Password Protected File Sharing

I have a small office with a windows XP pier to pier network. I share my physical network cables and router with the office next door so I can see my neighbors computers and they can see mine. I share files and folders between my users but I do not want my neighbors to be able to access these shares. How can I setup my pier to peir XP Pro network to only allow my employees to access each others computers and block my neighbors from accessing them?
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You could Hide your shares.  If you had a share called Files, Rather than sharing it with the name files add a $ at the end of it which will make it hidden (files$).  

You can then map drives to the shares you have hidden.  You can also access the by \\computername\HiddenSharename$ in the run command.

If you dont want your neighbours seeing your files, why are you sharing your network?
You could also turn off Simple File Sharing and setup permissions on each share and each folder. Unless you know a little bit about permissions and networking this might be a little to confusing

Here is Microsoft Info on Securing Windows XP Professional in a Peer-to-Peer Networking Environment
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I wounder why you are sharing with your neighbours office ?
its very insecure and quite dangerous too, are you sharing an internet connection or something ?

Do you want to stop the 2 offices from seeing each other completely or just stop the other office from seeing yours ?  

if its the 1st then the easy and quick option is buy another router and plug yourselves in to that and leave your neighbour in the old one, that'll give you two physically seperate networks.  

Alternatively you can change your IP and subnet range and you wont see each others network anymore.

If you still need to see the other office (or are sharing an internet connection or something like that) there are a couple of options i can think of -

1, as was mentioned above start using XP security, i actually posted a quick guide on this earlier whilst helping a bloke get some shares set up, ( that may help with setting up security.  You'd need to create all users on each machines and stick them in a group called something like all_users, then give that group the permissions to access the shared folders.  (if that sounds like gibberish dont' worry, It'll make sense if you read the post i linked to)  It might be a pain if you have lots of pc's, but once setup the other office couldn't access your systems but you would be able to access theirs.

2,You could use personal firewalls on your machines such as zonealarm or sygate.  it'd be a bit work setting them up and adding a rule to allow you to access each others machines, but it'd help protect you against other things too.

3, a variation on one of my ideas above- you could give yourselves a different IP subnet but add a route to your PCs to allow you to access the old IP range.  If you aren't in to networking this might sound confusing, but its actually quite straight forward and would take 2 minutes and a reboot for each pc.

A lot depends on how many pc's you are dealign with, if you have more than say 10 you might want to start thinking about a server and sharing everythign off of that, but thats a whole different topic..


Only by making the shares password protected.  It is simple -- just explore the shares options in XP.
jtwoods4Author Commented:
I am familiar with file sharing and permissions. Currently my users can access each others machines by simply clicking on the computer they want to acess (in network places) and then clicking on the shared folder. Windows does not prompt them to login it just uses the guest account (I am assuming) to access the share. So, I disabled the guest account thinking the computer being accessed would prompt for a user id and password. But instead it just prompted for a password for the Guest account, but this would not work becuase the guest account was disabled. Someone above mentioned turning off simple files shraing and using access permission, where do I turn off simple files sharing? Will this prompt users for a user name and password when they try to access the a share on another computer?
jtwoods4Author Commented:
Please diregard my last email about how to turn off simple file sharing. The link above provided the answer. ANyway, by turning off simple file sharing I will be able to prompt users for a login account and password when trying to access a share..... correct?

I am assuming that each user would have to have an account on the machine that they want to access and they would have to know the password for that account. I am thinking about creating a generic office user account on all the xp pro machines and then letting all the office workers that are authorized have the user account and password. I think this would make all the shares protected becuase in order to access the share a user would have to have the generic office account and password.

Is my idea correct?

yes, you're right about being prompted for a password when switching off simple file sharing.

Using a generic account should work fine, though if you rarely change your passwords and you don't have too many machines, you may find it better having individual accounts for all people on all machines, this way when you try to connect to another persons computer you wont be prompted for a password you'lll get straight through.  Though if you do change passwords often it'll be a nightmare to look after.



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jtwoods4Author Commented:
Thanks everyone.
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