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I have 2 XP machines sitting behind a router (and it's firewall). I want to share files between them. I've shared C:\ but found the XP firewall was blocking access. I enabled the File and Printer Sharing exception in the firewall and I can access my files.

I realise the XP firewall doesn't block outbound connections and that it isn't really needed due to the firewall in the router, but my question is:

By enabling the File and Printer Sharing exception, is the PC (doing the sharing) less secure (disregarding the router firewall) than it would be? If so, by how much?

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Yes, technicaly it would be "less secure" because you have opened up one more service on windows. This is another entry point for a security breach as you have allowed file sharing.

I would not worry about this though if you are behind a router with a firewall on a home connection. File sharing is a very common use of your personal network. The chances of something happening are not impossible, but are most likely not going to happen with your current setup.

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Yes, but negligibly so for users on home networks.

I might worry about it a little more if this is for a laptop that you often use in crowded public places.

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