Microsoft networking has finally come out of the closet. Long gone are the days of running LAN Manager on OS/2 and "Windows network" on peer-to-peer clients. Windows NT has taken the quantum leap into full network integration over multiple platforms. O ne of the most striking of these technologies is the NetWare Workstation Compatible Service (NWCS). NWCS is currently in a beta version, but it is scheduled for release with the next "Daytona" version of Windows NT. I received my test copy of NWCS directl y from Microsoft Japan, but you can just as easily find the latest version on the CompuServe Microsoft Forum.

One minor inconvenience was that, although the test version that I received was floppy-disk based, the files were unordered. It was necessary to temporarily copy the contents of the floppy disks to the local hard disk drive and install from a single d irectory. Since the NWCS software is still in beta form, the files have not been sorted for floppybased installation.

The NWCS software is compatible with both the base Windows NT product and the Windows NT Advanced Server. I successfully tested the connectivity for both Windows NT versions; the respective installation processes were virtually identical. The test mach ine for the Windows NT Advanced Server installation was a Compaq Deskpro 66M with one 340MB IDE hard disk drive, one 1GB SC:SI hard disk drive, a Compaq CD-ROM drive, and 16MB of RAM (the minimum required to run Windows NT Advanced Server). On the Compaq EISA bus was an Adaptec FAST 32-bit SCSI adapter, a standard ISA 3COM Etherlink III 10 Base-2 net adapter, an internal Intel Optima 14,400 bps modem, and the Compaq Qvision Video Adapter card. I, of course, verified that all of these items were operating correctly before attempting the NWCS installation.

Until recently, our in-house network consisted of a Novell NetWare version 3.12 server and some 25 NetWare client DOS machines running Windows and various applications from the Novell server over the 10 Base-2 /10 BaseT network. When introduced, the N T Advanced Server machine was placed on the same wiring as the NetWare machines, and two Windows for Workgroups DOS client machines were set up with access to both the Novell and Microsoft networks - each using only the single (Etherlink III) network card . This worked fine, and these two WFW users were able to log in to both the Novell and Microsoft networks and access all of the network resources. Accompanying these was one 486/33 notebook machine running Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and accessing the net work via a 10 Base-T parallel port Xircom III adapter. Correct operation of the Xircom adapter was verified separately for both the NetWare ODI drivers and the Microsoft Network NDIS drivers. Since (unlike the 3COM network adapter) the Xircom can only sup port one type of network driver (OD1 or NDIS), the notebook computer was set up as a Microsoft Networking-only client.

The stage was now set for NWCS setup on the NT machines - the ultimate goal being to implement the file and printing gateways and test network access from WFW- and LAN Manager-based machines loading only the Microsoft Netbeui protocol. At present, Mic rosoft LAN Manager (English version 2.2, now called Microsoft Network Client) is available from CompuServe. This is the DOS client upon which you can run "normal" Windows 3.1 and/or any other DOS application that requires Microsoft network access. Inciden tally, this Microsoft Network Client also contains NetWare Connectivity Services, which allows a DOS machine to access both Microsoft Network and NetWare servers. This can be used to provide NetWare and MS-Network access to Japanese Windows - particularly useful in a bilingual environment. In fact, if both English and Japanese Windows are required on the one machine, the Microsoft Network Client with separate Windows 3.1E and Windows 3.15 directories is probably the most workable solution. This is typical ly much easier to install than a combination of Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and LANManagerNVindows 3.15.

It is worth noting, however, that although using the English vetsion of the Microsoft Network Client for Japanese Windows/DOS machines is convenient in a English-Japanese switchable configuration, this combination of English and Japanese products is n ot supported by Microsoft.

As a further progression from this, the addition to the network of a Windows NTJ server machine will simplify handling of kanji file names and will enable, for example, the creation of a Japanese MS-Mail postoffice.


Apart from being logged onto the target machine as an administrator, there are a number of requirements for the installation of NWCS. First, to install the beta version software, you must have installed the Windows NT "patch" (the December or later rel eases). If this has not been installed, the beta NWCS installation will greet you with a message requesting that you install it. Second, any previous installations of NetWare services for NT (the Novell version, for example) must be removed from the confi guration, and the computer restarted. Third, the NWLINK transport must be installed through the Networking icon of the Windows NT Control Panel. NWLINK is one of the protocols provided with Windows NT at purchase, and it is an [PX/SPX compatible transport upon which the NWCS connectivity resides.

After these steps, installation is fairly straightforward. Use the Add Software button in the Control Panel's Networking area and select the "Other... requires disk..." menu selection. Here, you must specify the location of the floppy disk files that you have copied to your local disk drive.

Tricky bits

If you have set up Windows NT at least once and have some familiarity with Novell NetWare, getting the two systems to successfully talk to each other is not particularly difficult or time-consuming.

In the Windows NT setup, you will be asked for certain pieces of information pertaining to your particular Novell network. Thus, beforehand, you should find out the following things:

    The NetWare network number for your network;
  • If you are using Ethernet, the type of packet;
  • The name of the server used to verify user network login.

The first two of these are simple to find out; one of the SYSCON information screens on the NetWare server will have this information listed. The third is more difficult but important, since once the "Preferred Server" has been set, you can be logged onto both the Novell and Windows NT networks simultaneously if both passwords have been set the same.

