Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Windows XP machine cannot access Windows 7 x64 shared drive

Windows 7 file sharing has got to be the biggest PITA since Windows 2000.  It may be in the name of security, but come on!  2 hours to set up a damn share is stupid.

Like so many others, I tried every snake-oil fix and setting I could think of.  Basically running through a zillion sites telling me to turn off password protection.  No shit, Sherlock!

However, W7 has things locked down so tight that the required settings are no longer obvious, nor will they be applied "automatically" according to your desires.  You will probably need help.

Fortunately, I found a decent video that walks you through the correct share setup process.  You need to set up the network sharing.  So follow the steps below.

This guide assumes your XP machine can "see" the W7 machine shared folder/drive, but cannot access it (yet).  If not, you have other problems.

Here's what *I* had to do.  YMMV, so good luck.

In the "Advanced sharing settings", you may have more than one profile.  The display may or may not make this obvious, but if you look to the right-hand side you will see an upward-pointing "collapse me" arrow.  So be sure you are modifying the settings for the "Home or Work" profile, and not something else!

In Advanced Sharing Settings:

-  If network discovery is OFF, turn it ON.
-  Turn file and printer sharing ON.

These ones are pretty obvious.

-  Turn Public folder sharing ON.

I had to do this, even though I was NOT sharing a "Public" folder as defined by the Win7 documentation I read.  So turn it on anyway.  I don't think it will hurt anything.

-  Turn Password protected sharing OFF.

This is supposed to eliminate the need for login credentials at the XP machine.

In my case, I also did changes to the Local Group Policy Editor to try and get around the "Logon Failure: User Account Restriction" error.  The original article is here and is partially copied below.

-  Finally, to *properly* set up the share, I followed this video.

The video walks you through the sharing process (which is straightforward) and the security permissions (which are neither obvious nor straightforward).

Note:  The video is unclear if the group name is "EVERYONE" or "Everyone".  W7 appears to correct the case for you, so it shouldn't matter.

Also, when you apply the security settings, W7 will go ahead and modify the settings for EVERY file and folder in the share.  So if you have a lot of stuff there, expect a few minutes of delay.

In my case, I had it all set up right except for Public folder sharing.  It was on, and I turned it off because it didn't seem to be making a difference.  Turns out I did need it on, at least when sharing the root of the drive.

Hope this helps somebody.  Good luck!


While troubleshooting the above, was getting a "Logon Failure: User Account Restriction" error.

I did the steps below, although I don't know if it was actually necessary to do so.  For my case, it did appear to make a difference.  YMMV.

The issue is that W7 defaults to requiring user accounts for remote logon. 

Like so many people, I do not have any password set up on my Windows 7 machine, so it is not possible to enter a password when accessing the share from the XP machine.  When you get the "Connecting to xxxx" dialog, asking for the user name and password, you have to leave the password blank, and this is not allowed by default.

To get around this, I tried the following to explicitly allow local user account with blank or no password to be used for network logon:

To change the policy, perform the following steps on the remote computer which you wants to get connected (the Windows 7 machine):

1.  Open Local Group Policy Editor by typing gpedit.msc in Start Search box and hit Enter.
2.  Navigate to Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options branch.
3.  Locate and double click on Accounts: Limit local account use of blank passwords to console logon only option.
4.  Select the radio button for Disabled to allow user account with blank (or no password) for remote login.
5.  Click OK.

Not all versions of Win7 come with the Group Policy Editor.  If you don't have it, visit here (http://antecea.zendesk.com/entries/251909-desktop-connect-why-do-i-get-a-logon-failure-user-account-restriction-error-message) to find other workarounds.

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