I KNOW that sharing the OS root drive C: isn't recommended. I don't recommend it myself. And, I have some good suggestions how to avoid doing so. But, there are times when it has to be done - which I don't need to discuss here. There are certainly times when a system is set up this way and *must* be maintained as-is.
Also as background:
The environment is a workgroup and sometimes a subnet-to-subnet situation without inter-subnet name service (so IP addresses are used instead in that case). But here we can focus on sharing in the workgroup. And "require a password" for sharing is turned off on all the computers. XP peer-to-peer simple sharing is the model really. On the XP machines involved here, Simple File Sharing is enabled.
And NOTE WELL: This is ONLY about sharing at the C: drive level. Any subfolders within are already easily enough shared.
I have not been able to reliably share the OS C: drive. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I have attached a file which I hope is self-explanatory. It shows two clients (one XP Pro and one Windows 7 Pro) which try to see into the shared C: drive of a Windows 7 Pro machine - with a variety of User/Passwords/Logons. That is, if a logon is shown then that's the one that was used for that trial AND that User/PW does exist on the machine whether logged in or not for that machine.
Since passwords aren't supposed to be required:
- I'm a little surprised that they do seem to matter.
- I'm a little suprised that a login dialog appeared in one case
Also, it appears that they are *remembered*. If so, there must be a place where they are stored. Maybe it's not essential to be able to see them but it seems important to know how this works.
This is a general question about "how does an administrator deal with Windows share folders at the drive level?" and "how can one make such shares work reliably?" It's not about "try this" and "try that" although I'm more than willing to run experiments such as in the attached table.
I want to *understand* so I can develop an approach that always works.