Tuesday, June 1, 1999

How to share your Palm Desktop among multiple users


By Claire Pieterek

There seem to be two types of Palm device users: those who keep their own schedules and those who have others maintain their schedules. This is the first of a multiple-part series of articles on how people who need to share can perform HotSync operations.

When synching up is hard to do

Palm Desktop is admittedly, not the right tool for the job if you need to share your schedule on a network. The following procedure is for those on a low budget who have some knowledge of their network operating system (i.e., you understand the concepts of sharing or mapping network drives and setting permissions or granting rights). Given the plethora of network operating systems available--from Novell NetWare versions 2.2 to 5.0, Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT versions 3.51 and 4.0--instruction on network operating system (NOS) commands is outside the scope of this article. You'll also need to be comfortable using RegEdit, the registry editing tool available on most Windows OS releases.

Forewarned is forearmed

There's a possible pitfall of this procedure. Without the right care, multiple network users can make changes at the same time, which could lead to data corruption or just plain bad information. The best practice here would be to grant rights to a single person delegated to make changes and write to the files. This can generally be done through the NOS.

Faint hearts need not apply

First, install Palm Desktop on each user's PC.

Next, we're going to put the user files that will be shared on a network drive. This assumes that you know how to map or share a drive on your particular network operating system, and have the network rights to do so.

Now, move all user data files from the Pilot directory to the network directory, and move the users.dat file to that directory. Let's use the P: drive as an example. If I were to move my user files to the P: drive, I would move the PieterC folder from C:&#92Palm&#92PieterC to P:&#92Palm&#92PieterC, and move the C:&#92Palm&#92users.dat file to P:&#92Pilot&#92users.dat. This move can be accomplished by using DOS commands such as XCOPY or MOVE, Filer on a Novell 2.x-3.x network, or through Windows Explorer.

"I strongly recommend making a backup copy of your registry before you make any changes."

Once your user files are moved, the path setting must be changed on each computer. For Windows 95 or 98 users, choose Run from the Start menu, type RegEdit in the box and press Enter.

I strongly recommend making a backup copy of your registry before you make any changes. To backup your registry, choose Export Registry File from the Registry menu. Select the backup copy's location by pulling down the Save in box and clicking on the appropriate drive (I usually choose C:). Give your registry backup a name by typing "REGBACK" or something equally recognizable in the File Name box. Under Export Range, make sure the All radio button is checked, then click Save.