Share Folders in XP

Before you start

Objectives: learn how to enable file sharing, how to make shared folder, how to connect to a share and how to manage share permissions in XP.

Prerequisites: you have to know what are share permissions.

Key terms: share, folder, network, permissions, user, drive, name, control, file, map, unc, read, enable


Tools

To share our folders we can use two tools. The first tool is Windows Explorer. By going in to the properties of any folder, we can go to the ‘Sharing’ tab, where we can enable sharing of that folder. When we create a share, we have to name it. That is how our users will find the share. We also have to put permissions of the share, and we can also control the limits of the share. We can limit how many users can connect simultaneously to our share. By default, the limit is 10 users and that is the maximum number of users as well. If we need more then 10 people accessing a share, we have to use Windows Server edition. Another tool that we can use to manage shares is ‘Shared Folders’, which is located in ‘Computer Management’. In ‘Shared Folders’ we can create new shares, or we can manage existing shares.

Access

To access a share we can go to ‘My Network Places’, where we can see other computers on the network. When we open target computer, we can access shared folders or printers on that computer. Additionally, to access network share, we can use Universal Naming Convention (UNC) path. To access a share with UNC, first we have to type in ‘\\’, then the computer name, then ‘\’, and then the share name. So, if we have a share named ‘Factis’, on a computer named ‘SilverCrest’, the UNC path to that share would be ‘\\silvercrest\factis’.

Administrative Shares

When we install our system, the ‘Administrative shares’ get created. The ‘Administrative shares’ are accessible only by the Administrators group. These shares are hidden by default. We can hide the share by putting the ‘$’ sign after the name of the share. These shares are not visible in network neighborhood. In order to access hidden share, we have to use UNC path. Of course, at the end of the UNC path will be the ‘$’ sign.

Enabling Sharing

If our computer is a new computer and is a member of a workgroup, file and printer sharing is disabled. We will not be able to share folders and printers until we first enable sharing. For computers on a domain, sharing is automatically enabled. The recommended method to enable sharing is to run the ‘Network Setup Wizard’. Go to the ‘Control Panel’, click on the ‘Network Setup Wizard’, and click ‘Next’.

Checklist

Image 249.1 – Checklist

We have to ensure that we have installed network card, turn on all computers, printers, and that we have connected to the Internet. Click ‘Next’.

Connection

Image 249.2 – Connection

In our example we are connected to the Internet trough Local Area Connection. We will use the existing connection (first option). Click ‘Next’.

Computer Name

Image 249.3 – Computer Name

Here we can enter computer description and change computer name. Click ‘Next’.

Workgroup

Image 249.4 – Workgroup

Here we can enter the Workgroup name. We will enter ‘Workgroup’. Click ‘Next.

 Turn On File And Printer Sharing

Image 249.5 – Turn On File And Printer Sharing

Here we will select ‘Turn on file and printer sharing’. Click ‘Next’.

Finish

Image 249.6 – Finish

Here we will select to just finish the wizard, and click ‘Next’. Click ‘Finish’ to close the wizard. This way we have enabled sharing on our computer.

Sharing a Folder

We can use Windows Explorer to quickly share a folder. Simply right-click some folder, open its properties, and then select ‘Sharing’ tab. In our case we will share the ‘Manuals’ folder, which is located on our E drive.

Manuals Sharing Options

Image 249.7 – Sharing Options for Manuals Folder

To share a folder, we have to check ‘Share this folder on the network’ option.

Share Is Enabled

Image 249.8 – Sharing is Enabled

By default, users are not allowed to change our files. This way users can only read our files. We want to allow all users to change our files so we will check ‘Allow network users to change my files’ option, and click ‘Apply’.

Modify Is Enabled

Image 249.9 – Modify is Enabled

Let’s click OK. Notice the the icon of the folder is changed. It now indicates that the folder is shared.

 Shared Folder

Image 249.10 – Shared Folder

In this example the computer is configured to use Simple File Sharing. If we want more control over file shares we need to enable advanced sharing. To do this, go to the Tools menu and select Folder Options. Then go to the View tab, scroll down, clear the ‘Use simple file sharing‘ check box, and click OK.

