In computing, a shared resource, or network share, is a computer resource made available from one host to other hosts on a computer network. It is a device or piece of information on a computer that can be remotely accessed from another computer, typically via a local area network or an enterprise intranet, transparently as if it were a resource in the local machine. Network sharing is made possible by inter-process communication over the network.
Some examples of shareable resources are computer programs, data, storage devices, and printers. E.g. shared file access (also known as disk sharing and folder sharing), shared printer access, shared scanner access, etc. The shared resource is called a shared disk, shared folder or shared document
The term file sharing traditionally means shared file access, especially in the context of operating systems and LAN and Intranet services, for example in Microsoft Windows documentation. Though, as BitTorrent and similar applications became available in the early 2000s, the term file sharing increasingly has become associated with peer-to-peer file sharing over the Internet.
Common file systems and protocols
Shared file and printer access require an operating system on the client that supports access to resources on a server, an operating system on the server that supports access to its resources from a client, and an application layer (in the four or five layer TCP/IP reference model) file sharing protocol and transport layer protocol to provide that shared access. Modern operating systems for personal computers include distributed file systems that support file sharing, while hand-held computing devices sometimes require additional software for shared file access.
The most common such file systems and protocols are:
|Primary operating system||Application protocol||Transport protocol|
|Mac OS||SMB, Apple Filing Protocol|
|Unix-like systems||Network File System (NFS), SMB|
|MS-DOS, Windows||SMB, also known as CIFS|
|Novell NetWare (server)|
MS-DOS, Windows (client)
A resource pool makes it easier for you to administer people or equipment assigned to tasks in more than one project file. The resource pool centralizes resource information, such as the resource name, calendar used, resource units, and cost rate tables.
The "primary operating system" is the operating system on which the file sharing protocol in question is most commonly used.
On Microsoft Windows, a network share is provided by the Windows network component "File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks", using Microsoft's SMB (Server Message Block) protocol. Other operating systems might also implement that protocol; for example, Samba is an SMB server running on Unix-like operating systems and some other non-MS-DOS/non-Windows operating systems such as OpenVMS. Samba can be used to create network shares which can be accessed, using SMB, from computers running Microsoft Windows. An alternative approach is a shared disk file system, where each computer has access to the "native" filesystem on a shared disk drive.
Shared resource access can also be implemented with Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV).
Naming convention and mapping
The share can be accessed by client computers through some naming convention, such as UNC (Universal Naming Convention) used on DOS and Windows PC computers. This implies that a network share can be addressed according to the following:
where is the WINS name, DNS name or IP address of the server computer, and may be a folder or file name, or its path. The shared folder can also be given a ShareName that is different from the folder local name at the server side. For example, usually denotes a drive with drive letter C: on a Windows machine.
A shared drive or folder is often mapped at the client PC computer, meaning that it is assigned a drive letter on the local PC computer. For example, the drive letter H: is typically used for the user home directory on a central file server.
A network share can become a security liability when access to the shared files is gained (often by devious means) by those who should not have access to them. Many computer worms have spread through network shares. Network shares would consume extensive communication capacity in non-broadband network access. Because of that, shared printer and file access is normally prohibited in firewalls from computers outside the local area network or enterprise Intranet. However, by means of virtual private networks (VPN), shared resources can securely be made available for certified users outside the local network.
A network share is typically made accessible to other users by marking any folder or file as shared, or by changing the file system permissions or access rights in the properties of the folder. For example, a file or folder may be accessible only to one user (the owner), to system administrators, to a certain group of users to public, i.e. to all logged in users. The exact procedure varies by platform.
In operating system editions for homes and small offices, there may be a special pre-shared folder that is accessible to all users with a user account and password on the local computer. Network access to the pre-shared folder can be turned on. In the Windows XP Home Edition operating system, english version, the preshared folder is named Shared documents, typically with the path. In Windows Vista and Windows 7, the pre-shared folder is named public documents, typically with the path .
Workgroup topology or centralized server
In home and small office networks, a decentralized approach is often used, where every user may make their local folders and printers available to others. This approach is sometimes denoted a Workgroup or peer-to-peer network topology, since the same computer may be used as client as well as server.
In large enterprise networks, a centralized file server or print server, sometimes denoted client–server paradigm, is typically used. A client process on the local user computer takes the initiative to start the communication, while a server process on the file server or print server remote computer passively waits for requests to start a communication session
In very large networks, a Storage Area Network (SAN) approach may be used.
