratively
    manage libraries and include UNC paths within libraries would finally
    kick the drive letter habit by making network paths just as easy for
    users as drive letters are.
    Dave Warren, Dec 8, 2009
  8. Jeff Johnson

    Dave Warren Guest

    In message <e7oS#> "Jeff Johnson"
    Mapped drives tend to slow down Explorer's performance since Explorer
    tries to open them to show space used and other details. However,
    because Explorer has already opened the connection, the very next access
    is somewhat faster since you don't have to wait for machine name
    resolution (DNS, NetBIOS, arp, whatever)

    Beyond that, actual file copying, random access times, etc should all be
    the same.
    Dave Warren, Dec 8, 2009
  9. "Lanwench [MVP - Exchange]" > Hi, Phil!
    ....and you make such a cute little devil too :)

    Yes,..I understand what you are saying.
    But I pretty much go along with what Dave Warren is saying. I almost
    mentioned DFS but he already did.

    I handle UNC paths by creating Shortcuts and placing them on the Desktop or
    My Docs or whatever is convenient. They can even be "browsed-through" from
    the root of their location with most dialog boxes, and by changing their
    Icon to look like a Folder the users just view and treat them like folders
    and most of the time the users never see the difference. Yes you can see
    the path details in the address bar of Explorer,...but I don't really care
    about that. I don't go with "security by obscurity" and keep my NTFS
    permissions tight and clean, they can only get to what they are allowed
    no matter path details they see & know,..or don't see & know.

    Phillip Windell

    The views expressed, are my own and not those of my employer, or Microsoft,
    or anyone else associated with me, including my cats.
    Phillip Windell, Dec 9, 2009
  10. Not always, but I don't have problems with drive mapping because of that.
    I always work on wifi here - and I use mapped drives w/no real problems.
    That said, I really don't like to rely on wifi in my clients' AD
    environments because if there's an issue with connectivity it will affect
    more than just drive mapping stability.
    My mobile users use RDP/TS/Citrix, and Outlook Anywhere for mail, so it's a
    non-issue :)
    lol - this is the next step after the time-honored "Guess where I'm calling
    from right now!"
    Yep, but it's more complex and may not be an option in a small shop.
    I will freely confess to having no idea whatsoever what a Win7 library is.
    Yet. :)
    Lanwench [MVP - Exchange], Dec 10, 2009
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