Simple File Sharing

Image 249.11 – Simple File Sharing Disabled

Let’s open sharing options for Manuals folder again.

 Advanced Sharing Options

Image 249.12 – Advanced Sharing Options

Now we can share the folder multiple times. Let’s add an additional share by clicking on the New Share button.

New Share

Image 249.13 – New Share

We can share this folder again with a different name. In this example we will name it Motorcycle manuals, and click OK.

Motorcycle Manuals

Image 249.14 – Motorcycle Manuals Share

When using advanced sharing, we can set user limits. For example, we can set the maximum number of users to 2 users, instead of 10.

 Users Limit

Image 249.15 – Users Limit

Notice that the maximum number of users for the original share name remains at maximum.

Original Share Name

Image 249.16 – Original Share Name

We can also set different permissions for different share names. First we have to chose a share name from the drop down list, and then click on the Permissions button.

Share Permissions

Image 239.17 – Share Permissions

In our case, everyone can read data in Manuals folder.

Shared Folders Tool

We can use Shared Folders plugin in Computer Management to manage our shares. This plugin lets us view and manage all of our shared folders from a central location. To take full advantage of Shared Folders our computer needs to have advanced sharing enabled.

 Shared Folders

Image 249.18 – Shared Folders Console

Let’s select Shares to see all shared folders on our system.

Shares

Image 249.19 – Shares

Here we can view and edit shared folder properties, such as user limits and permissions. For example, if we open the properties for Manuals, on the General tab we can edit the number of users allowed to connect.

 General Tab

Image 249.20 – General Tab

On the Share Permissions tab we can edit the share permissions.

Share Permissions

Image 249.21 – Share Permissions

On the Security tab we can edit the NTFS permissions.

 NTFS Permissions

Image 249.22 – NTFS Permissions

Let’s click OK. Now, let’s create a new share using Shared Folders tool.

Creating New Share

To create new share, right click Shares, select New File Share, and click Next. The wizard will appear.

New File Share

Image 249.23 – New File Share

Share Wizard

Image 249.24 – Share Wizard

Now, we need to specify a folder to share. We can browse to find the folder that we want to share.

Folder To Share

Image 249.25 – Shared Folder Set Up

In our case we will select Paulaner folder, which is located on E drive. We also need to provide a share name. In our case, we will enter Paulaner.

Paulaner Share Name

Image 249.26 – Paulaner Share

We can click Next. Now, we need to decide what type of share permissions to use. In this case we will use the default setting, in which all users have read access.

Share Permissions

Image 249.27 – Share Permissions

Click Next, and click Finish to share the folder. Notice that the folder has been successfully shared.

 Paulanes Is Shared

Image 249.28 – Paulaner is Shared

Sessions and Open Files

The Sessions folder shows us who is connected to our computer right now.

Sessions

Image 249.29 – Sessions

Notice that the user Admin is currently connected to our computer. In Open Files we can see which files are accessed by which user.

Open Files

Image 249.30 – Open Files

Deleting a Share

Let’s say that we want to stop sharing Manuals folder. Before we delete the share, we should inform all connected users that we are going to delete the share. To do that, right click Shared Folders, select All Tasks, and then select Send Console Message.

 Send Console Message

Image 249.31 – Send Console Message

35 Message

Image 249.32 – Message

Click Send to send message. That will give them a chance to disconnect gracefully. Now, we can right click Manuals folder, selectStop Sharing, and click Yes to confirm.

Stop Sharing

Image 249.33 – Stop Sharing

Confirmation

Image 249.34 – Confirmation

Connecting to a Share

There are many ways to connect to a shared folder on another computer. For example, we can go to the start menu and use the Run command. From here we can type in the syntax to the share. This approach uses the UNC syntax or Universal Naming Convention syntax. We want to connect to the share named Public on a computer named Verson. The UNC path to that share is \\verson\public.

 UNC Path

Image 249.35 – UNC Path

When we open shared folder, we can go to the Tools menu, and map a network drive.

