›› Network DDE

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Network DDE is a service that is responsible for initiating and maintaining network connections so that two applications running on the same computer or on separate computers can engage in dynamic data exchange (DDE). DDE is a protocol, or set of guidelines, that two applications can use to send messages back and forth to one another. Hence, you can use Network DDE to create the network connection for two programs to talk to one another and share dynamic (continuously changing) data with each other.

The two applications that are involved in the DDE process are said to be having a conversation. The client application is the one that starts the conversation, and the server application is the one that responds. The two applications involved in a DDE conversation use shared memory to exchange their data. You can use Network DDE to transfer data between applications only once or you can use it to continuously transfer data as new information becomes available.

You may be wondering to yourself when you would ever need to use this service. While this service does not seem to have broad appeal, there are some good uses for it. Typically, you would use this service with data exchanges that don't need to have constant user interaction. For example, you could use it to update an Excel spreadsheet with updated stock market prices or you could use it to update a pie chart on Microsoft Word when source data changes.

Let's take a look at a more in-depth example of how two applications could theoretically take advantage of Network DDE. Let's say that you own a consulting business. You use Microsoft Access, which is a database program, to keep track of all your clients' accounts. You wish to use Microsoft Excel to create a spreadsheet of all past due accounts. In order to prevent you from having to constantly check Access for past due accounts to update your Excel spreadsheet, you decide to use the Network DDE service to do the automatic updating for you. Accordingly, you set up a link between Access and Excel so that they can converse with one another to exchange data without any further involvement from you. Now, anytime an account becomes overdue, Access will notify Excel and automatically update the spreadsheet with the new data. Although Excel and Access may not actually make use of Network DDE in this manner, this example illustrates how the process could work between two programs.

Although there are some good uses for this service, it is disabled by default. It is recommended to keep it disabled if you will not be needing to transfer data between programs. If you will need to transfer data between programs or you use ClipBook, you can set this to Manual. Be aware that if you do leave this service disabled, any application that depends on Network DDE, like ClipBook, will not be able to start.

Service Name NetDDE
Display Name Network DDE
Executable File Name netdde.exe
Dependencies Network DDE DSDM
Reciprocal Dependencies ClipBook
Default Startup Type Disabled
Recommended Startup Type Disabled, Manual if you use Clipbook

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