Connecting to netware resources

Windows NT with NWCS allows you to connect to NetWare resources in a similar fashion to the Windows or LAN Manager methods. The most intuitive way, of course, is via the File Manager, where upon installation of NWCS you will be able to view the Novell network resources as "NetWare Network" beneath the familiar "Windows Network" servers and shares. Windows NT also allows you to use the LAN Manager "Net Use" command, essentially in place of the NetWare "Map," to connect to servers and volumes. As with co nnection of Microsoft Network resources, network server locations are specified using universal naming convention (UNC) names (i.e., (two backslashes) followed by the remote server name and then the names of the respective volume or directory points on th e server, separated by \(single backslash)).

The NWCS file gateway

The file gateway is probably the most interesting and useful of the NWCS functions. It basically allows one to "reshare" NetWare resources onto the Microsoft network so that users can utilize NetWare resources without installing NetWare connectivity co mponents on the client. In other words, the Microsoft Networking client can be used to access both NetWare and Windows NTNVindows for Workgroups clients.

The file gateway serves as a translator between the server message block (SMB) protocol - used by MS networking clients to access MS networking servers - and the NetWare core protocol (NCP) - used by NetWare clients to communicate with the NetWare net working servers. To use the gateway, it is best that a separate, dedicated Windows NT account be created on the Novell end, one with the right permissions for sharing onto the Microsoft side. On the NetWare side, create a group called NTGATEWAY and the ga teway account. This account will ideally have maximum permissions set, with access for Microsoft networking clients being controlled by the NT Domain Administrator through a combination of creating multiple share redirections and the setting of access per missions ja button is provided in the NWCS file gateway window).

The NetWare file gateway will stay active while the NetWare server is operating and will not have to be recreated - even if the NT server is rebooted. On the other hand, the file gateway shares will have to be recreated if the NetWare server stops for any reason. When using the NWCS file gateway, it is advisable to have a reasonably fast network card installed in the Windows NT server. Otherwise, the NWCS file gateway-enabled machine may become a traffic bottleneck when accessing NetWare resources fro m the Microsoft network.

In all, the gateway technology is nice. It is particularly handy while using such Windows NT features as Remote Access, when it is impractical to have both NetWare and LAN Manager-compatible remote access setup.

Printer sharing The NWCS printer gateway is enabled in a manner similar to the file gateway except that is controlled via the Print Manager. Once NWCS is installed, connect to the NetWare print queue using the print manager, then simply share the print queue. Microsoft n etworking clients can then access the print queue as though it were on the Microsoft network. If the file gateway and the print gateway are both on the same NetWare server, the file gateway is used for print jobs. If, however, the two are different, the p rinting gateway supplies the GUEST credentials to log onto the appropriate NetWare server and access the print queue.

Using MS-Mail via Windows NT with a NetWare server-based postoffice When you are adding a Windows NT server to an existing NetWare setup and running Microsoft Mail, if you plan to have a majority of NetWare clients and a small number of Microsoft networking (Windows NT, LAN Manager, or Windows for Workgroups) clients, you r MS-Mail postoffice can remain situated on the NetWare server. And yes, the Microsoft NWCS file gateway can then be used by the R/licrosoft networking clients to access the postoffice.... Great! In fact, Microsoft Remote Access clients can also have MS-M ail access over a modem.

But there is a small hitch however, that applies to MSMail installations which store mail folder files on the server - in this case, the NetWare server. You can specify the MS-Mall data share via the Windows NT gateway, and actually connect to the pos toffice, but it seems impossible (in the beta version, anyway) to also concurrently access the NetWare server-resident mail folder file.

Apart from the possibility of creating an external postoffice on the Windows NT server (Microsoft's preferred solution for a large number of users), I found the only viable solution to this being to save the mail folder file either locally or on a netw ork resource that is not accessed via the NWCS file gateway (such as the Windows NT server).

This is achieved by having the potential MS network mail user log onto the NetWare network and access mail locally, while the folder file still resides on the NetWare server. In the MAIL/OPTIONS/SERVER menu in MS-Mail, the user can specify LOCAL stora ge and enter the local location of the "out-of-postoffice'' folder file. Then, in order to access the MS-Mail postoffice via the MS network (an MS network workstation or RAS client), follow these simple steps:

(1) On the NWCS gateway machine, in the CONTROL PANEL/NETWARE/FILE/GATEWAY windoui locate the MAILDATA directory on the NetWare postoffice server. Map this to drive M: (for example), give this a name such as "MAIL," and share it to the MS network.

(2) At the MS network client, log onto the gateway server. In file manager, connect drive M: to the "MAIL" share.

(3) Delete any existing MSMAIL.INI files using File Manager. This will create a clean MS-Mail configuration.

(4) Run MS-Mail from the appropriate icon, enter name and password, and select the "Connect to Existing Postoffice" option. MS-Mail should automatically find the postoffice mapped to the M: drive.

(5) MS-Mail will respond with a "cannot find message file" message. At this point, create a new local MMF file as prompted.

Having accomplished this, the MS-Mail user will have full access to the NetWare mail postoffice. The RAS user will have the added advantage of off line mail processing, reducing expensive dialup logon time.