Online storage on a server outside the local network is currently an option, especially for homes and small office networks.
Difference from file transfer
Shared file access should not be confused with file transfer using the file transfer protocol (FTP), or the BluetoothIRDAOBject EXchange (OBEX) protocol. Shared access involves automatic synchronization of folder information whenever a folder is changed on the server, and may provide server side file searching, while file transfer is a more rudimentary service.
Shared file access is normally considered as a local area network (LAN) service, while FTP is an Internet service.
Shared file access is transparent to the user, as if it was a resource in the local file system, and supports a multi-user environment. This includes concurrency control or locking of a remote file while a user is editing it, and file system permissions.
Difference from synchronization
Shared file access involves but should not be confused with file synchronization and other information synchronization. Internet-based information synchronization may, for example, use the SyncML language. Shared file access is based on server side pushing of folder information, and is normally used over an "always on" Internet socket. File synchronization allows the user to be offline from time to time, and is normally based on an agent software that polls synchronized machines at reconnect, and sometimes repeatedly with a certain time interval, to discover differences. Modern operating systems often include a local cache of remote files, allowing offline access and synchronization when reconnected.
- Graves, Michael W. (2004). The Complete Guide to Networking And Network +. Cengage Learning. ISBN 1-4018-3339-X.
- Meyers, Michael; Jernigan, Scott (2004). Mike Meyers' A+ Guide to Operating Systems. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0-07-223124-6.
- Pirkola,G. C., "A file system for a general-purpose time-sharing environment", Proceedings of the IEEE, June 1975, volume 63 no. 6, pp. 918–924, ISSN 0018-9219
- Pirkola, G. C. and John Sanguinetti, J., "The Protection of Information in a General Purpose Time-Sharing Environment", Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Trends and Applications 1977: Computer Security and Integrity, vol. 10 no. 4, pp. 106–114
- ^Padlipsky, Michael A. (September 1982). A Perspective on the ARPANET Reference Model. IETF. doi:10.17487/RFC0871. RFC 871. https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc871. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- ^ abWalden, David C. (July 1970). A Note on Interprocess in a Resource Sharing Computer Network. IETF. doi:10.17487/RFC0061. RFC 61. https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc61. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- ^Walden, David C. (August 1970). A System for Interprocess Communication in a Resource Sharing Computer Network. IETF. doi:10.17487/RFC0062. RFC 62. https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc62. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
- ^Microsoft Technet, File and Printer Sharing in Windows Vista, May 14, 2007
- ^"Apple shifts from AFP file sharing to SMB2 in OS X 10.9 Mavericks". AppleInsider. Quiller Media, Inc.
- ^Katy Ivens, Networking for dummies, 4th edition, 2007, page 121. Suggest the term "pre-shared folder".
- ^Share Files across Cloud Storage.
The amount of memory or RAM available on personal computers has increased steadily throughout the past decades. Many factors have pushed an increase in memory usage, and laptops shipping with 8 GB RAM is now a common sight. Yet, those users involved with heavy duty processesIs It Still Cheaper to Build Your Own PC?Is It Still Cheaper to Build Your Own PC?How much does it cost to build your own PC these days? Compared to pre-built models, are the savings worth the effort? We investigate.Read More, such as game design or video editing, are likely to need more still.
This guide is available to download as a free PDF. Download How to Troubleshoot Low RAM or Memory Leaks in Windows now. Feel free to copy and share this with your friends and family.
Of course, RAM has its limits. Your system capabilities are limited by the amount of RAM in use, as one of a number of factors. What happens when you have low RAM? Or how about a memory leak? Let’s take a quick look at what RAM is, and what to do when a number of RAM-related issues arise.
What Is RAM?
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is a vital feature of any computer. RAM is a form of data storage different from your hard-drive. It is volatile and doesn’t maintain storage when the system is powered down. It is called random because you access any memory cell directly, with the memory holding operating system and application specific data needing to be recalled rapidly. While traditional memory has become increasingly fastHard Drives, SSDs, Flash Drives: How Long Will Your Storage Media Last?Hard Drives, SSDs, Flash Drives: How Long Will Your Storage Media Last?How long will hard drives, SSDs, flash drives continue to work, and how long will they store your data if you use them for archiving?Read More, it still cannot compare to the latest RAM specifications.
