Network sharing problem with Windows 7 Ultimate

Posted on 2012-08-28
Last Modified: 2012-09-09
I have set up many simple filesharing networks for customers in the past with no problem, using all Win 7 Pro computers.  But today I ran into a situation where the customer owns two Win 7 Ultimate computers, and wanted me to set up the share for them.  I did everything like I normally do, but when I try to access the shared PC, I get an 'access denied' message.

So before I go down the list of steps I there anything different about Ultimate vs. Pro that I need to be aware of, in terms of networking?

In case there is nothing obvious to try, below are the steps I took--like I always do.  I'll refer to the PC that will be sharing files as 'fileshare PC', and the other computer trying to connect as 'workstation PC'.

>>>On the fileshare PC:

Went to computer, right click on C: drive, share with advanced sharing, and they already had it shared as \\oscar\c.  (I know there a plenty of reasons to not share the c: drive, but that's what they want in this case.)  I then went to advanced sharing, where the permissions are set to full control.

The workstation PC has a computer name of 'oscar2', so I added a user named oscar2, as an administrator, and I used the same password that he used on his workstation PC.

Note that the user who uses the fileshare PC also is set up as an administrator-type of user, and I added a password for her today as well.

>>On the workstation PC:

I went to a cmd prompt and keyed in Net use N: \\oscar\c and it immediately says it was successful.  I can then see the N: drive on Start> Computer.  But the whole problem is that when I click on N: it says:

Location is not available
N:\ is not accessible
Access is denied.

I have checked and tried many things, including:

Turned off the Norton firewall temporarily on both computers.

Shared a specific folder on the filesharing computer (rather than the root of C:), but I get the same error.

I can ping both ways.

On the workstation PC I can go to Start and right click on Computer, and choose 'Map network drive', then click on 'Network' where I see 'Oscar', and then 'c' drive in the tree.  But if I choose c, or a folder I tried to share on the fileshare PC, I immediately get:
Network Error
Windows cannot access \\oscar\c
You do not have permission to access \\oscar\c......etc.
However, if I click on 'Users' on that same tree, it allows me to continue.  And, if I map a network drive to \\oscar\users\public, for example, it works fine with no access denied errors.

I checked Network and sharing center> Advanced sharing settings on both computers, and Network discovery is turned on.

On the C: drive properties on the fileshare PC, I ran across the 'Security' tab--which I never need to use.  But I saw a user named 'Authenticated Users', which had no permissions at all, so I tried to set the choices to 'Allow'.  It ignored a few files and folders, but otherwise finished, and now shows the check marks--but that made non difference.

with all this in mind, I'm hoping someone has a suggestion on what to try next so I can map to the fileshare PC C: drive--despite it being a bad idea.  I know it has worked quick and easy in the past, so hopefully there is something I'm missing here. TIA
Question by:sasllc
    LVL 28

    Assisted Solution

    First of all, no, there isn't really any difference configuring sharing on a Windows 7 Ultimate operating system versus Windows 7 Professional.

    That being said, it sounds like you already know that it's a very bad idea to attempt to share your entire "C:" partition.  That is something people used to do before Windows security was locked down quite so much.  Frankly, there really isn't a compelling reason to share out the entire operating system partition!  If you configure the default Public folder sharing and ensure that the user has identical userid/password combos on each machine, they will be able to access everything in both the Public folder hierarchy as well as their own documents on both computers and you won't encounter security permission issues like the ones you are seeing now.
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    Okay, so. You need to make an 'Administrative Share' available across the network.

    By default, Windows 7 BLOCKS access to Administrative Shares, even if they exist.

    There are a few things you need to do. The first thing is enable File and Print Sharing on machine you want to share.

    The second thing is a registry change:

    Navigate all the way to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System.
    Right-click in the pane on the right side and add a new DWORD (32-bit).
    Give the new setting the name LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy.
    Double click on that setting and give it a value of 1.

    After you've made the registry change, I recommend rebooting that workstation.
    Once it comes back up, go to the second machine (the one not sharing the drive) and map the network drive. I recommend checking the box to 'use different credentials' when you create the share, and then authenticate using a user that is available on the target machine.

    Also, if you've used the Homegroup feature, you'll need to disable it on the machines.
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    I am glad that you have a solution that you like, but I would still strongly recommend that you educate your customers regarding security practices.  Quite honestly, I was already well aware of the technical solution that JohnThePro provided you but I would never recommend it in an ideal network environment.  As I said earlier, there really isn't a compelling reason to share out the entire operating system partition as a standard practice.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    I feel the same way Run5k, but what can we do? That's what he wanted. There isn't a compelling reason to do it, ever, but that's what his client was asking him for.
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    Understood, but from my perspective one of our most important duties as Windows subject matter experts is to educate our customers and ensure that they avoid making decisions that are more detrimental than beneficial.  I know what you're saying, but at what point is giving in to "what his client was asking him for" going too far?  If they asked for full admin privileges?  An unfiltered Internet connection?  Turning off all firewalls?  Removing all security software?

    Ultimately, it's our responsibility as the Windows experts to stress the importance of operating system security and stability to the customers.  If we know that "what his client was asking him for" may actually cause more problems than it solves, we owe it to them to strongly recommend against it instead of conceding to their wishes and waiting in the background with an "I told you so."
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Completely agree. I'm sure you've had clients, though, that take the "this is my network, i have the final say" attitude.

    All I can do is trust that he's taken the necessary steps to fully advocate to his clients that this is a terrible decision. None of my clients have their C drive shared. ;)
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    To be honest, no, I have never had a client/customer who has said "this is my network, i have the final say."  In our environment, security is absolutely critical.  Our clients' senior leaders understand that we will always go above-and-beyond to make their computing experience as comfortable and convenient as possible.  At the same time, they also realize that we are the subject matter experts and if we are adamantly opposed to something due to significant security concerns, that's the way it goes.  As a result, none of my clients have their "C:" partition shared, either.

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