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I have: 10 PCs in my factory with Windows 8 installed on them. 1 Windows 7 PC 1 Windows XP PC

There is one central router and all PCs are connected through switches. They are all connected to the same workgroup

My problem is that any folders shared on the network are accessible to all computers.

I wish to implement a system where I can selectively issue access to shared folders. What would be the simplest way to go about it?

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The way I would do it in your situation would be create your own domain network using your 10 existing computers & a standalone server computer. The server computer wouldn't have to be that powerful; just a fast local network connection needed.

This would allow you to create user-accounts that store all their files on their assigned areas on the server, and that non-Administrators would not be able to view the files of each account.

Having your own domain network would also allow you to:

  • Install programs automatically on all computers at once
  • Allow employees to use any computer & still get their user account- useful if one of the computers broke
  • Central control of computer settings

Having said that, you can deny other users access to per-user folders on the shared network drive.

On each PC:

  1. Right-Click the user's folder and click Properties:

enter image description here

  1. Navigate to the Security tab, & click Advanced

  2. Click on Add. Notice that all users have the permission of This folder, subfolders and files. We don't want that.

enter image description here

  1. Click on Select a Principal, and type Everyone:

    enter image description here

  2. Untick all checkboxes, and click OK:

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  1. Repeat steps 4 & 5 but in the Select a Principal dialog type the user's user-name, but ensure the user has full permissions

  2. Test by attempting to access the folder via another PC/user-account. Windows should deny you permissions.

Note: if any employees are administrators on their machine, they are able to undo the permissions that were set. Employees should be Standard users.

If you set the permissions correctly, you should get something like this:

enter image description here

As you can see, setting these permissions on every computer for every user can be time consuming, hence a domain with Windows Server would be beneficial in this case.

  • What I dont like in this setup is that if the server goes down. No users can access files. In my current setup, users' files are synced via dropbox and even if a computer was down, everyone is still working. – Kashif Sep 29 '15 at 15:52
  • @Kashif That's an issue you'll have to avoid. if the main network drive goes down, what then? Yes, they're synced via Dropbox, but even that doesn't ensure 100% file availability. On a server you can easily have it sync to Dropbox, while having local redundancy to ensure files are there. – AStopher Sep 29 '15 at 15:55

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