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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    I'm having difficulty mapping a network drive the way I'd like it, and I haven't found any instructions on the Windows Secrets Lounge or elsewhere that quite match my problem. At my home there are three computers, all running Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit: my desktop, my laptop, and another desktop. All three are set up as a work network, with a workgroup named WORKGROUP. (I'm not interested in using a Homegroup, based on recent information in the Windows Secrets Newsletter that this method slows down the network.) My desktop has two (physical) hard drives: the C drive (operating system & programs) and the D drive (data). I've moved my desktop's My Documents folder to the D drive. I want to map my desktop's My Documents folder to a network drive on my laptop. On my desktop the Advanced Sharing settings are as follows: network discovery on; file and printer sharing on; public folder sharing off (I don't use the public folders); media streaming off; 128-bit encryption on; password-protected sharing on; homegroup connections off (i.e., use user accounts and passwords to connect). My user account name and my password are the same on my desktop and my laptop, and both accounts have administrative privileges.

    As mentioned, I want to map my desktop's My Documents folder to a network drive on my laptop, mainly so I can sync data files more easily between my desktop and my laptop. However, I don't want my desktop's My Documents folder to be shared with the other desktop in the network. (I should say that I'm at a beginner's level in network terminology and setup.) It seems to me, therefore (though maybe I'm wrong about this), that when I go to "Share with..." and then "Specific people" in the folder's context menu, I wouldn't want to choose "Everyone". Instead, I'd like to choose a selection that would let the folder be visible only to my user account on my laptop (so that I could then map the folder onto my laptop as a drive). However, I can't find a way to do this. The only choices that appear are "Everyone" (which I'd think is not what I want), my desktop (not laptop) user account, and "<Unknown Contact>" (listed with a permission of "Owner"). If I choose "Create a new user..." in the "Add" drop-down list, I can only create a new user account on my desktop, which doesn't help. If I remove "Everyone" from the sharing list and just leave my desktop user account and the "<Unknown Contact>", my laptop tells me I don't have permission to access the folder on my desktop. If I take the alternate route of using the folder's "Properties" dialog box and the "Sharing" tab to arrive eventually at the "Select Users or Groups" dialog box, the only location it lets me search for users is my desktop machine. I've read several online articles about how to set up file sharing and map drives in Windows 7, but none of them appears to cover my goal of sharing with one machine on a network but not another. So I have two questions:

    1. Is there a way for me to do what I'd like -- that is, to map the folder on my desktop to a network drive on my laptop, but not have it visible to the other desktop on the network?
    2. Just for information's sake, what does the "<Unknown Contact>" entry mean on the folder sharing list?

    I'd be very grateful for any advice to solve this, or even to show me a better way to accomplish what I want.

    Thanks,
    Vance Hamilton

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Vance,

    The easiest way I've found to do what you want is to set up a user account on the Main Desktop with the exact same user name and password as the laptop you want to have access to it's my documents folder. Then just share the my documents folder. Anyone on the network w/o a user account on the Main Desktop will not be able to access the shared folder unless they know the Userid & Password of your machine. This is how I've setup my home network through XP - Vista - Win-7 w/o problems. If you want you can also then hide that user account so it does not show up on your desktop login screen.

    BTW: I'm currently enjoying the weather in the Great State of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    I think it stays visible as well, just password protected to restrict access. You can sort of hide it in XP by using another workgroup but it would still be visible by leveling up to the workgroup level or searching by computer name. 7 just lists everything on the network, willy nilly, so anything you can hide from another computer on the network is hidden to the rest as well.

  4. #4
    Lounger
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    @RetiredGeek and Byron Tarbox: Many thanks for the advice. If I understand you both, I can arrange things (via setting up a main desktop user account with the same user name and password as the laptop) so that only the laptop (or more precisely, only someone who knows that account's password) has access to the mapped drive on the laptop, but I can't hide the listing of the drive on the other desktop's network listing. I assume that means that someone on the other desktop could see the laptop's mapped drive letter but would get a "you don't have permission to access" message if they tried to access the laptop's mapped drive on the network listing.

    @RetiredGeek: Glad you're enjoying the weather in the Valley. As a follow-up question to your reply, how do I hide the laptop user account on the desktop login screen?

    Thanks again,
    Vance

  5. #5
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Vance,

    To hide an account:

    Before you begin with the instructions you should back up your System or at least the registry. Note these are XP directions so update as necessary for Win-7, the registry key is the same.

    1. Start, Run and type regedit and click OK
    2. Navigate to HKEY\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\Userlis t.
    You will not see this folder if you do not have show hidden system files turned on.
    3. Create a DWORD value, right click on the User list label file on the left side of the screen and select New>DWORD. You'll see the new entry in the right pane of the window, rename this value the name of the user account you want hidden (exactly how it is listed in the Startup screen, case sensitive) and leave the value at 0.
    4. Close your Registry Editor.
    5. Restart the PC.

    Also the other PC on the network can see the shared drive/folders by their share names but not the mapped drive letter as different machines can map the same share to different drive letters.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
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    Yes, they can't access the share, that's the whole idea behind permissions on a local network.

    RetiredGeek, I'm missing something. Why would one want to hide the account on the PC? The concern is a user on a different PC, not on the same PC...so I'm wondering what the benefit is.

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
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    @Byron,

    I do this with some of my small office setups I have a single machine that is a workstation but also acts as the server. I setup all the users on that machine with the same user names and passwords that they use on each of their individual workstations. I then hide the accounts so the user of the workstation/server machine does not see all the accounts. Obviously if the user on the workstation is an administrator he/she can see all of the user's files so this machine is best used by a trusted manager type person (or if it is an office of more than a couple people a TRUE server is much better).

    IF you are using the welcome screen, it gets pretty busy if you have 5 or 6 users setup just for file sharing permissions....

  8. #8
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    Yes, they can't access the share, that's the whole idea behind permissions on a local network.

    RetiredGeek, I'm missing something. Why would one want to hide the account on the PC? The concern is a user on a different PC, not on the same PC...so I'm wondering what the benefit is.
    Byron,

    As Mercyh stated to keep the Welcome screen clean. I found this trick when I set up my Wife's machine so I could access the files on it. She complained about the extra picture at logon. So to keep marital bliss in tact...
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  9. #9
    5 Star Lounger
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    Ok, I was trying to apply account hiding to the needs of the thread problem only; if I defocus I can think of benefits...a factor in marital bliss I must confess was not one of them though.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    Ok, I was trying to apply account hiding to the needs of the thread problem only; if I defocus I can think of benefits...a factor in marital bliss I must confess was not one of them though.
    Byron,

    IMHO the first question an interviewer hiring tech support people should be "do you provide tech support for your spouse?" If the answer is yes and they are still married...hire them quick!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  11. #11
    Lounger
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    As recommended, I set up a new user account on my main desktop with the same username and password as my laptop. I shared the My Documents folder with that account (rather than "Everyone"), then mapped the folder to a network drive on my laptop. Finally, I hid the new user account from the desktop login screen via the suggested registry edit. Everything worked perfectly! Thanks to everyone for the very helpful advice. By the way, the "<Unknown Contact>" in the "Share with" box that I mentioned in my original post turned out to be the remnant of my old WinXP user account on the machine (I installed Win7 over WinXP); I found this information on one of the Microsoft forums by googling <Unknown Contact>. When I changed ownership of the folders to my main Win7 user account, I could then delete the <Unknown Contact> entry without any problem.

    Thanks again,
    Vance

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