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4b>Accesing Shared Resources with the Network Client

Comm Link

By Chris De Herrera
April 27, 1998

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With the Network Client for Windows® CE, users can access shared file and print services with a Handheld PC running Microsoft® Windows CE 2.0. This can be done via any TCP/IP method that Windows CE supports, including Ethernet, remote access service (RAS), modem, IrDA, and serial connection.

The Network Client for Windows CE was released by Microsoft as a developer tool. It requires approximately 300K of free storage space on your Handheld PC. Microsoft does not support the Network Client.


Once you download the Network Client for Windows CE, you need to uncompress the files on your PC. Since you are using it at your own risk, you should perform a full backup of your Handheld PC before installing the files - this way, if something goes wrong you can completely reset your device and restore all of your Handheld PC files and data.

Next, connect your Handheld PC to your PC with Microsoft Windows CE Services. The files need to be transferred to the \Windows directory on your Handheld PC. IMPORTANT: Make sure you install the correct version of the Network Client for your processor! If you are not sure which processor your device uses, check the System control panel.

After copying is complete and you have disconnected from your desktop, press the reset button on the unit. Once the Handheld PC reboots, the installation is complete.

You also may want to install the Client for Microsoft Networks on your desktop PC to allow your Handheld PC to share resources on it. This is done in the Network control panel. Also, don't forget to enable file and print sharing.

Finally, both the Handheld PC and your PC must use the same workgroup and domain. You set this on the Handheld PC in Remote Networking for Serial, RAS, Modem, or IrDA, or in the Network control panel for Ethernet. Also, if you set a WINS server in your configuration, you can only access Microsoft Windows 95- or Microsoft Windows NT®-based systems that are registered with that WINS server.

Using the Network Client

The Network Client for Windows CE works using the Common Internet File System (CIFS), which is used to identify the server and the shared resource you want to access on Windows 95- or Windows NT-based systems (but not UNIX shared resources using Samba). For example, to access a PC named "Desktop" and a share identified as "C," you would enter \\Desktop\C to access files on that machine. You can browse the shared resources on that machine by enterang \\Desktop.

Once you've connected to a share, you can double tap some file types (e.g., GIF, JPEG, Microsoft Pocket Word) to launch the associated application and view them on the Handheld PC. If you install the freeware program Pocket Unzip, you can open and expand zip archives directly on your Handheld PC. If you create Shortcuts to shared resources (e.g., files, directories, or printers), you should not use them when you are not connected to the network. If you do, you may need to use the reset button to reboot your device.

Note that files are not converted to or from H/PC formats if they are transferred using the Network Client. To do this, you need to use Windows CE Services. Also, you cannot access network files with the Open command from the File menu.

Printing on the network

You can print a plain text file from your Handheld PC to a network printer that is attached to a network accessible Windows 95- or Windows NT-based system. First, find the specific file you want to print on your device in the file browser (do not open it in Pocket Word). Then select the Copy command from the Edit menu. Next select the printer on the associated server (for example, \\Desktop\printer) and then use the Paste command from the Edit menu to print the file.

You cannot print Pocket Word or Microsoft Pocket Excel files with this method. If necessary. you can export a Pocket Word document to plain text by opening it in Pocket Word and using the Save As... command under the File menu.


With the Network Client for Windows CE, you can access remote files without installing Windows CE Services on each PC you want to communicate with. However, you still need Windows CE Services to synchronize your data in Microsoft Pocket Outlook™ and to convert some files to and from Handheld PC formats.

If you find an error or can add to in the information provided above, feel free to e-mail me at Chris@Pocket PC FAQ.

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