Prior to Active Directory, the main way for users to locate shared resources was by browsing the network. But its introduction offered administrators the added capability to publish shares in Active Directory.

This ability enables administrators to better organize shares and make them more easily accessible to users. Users can search Active Directory for the shares, using additional search options not available when simply browsing the network.

Publishing a share in Active Directory is a simple matter. First, start by sharing the folder. After you've configured NTFS permissions on the folder you want to share, right-click the folder, choose Sharing, select the Share This Folder option, and click OK.

Next, go to the Administrative Tools folder, and open the Active Directory Users And Computers console. In Active Directory, locate the organizational unit (OU) where you want to publish the share. Or, you can create a new OU in which to publish the share.

When you've identified the OU where you want to publish the share, right-click the OU, and choose New | Shared Folder. In the New Object--Shared Folder dialog box, enter a name for the share in the Name field. Enter the UNC path to the shared folder in the Network Path field, and click OK.