Networking 7

The objective for this lesson is to explain the concept of “Advanced Sharing” and how it works in Windows.

As you will see, this way of sharing is rather old-school but also very powerful. It allows for detailed customization of what you are sharing, but it does have limitations in what you can share. Those limitations will also be covered in this lesson.

But first you will learn how to enable “Advanced Sharing” and then learn how to use it to share resources with the network and the Homegroup. During this process you will also learn how to limit the number of users that can connect to what you are sharing.

Next, you will see how to change the share name of a shared folder or drive and use multiple share names for the same resource.

Last, but not least, we will explain how to stop sharing a folder or a drive with “Advanced Sharing” and how to limit access to a specific user account or group while still sharing it with others.

What is Advanced Sharing in Windows?

Advanced Sharing is one way of sharing resources in Windows. It allows for detailed customization of the way you are sharing and it has the following characteristics:

  • You can use it to share folders, external hard drives and internal drives (your partitions, Blu-Ray or DVD drives).
  • You can use it to deny access to a specific resource for a specific user account or user group.
  • You can use it to limit the number of simultaneous users accessing a shared resource.
  • You can use it to share resources with one or more share names.
  • You cannot use “Advanced Sharing” for sharing libraries or printers.

How to Enable Advanced Sharing in Windows

“Advanced Sharing” is enabled by default when you share devices like external hard drives or your computer’s Blu-Ray or DVD drive. It is disabled by default when you share folders. If you want to use it for sharing folders as a replacement for the “Sharing Wizard”, then you need to disable the “Sharing Wizard”.

Open File Explorer in Windows 8.x or Windows Explorer in Windows 7. In Windows 8.x, expand the “View” tab on the ribbon and press the “Options” button on the far right.

The “Folder Options” window, where you can enable “Advanced Sharing”, is now open.

In Windows 7, click the “Organize” button on the Explorer toolbar and then “Folder and search options”.

In the “Folder Options” window, go to the “View” tab. In the “Advanced Settings” section you will find lots of configuration options for Windows/File Explorer.

Scroll to the bottom of the list and you will find an option that says “Use Sharing Wizard (Recommended)”. To enable the “Advanced Sharing”, clear this option and press “OK”. Then, close the “Folder Options” window.

“Advanced Sharing” is now enabled also for sharing folders.

How to Access Advanced Sharing for a Folder or Drive

After “Advanced Sharing” is enabled in Windows, you can start using it for sharing folders and drives. In order to start using “Advanced Sharing” for sharing a folder, you need to first select it in File Explorer (in Windows 8.x) or Windows Explorer (in Windows 7).

Once you select the folder in Windows 8, expand the “Share” tab on the ribbon. In the “Share with” section you will find only one option which says “Advanced Sharing”.

A click or tap on it opens the folder’s Properties window, directly at the “Sharing” tab. There you have two sections:

  • Network File and Folder Sharing – this indicates whether the folder is shared or not. If the folder is shared, you will also see the network path to that folder. The network path is the path used by other computers or devices to access that folder.
  • Advanced Sharing – this section only includes the “Advanced Sharing” button that starts the wizard for sharing with the network.
  • Password Protection – this informs you whether others need to have a user account and password for your computer in order to access the folders you are sharing with the network.

To start sharing with others, press the “Advanced Sharing” button.

Once you select the folder in Windows 7, click “Share with” on the toolbar and then “Advanced sharing settings”. This opens the folder’s Properties window, directly at the “Sharing” tab, just like in Windows 8.x. The sections and options displayed are the same in Windows 7 and Windows 8.x.

Another way to start “Advanced Sharing” is to right-click the folder that you want to share with the network. On the menu, select “Share with” and then “Advanced sharing”.

The folder’s Properties window is opened as shown above.

How to Share Folders or Drives with Advanced Sharing

Let’s continue with the actual steps involved in sharing with “Advanced Sharing”. To give you an example of how this is done, we are sharing a folder on one of our network computers with Windows 8.x.

The “Advanced Sharing” window is empty at first and unappealing.

To share the selected folder, check the box that says “Share this folder”. If you stop here and click “OK”, the folder is shared on the network with everyone. However, the beauty of “Advanced Sharing” is that you can customize in detail how the folder is shared.