Share Opened

Image 249.36 – Share in Explorer

We have to select the drive letter that we want to use, and we have to enter the UNC path to the share. In our case we will select the Z drive, and enter the \\verson\public as our UNC path.

Z Drive

Image 249.37 – Map Network Drive

Notice that our share is now Z drive.

Share Is Mapped

Image 249.38 – Share is Mapped

We can find shares by browsing the network neighborhood. Let’s go to the Control Panel > Network Connections > My Network Places.

My Network Places

Image 249.39 – My Network Places

Here we can see all shared folder in a Workgroup. We can also see workgroup computers by clicking on the ‘View workgroup computers’ form the menu on the left.

 Workgroup Computers

Image 249.40 – Workgroup Computers

Let’s open Verson computer. Let’s map a drive with different user name this time. Right click Public, and select Map Network Drive.

Map Network Drive

Image 249.41 – Map Network Drive

This time the UNC path is already entered. The drive letter will be Y this time. Let’s select ‘Connect using a different user name‘. The user name will be Kim Verson this time.

Kim Verson User

Image 249.42 – Kim Verson

Click OK, and click Finish. Notice the warning.

Error

Image 249.43 – Error

We will get an error. We can not map the same share with different drive letter and with different user credentials. If we want to map the same share with different credentials, we have to disconnect existing network drive. To do that, go to the My Computer, right click network drive, and select Disconnect.

 Disconnect

Image 249.44 – Disconnect Option

We can also map a network drive by right clicking My Computer, and selecting Map Network Drive.

Map Network Drive

Image 249.45 – Map Network Drive Option

Share Permissions

Trough Share Permissions we can control who will have access to our shares. These apply specifically to the network users. The Share Permissions can be on both NTFS and FAT partitions. There are three levels of Share Permissions. Those are Full Control,Change and Read. Full Control gives us full control over all of the attributes of that particular share. It allows us to modify files, to take ownership, and to change permissions of that particular share. The Change permission allows users to do anything with the files inside the share. The Read permission allows users to read and execute the contents of the files that are in the shared folder.

With Share Permission we also have an Allow and Deny attribute. The Deny attribute explicitly denies particular permission. Deny will always over ride the Allow permission. This is useful when, for example, some user is a member of multiple groups, and we want to deny particular permission only for that particular user. For local users, only NTFS permissions are applied. When a user access our shares over network, both Share Permissions and NTFS permissions are applied to him. Let’s take a look at Share Permissions on Manuals folder.

Share Permission

Image 249.46 – Share Permissions

At this point, Everyone can read data in Manuals folder. We will add Accounting group to the ACL, and give it Full Control permission. To do that, click Add, type in ‘Accounting’, click Check Names, and click OK.

 Accounting Added

Image 249.47 – Accounting Group Added

The default permission is the Read permission, so we had to check Full Control permission manually. Click OK to finish. Share Permissions only restrict network access, while NTFS permissions restrict both local and network access. By setting NTFS permissions on a shared folder we have greater control over data access. When we enable sharing on some folder, by default, everyone will have the Read permission. Trough NTFS permissions we can set permissions more precisely.

The most restrictive permission will always be used to control network access. For example, if a user belongs to one group which has Change permission in Share Permissions, and to another group which has only Read permission in NTFS permissions, that user will only have Read permission on that particular folder. This is true for both Share and NTFS permissions.

Remember

We will not be able to share folders and printers until we first enable sharing. The recommended method to enable sharing is to run the ‘Network Setup Wizard’. We can use Windows Explorer to quickly share a folder. Simply right-click the folder, open its properties, and then click ‘Sharing’ tab. When we share a folder users are not allowed to change our files by default. If we want more control over file shares we need to enable advanced sharing. When using advanced sharing, we can set user limits and set different permissions for different share names. We can also use Shared Folders console plugin in Computer Management to manage our shares. We can use UNC syntax to connect to a network share. We can also map a network drive. We can not map the same share with different drive letter, and with different user credentials. We can also find shares by browsing the network neighborhood. Trough Share Permissions we can control who will have access to our shares. These apply specifically to the network users.

Paths that are mentioned in this article
  • Control Panel > Network Connections > My Network Places – find available shares on the network

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