We would not have networks, or our jobs, if organizations did not find it valuable to provide access to information and resources stored on one computer to users of another computer. Creating a shared folder to provide such access is therefore among the most fundamental tasks for any network administrator. Windows Server 2003 shared folders are managed with the Shared Folders snap-in. After this lesson, you will be able to ■ Create a shared folder with Windows Explorer and the Shared Folders snap-in ■ Configure permissions and other properties of shared folders ■ Manage user sessions and open files Estimated lesson time: 15 minutes
Sharing a Folder
Sharing a folder configures the File And Printer Sharing For Microsoft Networks service (also known as the Server service) to allow network connections to that folder and its subfolders by clients running the Client For Microsoft Networks (also known as the Workstation service). You certainly have shared a folder using Windows Explorer by right-clicking a folder, choosing Sharing And Security, and selecting Share This Folder.
However, the familiar Sharing tab of a folder’s properties dialog box in Windows Explorer is available only when you configure a share while logged on to a computer interactively or through terminal services. You cannot share a folder on a remote system using Windows Explorer. Therefore, you will examine the creation, properties, configuration, and management of a shared folder using the Shared Folders snap-in, which can be used on both local and remote systems.
When you open the Shared Folders snap-in, either as a custom MMC console snap-in or as part of the Computer Management or File Server Management consoles, you will immediately notice that Windows Server 2003 has several default administrative shares already configured. These shares provide connection to the system directory (typically, C:\Windows) as well as to the root of each fixed hard disk drive. Each of these shares uses the dollar sign ($) in the share name. The dollar sign at the end of a share name configures the share as a hidden share that will not appear on browse lists, but that you may connect to with a Universal Naming Convention (UNC) in the form \\servername\sharename$. Only administrators can connect to the administrative shares.
To share a folder on a computer, connect to the computer using the Shared Folders snap-in by right-clicking the root Shared Folders node and choosing Connect To Another Computer. Once the snap-in is focused on the computer, click the Shares node
6-4 Chapter 6 Files and Folders and, from the shortcut or Action menu, choose New Share. The important pages and settings exposed by the wizard are
■The Folder Path page Type the path to the folder on the local hard drives so, for example, if the folder is located on the server’s D drive, the folder path would be D:\foldername.
■The Name, Description, and Settings page Type the share name. If your net-work has any down-level clients (those using DOS-based systems), be sure to adhere to the 8.3 naming convention to ensure their access to the shares. The share name will, with the server name, create the UNC to the resource, in the form \\servername\sharename. Add a dollar sign to the end of the share name to make the share a hidden share. Unlike the built-in hidden administrative shares, hidden shares that are created manually can be connected to by any user, restricted only by the share permissions on the folder.
■ The Permissions page Select the appropriate share permissions.
Managing a Shared Folder
The Shares node in the Shared Folders snap-in lists all shares on a computer and provides a context menu for each share that enables you to stop sharing the folder, open the share in Windows Explorer, or configure the share’s properties. All the properties that you are prompted to fill out by the Share A Folder Wizard can be modified in the share’s Properties dialog box, illustrated in Figure 6-1. Figure 6-1 The General tab of a shared folder
Lesson 1 Setting Up Shared Folders 6-5 The Properties tabs in the dialog box are
■General The first tab provides access to the share name, folder path, description, the number of concurrent user connections, and offline files settings. The share name and folder path are read-only. To rename a share, you must first stop sharing the folder then create a share with the new name.
■Publish If you select Publish This Share In Active Directory (as shown in Figure 6-2), an object is created in Active Directory to represent the shared folder. Figure 6-2 The Publish tab of a shared folder The object’s properties include a description and keywords. Administrators can then locate the shared folder based on its description or keywords, using the Find Users, Contacts and Groups dialog box. By selecting Shared Folders from the Find drop-down list, this dialog box becomes the Find Shared Folders dialog box shown in Figure 6-3.
■Share Permissions The Share Permissions tab allows you to configure share permissions.
■Security The Security tab allows you to configure NTFS permissions for the folder.
6-6 Chapter 6 Files and Folders Figure 6-3 Searching for a shared folder
Configuring Share Permissions
Available share permissions are listed in Table 6-1. While share permissions are not as detailed as NTFS permissions, they allow you to configure a shared folder for fundamental access scenarios: Read, Change, and Full Control.
Table 6-1 Share Permissions
Read Users can display folder names, file names, file data and attributes. Users can also run program files and access other folders within the shared folder.
Change Users can create folders, add files to folders, change data in files, append data to files, change file attributes, delete folders and files, and perform actions permitted by the Read permission.
Full Control Users can change file permissions, take ownership of files, and perform all tasks allowed by the Change permission.
Share permissions can be allowed or denied. The effective set of share permissions is the cumulative result of the Allow permissions granted to a user and all groups to which that user belongs. If, for example, you are a member of a group that has Read permission and a member of another group that has Change permission, your effective permissions are Change. However, a Deny permission will override an Allow permission. If, on the other hand, you are in one group that has been allowed Read access and in another group that has been denied Full Control, you will be unable to read the files or folders in that share.