Keep Reading…

You can limit the number of simultaneous users accessing the shared folder by changing the default value (20) to a number according to your preference. For example, if you want only one user at a time accessing the shared folder, set “Limit the number of simultaneous users to” to 1.

Then, you can edit the permissions being given to that shared folder and who has access to it. To edit these permissions, click or tap the “Permissions” button. This opens the “Permissions” window for that shared folder. Here you have two sections:

  • Group or user names – this section lists all the user accounts and user groups you are sharing the folder with. By default, when sharing a folder, the user group “Everyone” is the only one receiving permissions. You can remove it by selecting this group and then pressing “Remove”.
  • Permissions for the selected user account or group – when you select a user group or user account in the first section, the second section in the “Permissions” window is updated to display the permissions received. By default, a folder is shared with “Read” permissions. Also, the permissions can be set to “Allow” or “Deny”. When you want to share something, you should use only the checkboxes in the “Allow” column.

If you need a refresher on permissions, go back to Lesson 1.

Let’s assume you want to share the selected folder with another user account or user group. To add it, press the “Add” button. The “Select Users or Groups” window is opened. Here you can type the user account or user group that you want to share with. However, it is easier to click or tap “Advanced” and use the mouse or touch for this task.

In order for Windows to display all the user accounts and groups that exist on your PC or device, click or tap “Find Now”.

Below you can see a long list of user accounts and groups. Select the user account or group you want to share with and press “OK”.

The selected user account or group is now displayed in the “Select Users or Groups” window. Click or tap “OK”.

You are back to the “Permissions” window for the selected folder. Next, set the desired permissions for the group or user account you just added and click or tap “OK”.

In the “Advanced Sharing” window, press “OK” and the folder is now shared with the user accounts and user groups you have selected, and with the permissions you have assigned.

How to Change the Share Name of a Shared Folder

In the “Advanced Sharing” window you can also change the default name used for sharing the selected resource and add any number of share names. You can also remove the initial share name after you add at least one new share name.

Keep in mind that these share names do not affect the actual name of the resources on your Windows PC or device. That remains the same. The share name only affects the way other see the shared resource on the network.

To add a new share name, click or tap “Add”.

The “New Share” window is opened. Here, type a new “Share name” and press “OK”. Before doing that, you can also change the number of allowed users as this setting can have different values for different share names.

Back in the “Advanced Sharing” window, you can see the newly added share name.

You can add more share names using the same procedure. When done, click or tap “OK” and the same resource is shared using all the share names given to it.

If you want to remove a share name, select it from the “Share name” drop-down list and then press “Remove”. Don’t forget to click or tap “OK” to apply the change and close the “Advanced Sharing” window.

To get a better picture, look at the screenshot below. You can see our “Downloads” folder shared using the share names “downloads” and “my new share”, in the “Network” section in File Explorer.

Opening either of them will display the same files and sub-folders since they point to the same physical location.

Share with the HomeGroup with Advanced Sharing

Sharing with the Homegroup when using “Advanced Sharing” is obviously possible. Follow the procedure shared earlier, select the “HomeUsers” group and give it the permissions you desire.

Any resource shared with the user group “HomeUsers” is accessible from any computers that are part of the Homegroup.

Share with Non-Microsoft Operating Systems

When sharing a folder with “Advanced Sharing”, Windows shares resources by default with the “Everyone” group. That’s great for sharing with computers and devices that do not have Windows.

Do not fiddle with this way of sharing and only modify the permissions assigned to “Everyone”.

How to Stop Sharing a Folder or Drive with Advanced Sharing

If you want to stop sharing a resource with others on the network, access “Advanced Sharing” using the method shared earlier. Then, in the “Advanced Sharing” window, uncheck the box that says “Share this folder” and press “OK”.

The selected folder or drive is no longer shared with the network.

How to Deny Access to a Specific User or Group with Advanced Sharing

If you want to share a folder or a drive with some users or groups and deny access to others, you can do so with “Advanced Sharing”. Follow the procedure shared earlier and add the user group or account whose access you want to block.

Then, in the “Permissions” window select that user or group and, in the “Deny” column, check the maximum permission level you want to deny. If you want to completely want to deny access, check the “Deny” box for “Full Control”. In the screenshot below you can see an example.

Then, press “OK” to apply your settings both in the “Permissions” and “Advanced Sharing” windows.

Coming up Next …

In the next lesson we will talk about network drives, their role in network sharing and how to create or remove such drives.