USB drive network sharing

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I've tried this question on several other groups and got no response at
all, so I'm hoping someone here has a clue.

I have multiple USB external drives connected to one computer and shared
to all others on my network. Easy enough, unless the shared drives are
not present when the computer boots, because then the sharing is lost.

My goal is to be able to turn on the drives individually when needed and
automatically restore sharing at the same time. I've made batch files
that look like this:

net share TV4_Downloads=L:/

That works fine when I run the batch file on the host but I need a way
to run the batch file automatically when the drive is powered up. I've
tried adding the batch file to the autorun folder and adding this to the
autorun.inf file:


But that didn't work. What am I doing wrong? Or is there an easier way
to do this?

I've looked at a program called USB Redirector, but the trial version is
limited to one drive and the paid version is too expensive.


Re: USB drive network sharing

Gazing into my crystal ball I observed "Red E. Kilowatt"

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You might want to look at the setting for AutoRun.  I have mine off by
default because I don't want it interfering when I open a DVD just to
browse it.  IIRC, USB drives perform the same way if autorun is not

This article might be of help:

Adrienne Boswell at Home
Arbpen Web Site Design Services
Please respond to the group so others can share

Re: USB drive network sharing

Adrienne Boswell wrote:
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Thanks for the tips Adrienne. I do have autorun turned on and it's
loading a custom icon for the drive, so I know that the autorun.inf file
is being read. One thing I had wrong is that you can't call a batch file
from autorun. I've converted the bat file to an exe but it's still not

I've done quite a bit of Googling on this subject and there are others
trying to find solution, but besides the "USB Redirector" program there
doesn't seem to be any other options. I don't mind paying for software
but the prices they charge are based on the number of servers and the
number of USB devices, i.e. one server and 5 USB devices costs 157.15
Euros = $210. "More than 5 USB devices -- call us."

Nah, I dont' think so. Especially since I have more than 5 external

I'll post the answer here if I ever find one.

Re: USB drive network sharing

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If you were on linux, you would find it faster... :-)))

Re: USB drive network sharing

Red E. Kilowatt wrote:
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Are you using Windows networking?  It doesn't immediately recognize
drives on the LAN when they appear.  There is a lag in polling the
network shares.  There is some registry value that controls how often
the computer polls the LAN but I'll be damned if I can remember what it
is right now.

I have three USB hard drives on my main (server).  They (and all other
physical and logical drives on this system) are shared in Windows (W&
Professional but the same applied when I had XP Pro).  On every system
on my LAN I have mapped those network drives to logical drive letters.

If I boot the server with some of the USB drives turned off and open
Windows explorer on another system on the LAN, Windows tells me it can't
find some of my network shares/drives.  If I then turn on the drives and
wait a bit, open Windows Explorer on a client system, it will see the
drives.  I'm not talking 30 minutes, I'm talking a minute or two.

BTW, I have autorun turned off on all drives.  I hate stuff happening

You really shouldn't need any third-party program or batch file for this
work in Windows.  It might take a minute or two for the drives to be
recognized but it shouldn't take more than a minute.  Let the drive(s)
power up.  On the host system open Windows Explorer and verify that
they're "live".  go to a client computer, open Windows Explorer and
(assuming you've mapped the drive) see if it's there.  If not, try going
to Network Places in WE and opening the server there.  See if the drives
are there.

I've had this setup for years - Win XP and now 7.  Although, now, all
the clients on the LAN are XP.  Just the server is 7.

Ed Mullen /
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to

Re: USB drive network sharing

Ed Mullen wrote:
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I don't know how that's working for you because XP drops the sharing if
external drives are not present during boot. It's not a question of
waiting till the network spots a shared drive because the host computer
doesn't show the drives as shared any more on the properties page even
though sharing was turned on prior to the reboot.

I can turn on the sharing again from the properties page, see it on the
network immediately, turn off the drive, reboot the computer, and then
turn on the drive again. If I then check the properties page for that
drive, sharing is not turned on. That's a "feature" of all versions of
Windows -- at least as far as I've seen in the research I've done on

Re: OT: USB drive network sharing

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I suspect there are security issues which are preventing this from working.
After all in general you don't want someone to be able to come along and
plug something into your server and it run automatically.

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I have a similar issue but with two important differences - in my case (i.)
its a single drive that I'm sharing and since its used for backups (ii.)
there are particular times of day when I need to check for it. The solution
in my case is to use the schedular to do the sharing.

You could put together a batch file which checks which drives are available
and shares them. It wouldn't be slick because it would need to frequently
poll, but you could at least add it to the schedular and forget about it.

As an alternative, the following link might be useful to you:
as it seems to provide a way to run for a script running on the server to do
something when a usb device is plugged in.

Hope this helps.
 Brian Cryer

Re: OT: USB drive network sharing

Brian Cryer wrote:
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I appreciate the tip, but I think I'd have to run that batch file way
too often to make it work for me (like every 5 min) and I don't want to
put that kind of burden on my server.

So far I've got individual batch files to turn on sharing for each drive
and I just run the associated batch file shortly after I power up a
drive. I'd be nice if I didn't have to do that, but as a Windows user
I've come to expect such disappointments. :-)


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