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Windows 10 updates turns off public folders

Posted on 2016-10-06
Last Modified: 2016-10-26
We have a small application that is located in Public Folders. The majority of our clients are 2-5 users small peer to peer networks. As such we turn on Public Folder Sharing and turn off Password required under "Change Advanced Network Settings".

Public_FoldersThis has worked now since Windows 7
In the last 4 weeks though I repeatedly get calls from clients whom cannot access the application.
The reason is that after a Windows update these settings change, not all clients but a large enough proportion of them.
Ideally it would be great for the developer to relocate the application into its own folder in the root directory to share

But until that happens why is this so?
Searching the net to date I have found no references from Microsoft as to why this would happen.
Any ideas? Can it be prevented?
Question by:Philip
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41832799
It was done to further secure Windows. That is the why. Now you need to overtly re-enable if you want them.

Author Comment

ID: 41832808
John, any references to your comments?
This means that I must re-enable after every update, surely this cannot be the case.
I need ammunition to get the developer to relocate the application.
This week I have re-enabled 25 clients to date not something that I wish to do weekly.
Thanks for  feedback
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41832818
I think once you re-enable, the settings should stay that way. My folder settings are already secure and not changing at this point.
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LVL 21

Accepted Solution

CompProbSolv earned 167 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41832832
I saw this happen at multiple clients with the Windows 10 Anniversary update.  I've not seen it with any of the minor updates.  It wouldn't surprise me if it were to happen with the next big update, likely in about a year.

I've not looked into it, but I'd bet that it wouldn't be too difficult to write a script or a registry file to fix this.  Of course, you would wait until it breaks then run the fix.  Not as convenient as preventing it in the first place, but it would make it much easier for your clients to fix it themselves.
LVL 26

Assisted Solution

by:Fred Marshall
Fred Marshall earned 167 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41832835
Numerous customers of mine have been impacted by this sort of change.  There are others such changes.
I just finished writing a script to both make needed settings, and now, to reinstate settings already made but undone.

Being a design engineer and a systems guy for a long time, I have a notion of good practice.  In this case I have the notion that there is a computer operating system that provides features.  And, it provides places for user settings.  When the user settings are made they should be preserved even in the face of underlying system updates.  Apple let's me move my iPhone settings and data to a new phone - they don't remove them on purpose!!

John seems to know a lot more than the rest of us - that this was intentional.  Dangerous territory.

I'm sure we have all experienced our favorite app's disappearing or key features within them disappearing over time.  Yet I'll bet that this usually happened through a huge upgrade and not incrementally once a month, eh?

How would you feel if somebody walked into your office, made a bunch of changes to your settings and walked out?  How about to your phone?  I don't think you'd like it.  The prospect of surreptitious manipulation of system functionality that matters, that is intentional, is horrifying.  Just think about it......

I find no evidence that there is concern, acknowledgement or intent to change this kind of behavior.  
But, I eagerly await that happening.  It's needed.  One can but hope that it's simply misguided techies gone amok.  Surely clear-headed leaders will deal with it responsibly.  There is a lot more "good" here than "bad" even so.

To your point of "Turn on/off password protected sharing", I just posted a question here at:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28974922/Scripting-Windows-Advanced-Sharing-Settings.html to add the needed command into a script.

I also recently read an interesting opinion about why it's more secure to have it turned OFF.
If it's ON then you may see a dialog that says: Enter your credentials.  Thus you are given an opportunity to guess and try.....
If it's OFF then you won't see that dialog and will be shut out.
Of course there are ways around the latter by using things like Guest permissions but well .......

Author Comment

ID: 41832849
Thanks to all your feedback it is appreciated however there is nothing in the above that confirms Microsoft turns it off in their updates other than anecdotal evidence. And yes I have considered a Powershell script to revert. As my clients are predominantly desktops in a peer to peer environments, allowing them access to Public Folders should  be acceptable. As mentioned long term Solution is for developer to modify application folder but in the absence of any evidence its a long straw to request.
LVL 93

Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 166 total points (awarded by participants)
ID: 41832855
Microsoft made in clear in their Windows Publications that they were improving security and again made it clear in Anniversary Update Publications that drivers had to meet Microsoft standards. This has bitten a few people.

Such is the way it is.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41832866
I see on a couple of Windows 10 machines that updates have turned Homegroup ON. I keep it OFF, so I have to change this after each very significant update.
LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Fred Marshall
ID: 41833000
Phillip:  I just had a system with the settings intact AND due for an update that was expected to change the settings.  It happened last night.  For me this isn't anecdotal.  The behavior has been observed over many systems.  I have a host of systems that were working until recently and now aren't working.  Many of them haven't been "fixed" yet - so remain in the state left by the update.  I don't think that's anecdotal either.  It happened.  The results are observable.

The issue that you bring up about password protected sharing is one that we have observed.  I don't understand how you would say this is anecdotal when you have said:
The reason is that after a Windows update these settings change
Another issue is that firewall rules with expanded scope have had the scope expansions removed (i.e. added subnets).

Just to be clear:  I have control of perhaps 100 computers over a number of companies.  By "control" I mean that I'm the only person who is able or likely to make changes of the types we're talking about.  The users just want to go on with their work.  I'm sure your experience is very similar.  So, when I see these changes occur then there is but one place to go to investigate.  I've been investigating and the source of the issue seems clear.  These problems have been evident in all of the companies who have settings of importance that have been changed.  

Microsoft has so far run a test regarding changes to firewall rule scope.  They claim that *added* firewall rules with expanded scope are not changed by the updates.  All of my firewall rules were not *added* but were existing/standard that I had *changed*.  The changes went away.  Presumably they are confirming this now...

John Hurst seems to confirm that this update behavior is intentional but hasn't given us a reference to that information yet.  It might be reasonable for him to provide us with reference links to his assertions.  I have no idea what Microsoft has said about changing settings and have found none so far.  Even they don't seem to know about it in recent discussions I've had with them.  Woody Leonhard says they "will fix it next year".  "Improving security" is not something that one would expect would mean "we're gonna change your settings for you".  Yet, that seems to be what's happening.

I am somewhat amazed that if you Google [windows 10 updates are changing settings] there is nothing found but the old tales about the Windows update process and how to manage/control that.  Yet we see this happening and have to overcome the results.

I don't use Homegroups but do allow Windows to manage homegroup connections - as we do have systems with file sharing not using passwords.  So I can't confirm John Hurst's observation about that setting.

Author Comment

ID: 41833394
Fred, thanks for your detailed response. I stand corrected on the anecdotal but ...... The changes are not necessarily consistent as I don't see across all PC's. Like you also I'm amazed the searching either Google or Bing shows no reference to this.

But yes it does happen. My concern is the time it takes me each week to revert back to pre update settings. Whilst this in itself is a quick process its the quantity and the necessity of it.

So to John and Fred thanks. I have this also posted in the MS Community so we'll see what that turns up but I wont hold my breathe. I guess all I'm really looking for is that MS confirms this process and that it is intentional as opposed to maybe this just effects a certain criteria.

FYI last two weeks I have had close to 25 systems a week to turn public folders back on and turn off password protected sharing, in total I support well in excess of 600-700 desktops. In so far as I am concerned it is only significant on the "peer server" where our application is shared via public folders. The reason being that workstations need to access the executable to launch our application. Even then that would amount to 200 plus systems. If it was across all Windows 7 & 10 PC's I would have far more calls.

Maybe there still to come.
Again thanks and will close this post by the end of the weekend.

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