Depending on when your system was built, you likely have 2-8 GB of some variant of DDR SDRAMWhat Is the Difference Between DDR2 & DDR3 RAMWhat Is the Difference Between DDR2 & DDR3 RAMRead More. Translated, this means Double Data Rate Synchronous RAM, meaning the RAM in your system uses a double data transfer rate by utilizing each up and down tick of the clock cycleWhat Is A CPU and What Does It Do?What Is A CPU and What Does It Do?Computing acronyms are confusing. What is a CPU anyway? And do I need a quad or dual-core processor? How about AMD, or Intel? We're here to help explain the difference!Read More (whereas basic RAM only uses one tick, limiting its efficiency).
What Is Using My RAM?
Every application you open on your device will use a proportion of your available RAM. Some programs are notoriously RAM hungry, like PhotoshopPhotoshop or Lightroom: Which One Should You Use?Photoshop or Lightroom: Which One Should You Use?If you can gain access to both of them, we highly recommend it. But what if you could only choose one?Read More or ZBrush. Others will be barely noticeable, like Sizer or Unchecky7 Common Computer Mistakes You Can Avoid7 Common Computer Mistakes You Can AvoidNobody is perfect. Despite all the advice available online, many of us make silly mistakes. Don't want to be caught acting like a computer noob? Consult this list of usual slip-ups to avoid.Read More. Your system performance will be somewhat limited by the amount of RAM availableHow Much RAM Do You Really Need?How Much RAM Do You Really Need?RAM is like short term memory. The more you multitask, the more you need. Find out how much your computer has, how to get the most out of it, or how to get more.Read More, and the amount of RAM in use5 Ways to Clear Memory & Increase RAM on Your Windows Computer5 Ways to Clear Memory & Increase RAM on Your Windows ComputerRAM, the final frontier. You always seem to run out of it. We'll show you how you can free up internal memory and extend your RAM, both virtually and physically.Read More. For instance, if you have 4 GB RAM available to your system, but have Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Spotify, and Google Chrome with several tabs open, you’re likely to be pushing the extremities of your system.
Luckily, a host of programs allow us check what is using our RAM. Right-click the Taskbar. You should spot Start Task Manager. Selecting it will open the Windows Task Manager, which is a control center for your computer. Note the tabs at the top. Click Processes. This will show you each process using the RAM on your system. At the bottom of the panel, Windows handily shows you the cumulative system usage.
At the time of writing this, I’m using 49% of my available 8 GB RAM. My system isn’t slow by any means, but I might close a few of the more RAM hungry processes before playing a game.
Scroll down your own Processes list and look at those currently active. You’ll notice a number of applications you have open, like your Internet browser of choice, your antivirus, or your music player. Alongside those, there are also system critical processes such as svchost.exe, or perhaps your wireless/Ethernet drivers. Unless you know what you’re doing, or have been advised by someone else who does know what they’re doing, don’t mess around with any processes. Unexpectedly ending critical processes can causeHow To Handle Suspicious Windows Task Manager ProcessesHow To Handle Suspicious Windows Task Manager ProcessesCTRL + ALT + DEL aka three-finger salute is the quickest way to add to your confusion. Sorting through Task Manager Processes, you may notice something like svchost.exe using 99% of your CPU. So now...Read More your system harm!
If you then click the Performance tab, you’ll get a system overview. It should look similar to the above screenshot, depending on your version of Windows. As you can see, I am using 3.93 GB RAM, that my system has been up for 23 hours, and that I’m using 28% of my available CPU powerHow to Fix High CPU Usage in WindowsHow to Fix High CPU Usage in WindowsIf your computer fans frequently hit top speeds, it's a sign that your CPU is fully loaded. Simultaneously, your computer may slow down. That's annoying, especially if you're not actually doing anything.Read More.
Not satisfied with the Task Manager? In the Performance tab you can access the more detailed overview of the Resource Manager. The Resource Manager will open in a new window, and initially shows an overview, with separate tabs for your CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network. Head to the Memory tab.