Lesson 1 Setting Up Shared Folders 6-7 Share permissions define the maximum effective permissions for all files and folders beneath the shared folder. Permissions can be further restricted, but cannot be broadened, by NTFS permissions on specific files and folders. Said another way, a user’s access to a file or folder is the most restrictive set of effective permissions between share permissions and NTFS permissions on that resource. If you want a group to have full control of a folder and have granted full control through NTFS permissions, but the share permission is the default (Everyone: Allow Read) or even if the share permission allows Change, that group’s NTFS full control access will be limited by the share per-mission. This dynamic means that share permissions add a layer of complexity to the management of resource access, and is one of several reasons that organizations cite for their directives to configure shares with open share permissions (Everyone: Allow Full Control), and to use only NTFS permissions to secure folders and files. See the “Three Views of Share Permissions” sidebar for more information about the variety of perspectives and drivers behind discussions of share permissions. Three Views of Share Permissions It is important to understand the perspectives from which share permissions are addressed in real-world implementations by Microsoft and by certification objectives and resources such as this book. Share Permission Limitations Share permissions have significant limitations, including the following: ■ Scope Share permissions apply only to network access through the Client for Microsoft Networks; they do not apply to local or terminal service access to files and folders, nor to other types of network access, such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Telnet, and so on. ■ Replication Share permissions do not replicate through file replication service (FRS). ■ Resiliency Share permissions are not included in a backup or restore of a data volume. ■ Fragility Share permissions are lost if you move or rename the folder that is shared. ■ Lack of detailed control Share permissions are not granular; they provide a single permissions template that applies to every file and folder beneath the shared folder. You cannot enlarge access to any folder or file beneath the shared folder; and you cannot further restrict access without turning to NTFS permissions. ■ Auditing You cannot configure auditing based on share permissions.
6-8 Chapter 6 Files and Folders ■ The grass is truly greener We have NTFS permissions, which are designed to provide solid, secure access control to files and folders. NTFS permissions do replicate, are included in a backup and restore of a data volume, can be audited, and provide extraordinary flexibility as well as ease of management. So organizations rely on NTFS permissions for resource access control. ■ Complexity If both share permissions and NTFS permissions are applied, the most restrictive permission set will be effective, adding a layer of complexity to analyzing effective permissions and troubleshooting file access. Real-World Use of Share Permissions Because of these limitations, the use of share permissions does not occur except for the extraordinarily rare case in which a drive volume is FAT or FAT32, which then does not support NTFS permissions. Otherwise, the “real-world” rule is: Configure shares with Everyone: Allow Full Control share permissions, and lock down the shared folder, and any other files or folders beneath it, using NTFS permissions. Microsoft’s Tightening of Share Permissions Before Windows XP, the default share permission was Everyone: Allow Full Control. Using such a default, adhering to “real-world” policies was simple: administrators didn’t change the share permission, but went straight to configuring NTFS permissions. Windows Server 2003 sets Everyone: Allow Read and Administrators: Allow Full Control as the default share permission. This is problematic because, for all non-administrators, the entire shared folder tree is now restricted to read access. Microsoft made this change with a noble goal: to increase security by restricting the extent to which resources are vulnerable by default when they are shared. Many administrators have shared a folder then forgotten to check NTFS permissions only to discover, too late, that a permission was too “open.” By configuring the share with read permission, Microsoft helps administrators avoid this problem. Unfortunately, most organizations avoid share permissions, due to their limitations, and focus instead on providing security through NTFS permissions. Now administrators must remember to configure share permissions (to allow Everyone Full Control) to return to best practices laid out by their organizations. Certification Objectives There is a third perspective on share permissions: certification objectives. Although share permissions are typically implemented in accordance with strict enterprise policies (Everyone is allowed Full Control), the fact that share permissions might one day deviate from that setting, and the possibility that data might be stored on a FAT or FAT32 volume, for which share permissions are the only
Lesson 1 Setting Up Shared Folders 6-9 viable option for access control, means that you must understand share permissions to meet the objectives of the MCSA and MCSE exams. Of particular importance are scenarios in which both share permissions and NTFS permissions are applied to a resource, in which case the most restrictive effective permission set becomes the effective permissions set for the resource when it is accessed by a Client For Microsoft Networks service. So pay attention to share permissions. Learn their nuances. Know how to evaluate effective permissions in combination with NTFS permissions. Then configure your shares according to your organization’s guidelines, which will most likely be, unlike the new default share permission in Windows Server 2003, to allow Everyone Full Control.
Managing User Sessions and Open Files
Occasionally, a server must be taken offline for maintenance, backups must be run, or other tasks must be performed that require users to be disconnected and any open files to be closed and unlocked. Each of these scenarios will use the Shared Folders snap-in.
The Sessions node of the Shared Folders snap-in allows you to monitor the number of users connected to a particular server and, if necessary, to disconnect the user. The Open Files node enumerates a list of all open files and file locks for a single server, and allows you to close one open file or disconnect all open files.
Before you perform any of these actions, it is useful to notify the user that the user will be disconnected, so that the user has time to save any unsaved data. You can send a console message by right-clicking the Shares node. Messages are sent by the Messenger Service using the computer name, not the user name. The default state of the Messenger service in Windows Server 2003 is disabled. The Messenger service must be configured for Automatic or Manual startup and must be running before a computer can send console messages.
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