Monthly Archives: July 2011

X drive troubleshooting on Windows

For those of you who edit parts of the WOU website, here are a few steps to try if you run into errors like “Can’t connect to site” or “Local root folder is missing” or just “File not found” when you try to open up Contribute or Dreamweaver. If this happens, it generally comes when you’re first starting Dreamweaver, or first connecting to a site in Contribute.

Of course, the first thing to check is that the page or site actually works on the web. It’s pretty rare, but sometimes there may be a problem with the webserver itself or with the page file or folder. Most of the time, though, this happens because the X: drive on your computer (or the terminal server) isn’t connected properly.

Here’s what to try…

First, a bit of explanation. 

You can skip to “Troubleshooting instructions” below if you just want to know what to do, not why. 

Still here?  Great!  Web pages on our site are just files stored on our network, and in order to work with them, your computer needs a connection to the right network location.  For historical reasons, Windows uses single letters (followed by colons) to refer to network connections, just like it does for hard disks, DVD drives, USB sticks, and so forth that are physically connected to your machine.  To Windows, these are all just different locations that contain files.  Mostly, the particular letters don’t matter; they’re just labels for convenient access.  Here at WOU, we use X: for the website.  Every time you log in, if you have web editing permissions, your computer should automatically connect (or “map”) the X: label to the network location where the web files are kept.

If that connection isn’t made properly, or is lost for any reason, your computer can’t find the files.  As far as it can tell, they just don’t exist. Of course, they almost certainly still do exist, and the network location might even be available; it’s just that if that X: label isn’t mapped, Windows is helpless and can’t even take the first step towards finding the files you need.  (By the way, even though X: and the others are nothing more than labels, they’re usually still referred to as “drives” whether they are mapped to an actual hardware drive, or a network location, or anything else.  I’ll be using that terminology for the rest of this post.)

Troubleshooting instructions:

The first thing to check is that the X: drive is correctly mapped. Make sure you do this on the computer where you were getting the error, whether that’s your office machine, a terminal server, or whatever.  Open “My Computer” from the Start menu and look for a drive labeled “WOU Website (X:)”. If it is there, double-click it; that should open up a folder window with a lot of subfolders inside.

go into it and look for the “las” folder and make sure you can go into it as well. If that works, then the error has probably already corrected itself; if Dreamweaver still won’t work, even after quitting and restarting it, please let me know.

If the X: drive isn’t there, go to the Run command in the start menu and enter “\\\wou_website$” (note that those are backlashes, not normal slashes, and the dollar sign at the end is necessary.) This should open up a folder window in the same network location to which the X: drive should be connected. If it does, please make sure you can go into the “las” folderas well. If that works even if there is no X: drive, it means that the login process did not correctly connect the X: drive. If a logout and login doesn’t bring the X: drive back, or if the X: drive comes back but Dreamweaver still gives you an error, please contact me and include any error messages you saw during the process.

If entering the network location in the Run box doesn’t make a folder window show up, please email me the error message, and if there was no error, please describe the behavior instead. Currently, a few people have reported seeing a login box pop up when they try to connect, but that it won’t accept their login; that is a symptom of a specific network issue we have seen once last week and once this week. Normally this fixes itself in 10-15 minutes, but if you don’t want to wait, or if it is still demanding a login after that time, please call the UCS Service Request Desk at 88925 and explain what is happening. You should be routed to either Brian Berkley or Dave Diemer; one of them should be able to fix the problem. If you aren’t seeing this specific behavior, contact me instead, and only go to the service desk if I’m not available.

Hopefully this will help; if you have any questions, or see any problems not mentioned here, please let me know.

It's taken longer than I thought to find a secure way to automatically create new pages, so that lockdown will probably be in place for another week or so yet.

However, there is a workaround, at least for Dreamweaver users. If you use Contribute,
Go ahead and go through the process to create a new page, and even though you will get an error at the last step, the database record for the page will still be created, and you should see it in the list of pages for that site.  Move your mouse pointer to the Edit link for that page, and you should see the URL at the bottom bar of your browser.  If it isn't visible, go ahead and click on Edit and look at the URL of the edit form itself.  Note the page ID at the very end of the URL.

Next, go into the X: drive via your My Computer folder and navigate to where you want the new page to be created. Copy an existing page and rename it to the exact name you entered in Websmith when you created the page record there. Open the new copy in Dreamweaver and then switch to Code or Split view.

Here is the part that is a bit tricky. In the first two or three lines of code, you should see a line that looks like:

$PageID = 1234;

Instead of "1234" you will see the page ID of the page you copied. Change this to the new Page ID you noted above. You will also need to change the ID in two more places in the code; two or three lines below the PageID you just changed, and also just a few lines before the very end of the file, you should see a line that look something like this:

Again, you will see the old page ID instead of "1234". Where this line says "standard", the line you are seeing may have a different word, and where this line says "topinclude" the line near the end of the file will say "bottominclude". In both of those lines, change the page ID to the new one.

Note that even thoush these lines are technically HTML comments that would have no effect on anything, they are actually special, and Contribute users won't be able to edit the file unless they are correct.

Then you can save the file, switch back to Design mode (or whatever mode you normally work with), and edit the file to remove the content from the old page and put in whatever you need. From that point it should work just like any other WOU page.

If it doesn't work, or if this is too much trouble to be worth it, you can also just contact Danielle or I after you have gone through the Websmith step and let us know which exact page you in your Websmith listing is the one you need created. We should be able to get it done quickly.