A+: Universal Naming Convention and Fully Qualified Domain Names
The Universal Naming Convention (UNC) is designed to enable users to access network resources such as folders or printers without mapping drive letters to network drives or specifying the type of device that stores the file or hosts the printer. A UNC name has the following structure in Windows:
A typical UNC path to a document would resemble
A typical UNC path to a shared printer on the same system would resemble
What does this mean in plain English?
\\Tiger1is the server.
\Ois the share name.
\NetDocumentsis the path.
\this_doc.docis the document.
\Printernameis the printer.
UNC enables files and printers to be accessed by the user with 32-bit Windows applications. Because only 23 drive letters (maximum) can be mapped, UNC enables network resources beyond the D–Z limits to still be accessed.
To display the UNC path to a shared folder with Windows XP, right-click the share in My Network Places (Network in Windows Vista) and select Properties. The Target field in the dialog lists the UNC path.
Some Windows applications will display the UNC path to a file even if the file was accessed through a mapped drive letter, and other Windows applications will refer to the UNC path or mapped drive letter path to the file, depending on how the file was retrieved.
TCP/IP networks that contain DNS servers often use FQDNs to refer to servers along with, or in place of, UNC names. The structure of an FQDN is
For example, a server called “charley” in the informit.com domain would have an FQDN of
If you want to access the shared
charley.informit.com, you would refer to it as
You can also use the IP address of the server in place of the servername. If 126.96.36.199 is the IP address of charley.informit.com, you can access the
Docsfolder with the following statement:
You can use either UNCs or FQDN along with the Net command-line utility to view or map drive letters to shared folders.