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MSDN Server Installation
One of the issues with Visual Studio 6 is the total size of the MSDN help files required. Users requiring all the help files for VB, need to set aside approximately 1.3 Gbytes of disk space. Even then, the original installation disks are often required, when specific topics are queried, proving 1.3Gbytes does really cover all help files, especially if topics are shared by multiple development platforms within Visual Studio. One alternative is to install all the MSDN help topics as this results in no prompting for missing help files from the MSDN CDs. However this requires around 2 Gbytes of disk space, which is a big wedge of drive capacity even by today's standards.
This situation becomes a greater issue for organizations with many developers, where tens of Gbytes of drive capacities are used just for help files.

Luckily MSDN changed the licensing requirements for the MSDN Library Subscription in September 1999 to allow for sharing of the MSDN Library Subscription media within organizations. Essentially, all CDs are copied to a shared network drive and the MSDN library is then installed to user's PC's from the share. Running a minimum install, users can save drive space, but efficiency will depend on your network load and architecture. Most 100 Mbyte networks offer little delay when comparing local and network MSDN installations, especially if the server hosting the installation folder isn't a dedicated server with an exceptional load such as a DB or Web server.

To correctly create the network installation folder, all contents from the MSDN Library Disc 1, Disc 2, and Disc 3 must be combined into one folder with the identical directory structure as Disc 1. To assist loading the MSDN installation CDs to the share use the Network Copy utility found in the root directory of CD1.


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