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Configure and Manage Shared Folders : Understand Default Permissions

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3/5/2012 5:06:06 PM
When you create and share a folder, Windows Vista applies default permissions. The creator and owner of the folder has the highest-level permission, and people you add later have the lowest. You can choose from three permission levels: Reader, Contributor, and Co-Owner, as shown in Figure 1.

Reader Allows the person or group to view and read the files in a folder but not modify or delete the files. They can copy data in a file as well as the file itself.

Contributor Allows the person or group to view the files in the folder, add files, and change or delete files they add. They have Reader permissions to files and folders they did not create.

Co-Owner Allows the person or group to view, change, add, and delete all files in the shared folder, even ones they did not create.

Figure 1. Choose Reader, Contributor, or Co-Owner.

When sharing a folder using default settings, consider the following:

  • The owner is the person who creates the file. The owner has full control over the folder and the files in it as do co-owners.

  • Sharing a folder shares everything inside it, including “nested” folders, called subfolders. You can make the folders in a shared folder private by using advanced sharing options, detailed later.

  • Nested folders, even if made private, can be accessed and modified through the parent folder, but not if accessed directly through a network share. Thus, it’s ultimately better to store private data outside any shared folders.

  • You can hide any folder by typing a $ symbol at the end of the share name during the sharing process. Users won’t see it or know it exists. However, to access that folder yourself from another computer on the network, you’ll need to click Start, type Run in the Start Search box, click Run in the Programs list, and then type the full path to the folder in the form of \\computername\hiddensharename.

Should You Share with Public or Personal Folders?

When you share data by using a Public folder (and turn on file sharing for the Public folder), anyone with a user account and password on your computer, as well as everyone on the network, can see all the files in that Public folder and its subfolders. You cannot let some people view some files in the Public folder and not view others, and you cannot let some people access the folder and not let other people. You can, however, decide whether people can change files or create new ones, but the rules apply to everyone who can access the data.

Sharing is different with personal folders. With this type of sharing, you get to decide everything, including who can make changes to what files, what kind of changes they can make, and who can access what. You can grant permissions to groups of people or to an individual (or individuals), while at the same time completely configuring what each can and cannot access. You can apply different permissions for everyone. You can’t do that with Public folder sharing.

Use Public folder sharing if

  • you want to share files from a single location for ease of management;

  • you want to keep everything you share separate from your personal data; or

  • it’s okay with you to apply the same permissions for all users of your network and do not need to apply separate permissions for individuals.

Use personal folder sharing if

  • you want to share data directly from your personal folders and don’t want to move or copy the data to a Public folder;

  • you need to apply separate permission for individuals regarding what they can do once they access your data, or if they can at all;

  • you share large files you don’t want to move or copy; or

  • you frequently change what’s shared.


Change Default Permissions

If you gave a user the Reader permission and have now decided to change that permission, you’ll need to access the sharing permissions for the folder to make the change.

To change a permission already applied to a user for a shared folder, follow these steps:

1.
Right-click the folder you’ve already shared.

2.
Click Change Sharing Permissions, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Once a folder is shared, click Change Sharing Permissions to alter the settings.

3.
Click the arrow next to the permission to change, and select a new permission in the list.

4.
Click Share, as shown in Figure 3. Note that you can e-mail the links to the shared data or copy the links onto the Clipboard and paste them into any program. By sharing the links with others, you can be sure they are aware of the shared data and where to find it.

Figure 3. E-mail the link to others to make sure they know about the shared data and where to access it.

5.
Click Done.

Caution

Your user account prevents anyone who is using a standard account on your computer from seeing your files. It does not prevent other users with administrator accounts from seeing your files. If there are other administrator accounts on your computer besides your own, take this into consideration.


Apply Advanced Sharing

Advanced sharing options are not available by right-clicking the shared folder and clicking Share. Instead, you access them by right-clicking the shared folder, clicking Properties, and selecting the Sharing tab. Figure 4 shows an example. These are often called power user sharing options.

Figure 4. You achieve power user sharing through the Sharing tab.


To apply advanced sharing options, follow these steps:

1.
Right-click the shared folder. Click Properties.

2.
Click the Sharing tab.

3.
Click Advanced Sharing.

4.
Click Continue, and in the Advanced Sharing dialog box, select Share This Folder.

5.
Choose how many users can have access at the same time. Choose from 1 to 10.

6.
Click Permissions.

7.
If desired, click Everyone, and click Remove. By removing everyone from the group, you can add one individual or one group at a time and configure them all separately. If you want to apply the permissions to everyone who has access to the computer, do not click Everyone, and instead skip to step 9.

8.
Click Add to add a user to the list. Type the user name, and click Check Names. Continue in this manner until all users have been added. Click OK.

9.
Select a user in the Group Or User Names list, shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Select a user, and change permissions.


10.
Select the Allow or Deny boxes as desired. Note that if you select Deny for Full Control, the other two Deny boxes are automatically selected. You have three choices:

  • Full Control Users have full control over the shared resource, including the ability to see and read data in it, change existing files and folders, create new files and folders, and run programs in the folder.

  • Change Users can add files to a folder, create folders, change data, and read files.

  • Read Users can only read files.

11.
Click OK twice, and then click Close.

Make a Subfolder Private (Sort of)

The best way to keep private data private is to keep it out of a shared folder. So, first things first: If you have private data in a shared folder and it’s possible to move it out of there, do that now, and then skip to the next section. If for some reason you must leave data you want to keep private in a shared folder, your best choice is to hide the folder. (There are other options, but this is the best option.)

To hide a folder in a shared folder so others cannot see it on the network or when logged on to the computer with their own user name and password, follow these steps:

1.
Right-click the shared folder, and click Properties.

2.
On the Sharing tab, click Advanced Sharing. Click Continue.

3.
In the Advanced Sharing dialog box, select Share This Folder.

4.
Type a share name, and put the $ symbol after it, with no spaces between the file name and the symbol.

5.
Click OK and Close.
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