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My question is: How to set up file sharing correctly, in a home network, with Windows 8/10, so sharing any folder with "Everyone" (File Explorer->Right click on folder->Properties->Sharing->AdvancedSharing->Share this folder) actually shares the folder with everyone, without password, even with Microsoft accounts?

Before you answer, please read on, because the trivial solution does not work if Microsoft accounts are involved.

I have a home network, with Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 machines, all in the same Workgroup. No Homegroup. I want to be able to share individual folders on the network, by setting them to shared through File Explorer. In Windows 7 and Vista, I just go to Network and Sharing Center, enable file and printer sharing, disable password protected sharing, and it all works. In Windows 10 and Windows 8, the same still works, but only if both machines use local accounts. As soon as one of the machines - either the one accessing the files or the one sharing them - uses a Microsoft account, it is no longer possible to access any files or folders on the other machines. Specifically, if the machine with the Microsoft account tries to access the machine with the local account, it will prompt for a username and password, and access will fail unless username and password of an actual user on the target machine are provided. Changing the Microsoft account to a local account immediately fixes the problem, with no other configuration changes.

This problem is real, and I've reproduced it on several machines, had friends encounter the same problem, and I've found several reports of other users with the same issue, but no solution. The problem seems to be the same in Windows 8 and in Windows 10.

Successfully implemented workarounds (not solutions):

  1. Store the usernames/passwords to the other machines in the Credential Manager and give up the idea of sharing without password. Best use a common account for access*.
  2. Don't use Microsoft accounts.
  • 1
    Have you tried granting the ANONYMOUS LOGON identity permission to your shared folder? – Twisty Impersonator Dec 31 '14 at 21:22
  • Not specifically, but 'everyone' does include 'anonymous logon' by default. I'll try when I'm home but don't expect it to make a difference. – Peter Jan 1 '15 at 12:14
  • No, starting with Windows XP the Anonymous Logon identity has been removed from the Everyone group. – Twisty Impersonator Jan 1 '15 at 14:37
  • 1
    I can't recall a time, using any windows version, when I shared a folder on one machine and was able to access it over LAN without any issues. There is always some sht going on, be it domain; workgroup; or this permissions sht... come on already. – Ejaz Jan 28 '16 at 5:51
  • 2
    And with the latest Windows 10 update, Microsoft has broken this AGAIN. Now, it won't work with local accounts either. Why are they waging war against anonymous shares? Some people WANT them!!! – robross0606 Jan 22 '17 at 22:48
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+25

To explain the problem :

On Window 8.1, and presumably Windows 8, when using a Microsoft account to login to Windows, the default user-name when you make a network connection is MicrosoftAccount\<live_id_username>, instead of the login <computer_name>\<username> as in previous versions of Windows.

This MicrosoftAccount form is likely to cause a login failure on any server that is not using a Microsoft account, due to the strict way that Microsoft/Local accounts are implemented in Windows 8/8.1.

I have not been able to find a way of forcing Windows 8/8.1 to use the old format of computer-name\user-name, unless with one of the workarounds you have listed in your post. Probably this problem needs to be addressed by Microsoft itself.

I have tested and this is still true in Windows 10, so don't expect any improvement. Unfortunately, this is just the way that Microsoft/Local accounts were implemented.

  • I have since duplicated the problem with Windows 10 and have tried every workaround mentioned on the Web, to no avail. I can see that the prompt dialog has the Windows 10 computer itself as the domain, and the only way to change this is to enter <computer-name>\<username> in the dialog. I still don't know, as in my answer, any other solution than the workarounds you have listed in your post. You could raise this issue in the Windows 10 feedback channel. – harrymc Jan 1 '15 at 11:13
  • Since I asked the question, 10 months have passed and there have been 15000+ views. Nobody knew how to fix this, so I'm marking this as the answer, to acknowledge that network sharing is partially broken in Windows 8 and 10. – Peter Sep 7 '15 at 7:43
  • I have a problem with sharing my local folder (Windows 10) with another Windows 10 PC. But that other Win 10 PC has Microsoft account, and I can access its share without password. I cannot confirm your conclusions. – Violet Giraffe Oct 19 '15 at 9:21
  • 1
    Just tried again, still not working Nov 25 2015. – Peter Nov 25 '15 at 11:06
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    Still not working on Windows 10 Anniversary update – Syakur Rahman Oct 1 '16 at 3:40
34

I managed to share folders without passwords in Windows 10 with Microsoft Accounts by following this guide: http://www.howtogeek.com/126214/how-to-create-network-file-shares-with-no-passwords-in-windows-8/

I publish here in order to prevent link rot:

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center
  2. Then click on the Change advanced sharing settings Link in the left hand panel. screenshot
  3. Now expand the All Networks section. screenshot
  4. Finally switch the radial button to the Turn off password protected sharing setting and click Save changes. screenshot
  5. It works!

I did not try this extensively (for example if you need to have a password protected share instead), as all the shares in my LAN don't need to be password protected, and since there's no wifi, I know that i'm the only one to access the share. But I think, if it disable all the passwords, it will still work with NTFS access permissions

  • 2
    This is the exact solution that the question says doesn't work, except this one forgets to mention that you also need to enable file and printer sharing in the same window. I just verified on some machines to be sure this is still the case: Accessing a shared folder on a machine with microsoft account from a machine with local account still does not work this way, without some form of additional shared credentials - even with the latest patches of windows 10 on both machines. – Peter Nov 25 '15 at 10:58
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    @Magnetic_dud The problem is the other way around. If the current user is a Microsoft account, it can't access shares on other Win10 machines. Relog to a local account and the share on the other machine is suddenly accessible. – cremor Dec 23 '15 at 18:54
  • 3
    This did not work for me on win 10 & win xp. :( I am guessing, because Windows 10 disabled GUEST account, and can not be enabled no more. – Kyslik Oct 2 '16 at 18:11
  • 2
    This does not work for me... unless I use C:\Users\Public\Downloads\. That works fine. Other folders fail. There seems to be a step missing from the HowToGeek instructions to enable other folders. – candied_orange Feb 6 '17 at 3:15
  • 2
    You need to grant the Everyone identify permissions to the folders you have shared. Further, if you want users to be able to modify folders over the network, you need to edit the Share permissions and make sure 'Everyone' has Full Control. – Twisty Impersonator Apr 20 '17 at 19:08

protected by Community Aug 7 '15 at 19:07

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