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SECURITY

Using and Configuring Public Folder Sharing

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Public folder sharing is designed to enable users to share files and folders from a single location. It enables users to quickly determine everything they've publicly shared with others and organize publicly shared files by type. In this section, I'll examine how public folder sharing works and how public folder sharing can be configured.

Using Public Folder Sharing

You can access public folders in Windows Explorer by clicking Start and then clicking Computer. In Windows Explorer, click the leftmost option button in the address list and then click Public. With public folder sharing, you copy or move files that you want to share to a computer's %SystemDrive%\Users\Public folder.

The Public folder has several subfolders that can be used to help organize public files, including:

  • Public Desktop Used for shared desktop items. Any files and program shortcuts placed in the Public Desktop folder appear on the desktop of all users who log on to the computer (and to all network users if network access has been granted to the Public folder).

  • Public Documents, Public Music, Public Pictures, Public Videos Used for shared document and media files. Any files placed in one of these subfolders are available to all users who log on to the computer (and to all network users if network access has been granted to the Public folder).

  • Public Downloads Used for shared downloads. Any downloads placed in the Public Downloads subfolder are available to all users who log on to the computer (and to all network users if network access has been granted to the Public folder).

By default, everyone with a user account and password on a computer can access that computer's Public folder. When you copy or move files to the Public folder, access permissions are changed to match that of the Public folder, and some additional permissions are added as well.

Table 1 lists the typical default permissions for files and folders placed in the Public folder. As you can see, the default permissions allow local computer users to read, write, change, and delete any public files. In the Public Music, Public Pictures, and Public Videos folders, %ComputerName%\Users are granted Read & Execute and Read permissions.

Table 1: Default Permissions for Publicly Shared Folders and Files

Group or User

Default Permissions for Files

Default Permissions for Folders

%ComputerName%\Administrators

Full Control

Full Control

Batch

Modify, Read & Execute, Read, and Write

Read & Execute, List Folder Contents, and Read

Creator Owner

Special

Special

Interactive

Modify, Read & Execute, Read, and Write

Read & Execute, List Folder Contents, and Read

Service

Modify, Read & Execute, Read, and Write

Read & Execute, List Folder Contents, and Read

System

Full Control

Full Control

The default Public folder sharing configuration can be changed in two key ways:

  • Allow users with network access to view and open public files but restrict them from changing, creating, or deleting public files. When you configure this option, the implicit group Everyone is granted Read & Execute and Read permissions to public files, and Read & Execute, List Folder Contents, and Read permissions on public folders.

  • Allow users with network access to view and manage public files. This allows network users to open, change, create, and delete public files. When you configure this option, the implicit group Everyone is granted Full Control permissions to public files and public folder.

Configuring Public Folder Sharing

Public folder sharing settings are set on a per-computer basis. The same public folder setting is used for the Public folder and all its subfolders. You can configure public folder sharing by following these steps:

  1. Click Start and then click Computer. In Windows Explorer, click the leftmost option button in the address list and then click Public.

  2. On the Windows Explorer toolbar, click Sharing Settings. This opens the Network And Sharing Center. Expand the Public Folder Sharing Panel by clicking the Expand button, as shown in Figure 1.

    Image from book
    Figure 1: Use the Network File And Printer Sharing page to configure public folder sharing.

  3. Under Public Folder Sharing, select the public folder sharing option you want to use. The options available are:

    • q Turn On Sharing So Anyone With Network Access Can Open Files Select this option to grant Reader permission to the Public folder and all public data to anyone who can access the computer over the network. Windows Firewall settings might prevent external access.

    • q Turn On Sharing So Anyone With Network Access Can Open, Change, And Create Files Select this option to grant Co-owner access to the Public folder and all public data to anyone who can access the computer over the network. Windows Firewall settings might prevent external access.

    • q Turn Off Sharing Select this option to turn off network access to the Public folder and only allow locally (console) logged on users access to public data.

  4. Click Apply to save the changes.

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