Windows 7 – Network Drive Alphabetti Spaghetti

It’s been a long time since my last post on here, time hopefully well spent! During the last 18 Months IT Services have been hard at work on the biggest single change to Edge Hill’s IT infrastructure ever attempted. It’s taken untold hours of hard graft but we are finally able to implement these changes.

If you take a walk to one of the student classrooms or open access areas then you will find yourself looking at a new Windows 7 Desktop. (I suggest going to the library and enjoying the new computers we fitted in there last week, with massive 23 inch monitors!). These machines not only have the new version of Windows and Office installed but also use Microsoft Active Directory to log you in. I could give you a long geeky breakdown of why this is awesome but we’ll settle on the fact that it should be a LOT faster than the old Novell client we had to use on Windows XP.

At this point we come to the title of this post.. your Network Drive.. Once you login to Windows 7 and navigate to the computer button (replacing the old “My Computer” icon) You’ll see some significant changes. The drives you are used to using on XP are gone and in their place are some brand spanking new network shares, all now running on our SAN via a Windows Cluster. The most important difference to you as an end user is the naming of these drives. Gone are F: G: and M: and in their place we have our new shares Stushare1 (X:) Staffshare1 (Y:) and your homedrive (Z:).

This might seem a bit confusing at first but allow me to explain the move. Firstly we wanted to differentiate between the old Novell and the new Windows shares. Things like the user homedrives have been copied file for file to the new share so for them it’s just a change of letter. The staffshare will be a lot more significant a change as we take the time to restructure the folders inside. As for why we changed the drive letter, well that has been on the cards for quite a while! Unfortunately the popularity of USB devices has had a real impact on drive lettering. We had endless conflicts with USB devices trying to install themselves on F: and G: drive letters. So with the chance to change things around we opted to follow best practise and put our network drives as far away from the local drives as we can. Hence our Z: X: Y: drives!

In the first instance I’m sure it will cause a bit of confusion for staff and students alike. My advice would be to stop thinking of your shares as the G: and F: drive rather think of them as the shared and home drives. To learn more about the upgrade to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, Staff can attend one of our overview sessions on either Friday, 19th August at 10am or on Thursday, 25th August at 3.30pm To book a place on one of these, please contact Staff Development on or visit

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