Network Tips & Tricks

Sometimes connecting to a server or NAS device on the network can be a real pain; this has mostly to do with how Microsoft manages network connections and how servers are set up and networks are structured.

Background Info

In Windows, each user session has its own network connections. On a Windows Server there are several users logged in at a time, whether “real” users or agent users, such as the ‘local system’ user.

Each of these users has its own list of network connections with user names and passwords stored. However, there is a big limitation is Windows you need to know: If user A and user B are both logged on to a server and want to connect to server X, they cannot do so using different credentials! You would need to use the same credentials for the network share on server X, for example using a dedicated user account to access files on server X.

It follows from the above, that BackupChain’s background service (BackupChain Service), running in the local system account session, cannot access your personal network shares and mapped drives because those only exist in your personal session.


Networks are complicated enough so we put a couple of tricks together to get you started:

  • when connecting to server X, try using its IP address (static) instead of its network name
  • use the network name of server X as a user name prefix: instead of using user name “billy” use serverX\billy. If billy is a domain user, try prefixing using the domain name: mydomain\billy
  • in complex domain setups you may need to use the full domain name for Windows to know where to authenticate against:\billy
  • if the device is not part of a domain network, prefix the user with the network name or IP address: instead of billy, nasbox\billy
  • If all else fails, create a new dedicated admin user called BackupChain with a fixed password that never expires and change the log on properties of BackupChain Service to that new user, then restart the service.
  • Ideally create the same user with the same password on the NAS device or other non-domain network server. Windows always tries to apply the same ‘current’ user credentials when connecting to the other box
  • Use ‘always authenticate’ in BackupChain’s network settings when the network share can be accessed anonymously as well, but with limited rights. Forcing authentication ensures BackupChain will get the access it needs, not just read-only access granted to everyone without authentication
  • Reboot to clear the internal network connection list of the local system user. Restarting (not terminating) BackupChain Service will remove all network connections it created. BackupChain also does this automatically when all tasks have finished
  • Mapped drives don’t work in BackupChain by design because they are limited to your own personal user session that the background service can’t access. Use UNC instead: network name or IP, user name, and password, see above.
  • If there are several shares on Server X where different people access different folders and you want to back it up, create a new dedicated user on ServerX called “BackupChain” and give read access to everything. Then use only that one user to access all shares on ServerX
  • On a domain network, create a new admin with access to everything for BackupChain
  • On a workstation network without a domain server, create BackupChain users on each device with the same password everywhere. Make sure the password is set not to expire. Then switch all BackupChain Service instances to use that user instead of local system. Note, however, there are sections in the file system  that can’t be accessed as admin. You may have to force folder security settings to include the newly created user.