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Enable Mapping to \\Hostname\C$ Share on Windows 7 or Vista

Just about everybody knows about the hidden administrator C$ share that is always built into Windows file sharing, but you might have wondered why you can’t use that in Windows 7 or Vista.

The reason this doesn’t work is because of UAC (User Account Control) that Vista is (in)famous for. By default Vista doesn’t allow UAC elevation over the network with a local user account.

There’s a registry key that we can use to change this behavior to work the same as Windows XP. This will make your computer less secure, and I can’t recommend that you do this… but it’s also good to understand how Windows works.

Manual Registry Hack

Open regedit.exe through the start menu search or run box, and then navigate down to the following key, creating a new key if it doesn’t exist.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System

image

On the right-hand side, add a new 32-bit DWORD value named LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy and set the value to 1.

To remove this tweak you can set the value to 0 or just delete the key.

At this point you can map to the C$ share and also perform some other administrative tasks remotely. Note that you will need to enable file sharing in the network and sharing center, and make sure that your firewall settings will allow sharing.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/10/07

Comments (18)

  1. Richard Clark

    Excellent! Just what the doctor ordered. Thanks.

  2. Robert

    Excellent! I’ve been looking for this information for the past two days, since I got my new computer. I could not get network file access (\\hostname\c$) to work at all. Hopefully this will be the fix I’ve been looking for.

  3. Josh

    Actually, this is totally unnecessary. What you should do instead is go through the new ‘sharing wizard’ and share some random folder. I just made a new one and shared it. After that, your c$ etc. folders are created automatically. You can delete the random folder afterwards, and the c$ folders remain shared – no registry hacking required.

  4. Oliver Treend

    This is excellent! Thank you!
    This has allowed me to access the C$ share on my Vista Home Premium machine.
    But for some reason, it’s also enabled remote shutdown. So now I can use the DOS shutdown command from another Windows machine, or ‘net rpc shutdown -C “Remote Shutdown” -I -U ‘. I couldn’t do this before changing this registry key – so you’ve helped me fix both problems with just one simple change!
    Thank you!

  5. M.A.D.MikE

    Just wanted to thank you, as i’ve been punching myself for a half an hour in frustration trying to do that on my freshly installed Windows 7 :)

  6. Jane

    This website is great! Loads of info. I have set a link on my own blog back to this site. Hope that is OK.

  7. Rahul Jawale

    Thanks buddy. That helped. Now I can shutdown my Win 7 machine from my Atom based Ubuntu machine. :D

  8. smith

    it is work :D
    but how can i hack the USB !! I need this

  9. Dim Pan

    I have a Dell Precision 390 workstation and a HP-Compaq Presario Laptop running Windows7 Ultimate and Professional respectively. From the desktop I can access the C$ share on the laptop but from the laptop I cannot do the same on the desktop. The windows troubleshooter says that the desktop computer exists on the network but the C$ cannot be found. This is very bizare to me since these are brand new installations, both identical in configuration, still they act so different on this issue. Could it be that Ultimate is enabled by default to do that but Professional is not? Makes no sense to me. Finally, neither computer has this registry key so I am tempted to created on both computers. Question is, only one needs it since accessing the C$ works only one way. On which computer do I do this “hack” and do I just simply delete it if it does not work? Thank you very much for your time and help with this!

  10. Dim Pan

    Ah! forget it! I did try it on both computers no diference at all. This hack may have worked with some but overall it does not seem to be the solution to this problem. For some reason by default Win7 will not allow access to c$ but how I accidentally managed to have it work on one pc probably has to do with ms code and the fact that windows will never be able to make an OS like Apple: To make it work out of the box with no snags and endless hours of registry research and hacks…

  11. Sergio

    This tweak worked after we rebooted the computer.
    Thanks

  12. MAC hater

    Just finish yourself off now Dim Pan. Grab a rope and tie it around your neck before you jump off a building. You Mac lovin’ loser!!!

    Ah! forget it! I did try it on both computers no difference at all. This hack may have worked with some but overall it does not seem to be the solution to this problem. For some reason by default Win7 will not allow access to c$ but how I accidentally managed to have it work on one pc probably has to do with ms code and the fact that windows will never be able to make an OS like Apple: To make it work out of the box with no snags and endless hours of registry research and hacks…

  13. samuraitux

    Worked for me. I did not even have to reboot. Just added the key and tested. I think I will create a login script for all our workstation at work.

  14. sternac58

    Windows XP SP3 trying to access a Windows 7 Professional computer

    Windows 7 Professional: Removed Homegroup, Turned on File sharing, Turned on password protection sharing, Turned off public folder sharing, Disabled firewall, Applied registry hack, rebooted both computers.

    This fix does not work for Windows 7 Professional. One can access other file shares (like the default Users share) but not the default hidden share. And, you can’t modify the share permissions using the GUI.

    From a Windows XP SP3 computer, you are prompted for credentials. The Windows 7 computer does not accept them. The event logs on the Win 7 computer show the XP computer successfully accessing the computer.

    The account used for testing is the same acount I am logged in with on the Win 7 computer so I know the password is OK.

  15. ninski

    excellent!!! this is #1 common problem in windows 7.

  16. ROBBO

    Thanks! Just what I needed.

  17. donis

    nice inpo gan… ane lgi nyari neh….

  18. johno

    Great works well, no boot was required, also for Windows 7 Sp1

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