A+ Certification / Beginners

Hidden shares

In the Windows world, you can also create hidden shares. Hidden shares are like normal shares in the sense that users on the network can connect to them; the difference is that hidden shares are not advertised - you can't find them by browsing through the shared folder list on a server. Users will connect to the hidden share by typing the UNC in the Run command or mapping a drive, which you can read about in the "Connecting to Shares" section.

To create a hidden share, use the steps for creating a normal share (see the section "Creating shared folders," earlier in this tutorial), but when you type a share name in the Share Name text box, you create the hidden share by appending a dollar sign ($) to the end of the share name. For example, if the share name is data, and you want it to be a hidden share, you would type data$ in the Share Name text box; the share is automatically hidden from Windows and users on the network when they browse the servers.

Multiple shares

In Windows 2000/XP/2003 you have the ability to create multiple shares for the same folder. This gives flexibility to the network administrator so that a user can have different permissions for a single folder, depending on what share that user connects to.

On our office network, we have implemented multiple shares per shared folder so that during day-to-day activities, not even an administrator can alter files on the server. If an administrator wants to make changes to a folder, he has to connect to the secondary share for that particular folder to have full-control access. This helps prevent a lot of unfortunate mistakes in modifying or deleting files by accident - even network administrators make mistakes.

Connecting to shares

After you have created the shared resource, you can connect to the shared resource from anywhere on the network. There are a number of ways to connect to shared folders; here are a few of the most common:

  • Browsing My Network Places
  • Using a UNC path through the Run command
  • Mapping a drive

The following sections examine each of these methods.

Browsing network resources

To browse network resources, follow these steps:

  1. Go to My Network Places in Windows 2000/XP.
  2. Click the View Workgroup Computers link on the left in the Network Task list.
    You see a list of computers.
  3. Double-click a computer to see a list of shares on that computer.
  4. You can open any share just by double-clicking it.

Remember that you can't see any hidden shares while browsing network resources. For this reason, it is important to know additional ways to connect to shares, such as through the UNC path.

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