You’ll first notice the delightful bar graph8 Types of Excel Charts & When You Should Use Them8 Types of Excel Charts & When You Should Use ThemGraphics are easier to grasp than text and numbers. Charts are a great way to visualize numbers. We show you how to create charts in Microsoft Excel and when to best use what kind.Read More visualizing your current memory usage. There are also some graphs to check out, and the main event of your active memory processes. Your active memory processes show how your RAM is being assigned to make the most use of it. Don’t worry if your bar graph shows no “free” RAM – memory that isn’t being used for something is a waste of resources, so Windows will try to optimize your RAM to make sure it is full of useful, frequently used things.
For instance, you might regularly load a program that uses a common DLL. The application executable and the function may well be sitting in Standby memory, saving time.
Here is an explanation for each of the columns in the Processes panel:
- Hard Faults: Also known as Page Faults. Hard/Page Faults occur when an application tried to access something in the RAM that had been moved to the paging file. If this is a common occurrence, definitely consider increasing your system RAM.
- Commit: The amount of space the application has needed in the paging file.
- Working Set: The current working amount of RAM in use by the application.
- Shareable: The amount of the Working Set that can be or is being shared with other processes. This is also an indicator of RAM that can be given up to other processes.
- Private: The amount of RAM an application is using that cannot be accessed by other processes.
Alternative: Process Hacker
Process Hacker is an open sourceWhat Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains]What Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains]"Open source" is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days. You may know that certain things are open source, like Linux and Android, but do you know what it entails? What is open...Read More Task Manager alternative packed with advanced features. If Task Manager and the Resource Monitor don’t quite pack the system management punch you need, give this a try.
Along with the standard features you’d expect, such as graphs for CPU, memory, and disk usage, Process Hacker gives you more control over system processes. For instance, Process Hacker allows you to discover which processes are using a particular file before you attempt to delete or edit it, or create and manage your own system processes.
For a list of tools, check out these Task Manager alternatives5 Powerful Alternatives to the Windows Task Manager5 Powerful Alternatives to the Windows Task ManagerTask Killer would be a better name for the native Windows Task Manager since we only bring it up to kill unresponsive processes. Alternative Task Managers allow you to actually manage your processes.Read More, compiled by our very own Joel Lee.
Common RAM Issues
As fast and efficient as RAMAre RAM Drives Faster Than SSDs? 5 Things You Must KnowAre RAM Drives Faster Than SSDs? 5 Things You Must KnowRAM drives might be faster than SSDs, but at what cost? Here's what you need to know before committing to RAM drives all the way.Read More can be, it can also run into some irritating issues. Luckily, most are common, and we can offer you some fixes right here.
When I Open Several Programs, My System Is Slow
This could be due to resource heavy applications hogging all of your available RAM. If this is a regular occurrence, we’d suggest purchasing and installing8 Terms You Need to Know When Buying Computer RAM8 Terms You Need to Know When Buying Computer RAMWhile RAM tends to be fairly easy to find and install, tracking down RAM compatible with your system can prove to be a bit more challenging than a casual user may be expecting.Read More some more RAM. RAM prices regularly fluctuateHow Is RAM Made, And Why Does The Price Fluctuate?How Is RAM Made, And Why Does The Price Fluctuate?Random Access Memory, more frequently known as RAM, is a common component that every PC needs.Read More, so you might find a deal, and depending on your system type, it can be one of the easiest ways to give your entire device a boost.
If you’re unsure of how to install the RAM once you’ve bought it, YouTube is full of tutorialsHow To Upgrade A Laptop's RAM, Step By StepHow To Upgrade A Laptop's RAM, Step By StepIs your laptop old, slow, and has the hardware never been upgraded? Working on a slow computer can be a real drag. Before you buy a completely new one, however, you should consider ways to...Read More you can find here. If you are still unsure, try typing in the name of your motherboard + install RAM, or your laptop make and model + install RAM. Unless you’re running a super rare setup, it is highly likely someone has been in your shoes and made a video to help others.
My System Is Slow, But I Have Lots Of RAM
This can mean different things on different systems, and it can also relate to the software you’re using.
For instance, an update to the Mozilla Firefox browser in 2014Firefox Too Slow? Optimise Your Browser With These TricksFirefox Too Slow? Optimise Your Browser With These TricksRead More suddenly introduced a new memory leak issue for numerous systems. A memory leak is where an application incorrectly manages RAM memory allocations, causing the application to retain unneeded memory, or store objects in the memory that can no longer be reached by the application. In either case, the application can completely drain system memory to the point of crashing