I have an external hard drive connected to a Windows 7 (Home Edition) computer. I have another computer (with Windows 7 Ultimate), and I want to have the Windows 7 Ultimate back up to the same external hard drive, without having to disconnect and move the external hard drive from the Home Edition PC.

When I get to the "Set up backup" dialog within Windows 7, it asks me where to save the backup. I select "Save on a network". However, when I enter "\\computername\harddrivename" under Browse, the "OK" button remains grayed out. The button remains grayed out unless I also enter a Username and Password under "Network credentials". However, the account I have on the other computer doesn't have a password for it. To un-gray out the button I must enter a fake password, allowing me to click "OK", but then obviously I get a "bad password" error.

Does anyone know how to get around this problem? (Seems kind of ridiculous.) I made sure that the security settings with the external hard drive on the other computer are full access to Everyone, so permissions is not the problem. I also thought about using Homegroup instead of the regular security settings, but there is no obvious way to go about it that way, either.


Not sure of the exact details for Windows 7, but I think it is similar to Windows XP where trying to access a network resource without a password would require that the network resource be accessible to the Everyone group.

The Everyone group really means everyone - so allowing it would allow unauthenticated users to access your files (as long as they could get onto your network, of course).

For what it's worth, it's actually pretty common to create a designated user account for something like a backup job, simply because a backup job often needs broad access to files and resources that ordinary user accounts might not have. Also, even though Windows will let you create user accounts without profiles, I really don't think it is a good idea. Even a simple password is better than no password at all.

Hope this helps?


Create a user called backup with a password on the Home Edition computer. Use that user to connect.

  • That idea occurred to me as well, but I would hope that there would be a way to accomplish this without creating an entire new needless user profile. Since Windows 7 specifically doesn't require user profiles to have to have passwords, what is the reason that there must be a password for this situation? Seems like a Windows 7 bug to me. – seansand Feb 24 '10 at 18:50
  • You need a user with a password to connect to a share (because a user without a password would be a security-risk). Maybe Windows HomeGroup is better, but I have never used it... – wullxz May 14 '11 at 21:46

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