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Configure Windows 10 Data Access and Usage

Being able to access your data from anywhere is a key feature of Windows 10, whether at home using a HomeGroup, at work across a LAN, or when mobile using the Internet. This tutorial discusses multiple methods of configuring sharing and setting access permissions on the share so that you are in control of who can see or edit the data. You review how to troubleshoot data access issues and stay informed of your usage status when using a metered connection.

Configure file and printer sharing

Data is often shared in an organization, perhaps within a team for project work or between you and your boss. You must know how this can be achieved in Windows 10 within a networked environment, whether that is at home or in a larger workplace network. You must be able to manage shared files and printers.

File and printer sharing is disabled by default, and it is automatically turned on when you share the first folder on a Windows 10 device. If you want to configure this setting manually, you can do so in the advanced sharing settings in the Network And Sharing Center in Control Panel.

Another consideration is that when sharing is enabled, the Windows Firewall is automatically configured to allow users to access shares on a computer in the network. This is a potential security risk. Although the firewall settings are configured automatically when you first share a folder, they are not returned to their default status even if you remove all shared folders.

Server Message Block and Network Discovery

Shares are provided by the Server Message Block (SMB) application-layer network protocol and not by NTFS. You can see what version of SMB your Windows 10 system is using by following these steps.

  1. Log on to your computer by using an administrative user account.
  2. Open File Explorer and navigate to a shared or mapped folder on the network so that the shared files are visible in the right navigation pane.
  3. On the File Explorer menu, click File and then click Open Windows PowerShell As Administrator.
  4. Accept UAC if prompted.
  5. Type the Windows PowerShell cmdlet Get-SmbConnection.
    Windows PowerShell should report the current SMB version (dialect) in use.

Windows automatically negotiates between the client and server (or client and client) to ensure that both parties use the latest SMB version. Using the latest version (version 3.0 and later in Windows 10 and Server 2012 R2) offers many new benefits such as scalability, failover, and performance enhancements.

The network discovery feature was introduced in Windows Vista and uses a new layer 2-level protocol called Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD). It allows Windows to identify other devices present on the local subnet and, when possible, establish the quality of service (QoS) bandwidth capabilities of the network.

Knowing what is on the network increases the communication between devices. One downside of this increased awareness capability is that the firewall security settings are slightly relaxed. This means that not only does your computer see other network computers and devices, it also becomes discoverable on the network by other Windows clients. To maintain security, the network discovery feature is disabled by default.

Administrators working in a domain environment can manage the settings of the two network discovery settings, LLTD Mapper (LLTDIO) and Responder (RSPNDR), in Group Policy settings, which can be found here: Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Network\Link Layer Topology Discovery.

Sharing files by using a sharing wizard

The Share tab in File Explorer enables you to launch the File Sharing Wizard and provides the same functionality as the Share With shortcut menu. Next to this is Advanced Security, which enables you to fine-tune the sharing beyond the limitations of the File Sharing Wizard.

Files typically cannot be shared without first sharing the parent folder. In Windows 10, files that reside in the user profile, such as Documents, Downloads, and Pictures folders, can be shared. To do this, follow these steps.

  1. Log on to your computer, using an administrative user account.
  2. Open File Explorer and navigate to the user profile.
  3. Right-click the files, such as pictures, in the user's profile.
  4. Select Share With, Specific People.
  5. In the Choose People To Share With dialog box, select a user or group and click Add.
  6. Set Permission Level to Read or Read/Write and click Share.
    Note that you are sharing. The File Sharing Wizard completes, and the files are shared.
  7. Optionally, you can use the links in the File Sharing Wizard to send someone the links to the shares.
  8. Click Done.

When you configure basic sharing permissions, you have one of two simplified options.

  • Read: Users and groups can open but cannot modify or delete files.
  • Read/Write: Users and groups can open, modify, or delete a file and modify permissions.

After you create a share, all users see the share name over the network. Only users who have at least the Read permission can view its content.

Note: Administrators Can Share Files and Folders:
To share a file or folder across the network in Windows 10, you must be a member of the Administrators group or provide UAC credentials for an administrator.

Later in the tutorial, you see in more detail how to configure shared folders by using advanced security.

Share a printer

Windows 10 enables you to share an installed print device and manage it directly through the Print Management tool. In this section, you review how to share a printer and how to administer printers and print servers.

When you add a new printer, Plug and Play normally installs it automatically. Sometimes the terminology relating to printers can be confusing, so review the following list of terms to ensure that you are clear.

  • Printing device: The physical printer or device is connected locally or through the network.
  • Printer port: Modern printers connect by Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, whereas older devices connected by USB, serial, or parallel ports. Plug and Play should auto-configure the correct port settings for Windows 10 to communicate directly with the print device.
  • Print job: This is the computer representation of the document that needs to be printed.
  • Print job output: This is the printed document.
  • Printer: This is the Windows 10 representation of a physical printing device, such as the printer icon.
  • Printer driver: The printing device needs to be given instructions on how to render print jobs from Windows 10, such as size, color, and number of copies. The print device also communicates with Windows 10 with information such as print status, ink levels, and paper jams. These communications are enabled through the printer driver.
  • Page-description language (PDL): The driver uses the PDL to convert a print job to the print language used to print the document, such as PostScript, Printer Control Language (PCL), Portable Document Format (PDF), and XML Paper Specification (XPS).

Type 4 print class drivers

To protect the system from rogue drivers and to aid simplified sharing, Windows 10 uses the new Type 4 Print Class Driver for each printer device model; this was first introduced with Windows 8. Unlike the older Type 3 printer drivers, an administrator only needs to install a Type 4 printer driver rather than multiple drivers, such as 32-bit and 64-bit drivers, to support both types of client architecture. Type 4 drivers can support multiple printer models and often install faster than the older Type 3 drivers.

The security of Windows 10 is enhanced because Type 4 printer drivers can only be updated by using Windows Update or Windows Software Update Services (WSUS).

The printer GUI, produced by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and found in Windows 10, for example, in Control Panel or Device Stage, is typically installed independently rather than with the Type 4 driver; it's designed to provide information to the user and interacts with the printer device through the printer driver.

Adding and sharing a printer

In addition to sharing a printer, you can also modify the printer security to ensure that only authorized users can print to the device. Complete the following steps to add and share a local printer.

  1. Click the Start button and type printer.
  2. Click Devices And Printers.
  3. In Devices And Printers, click Add A Printer.
  4. On the Add A Device page, click The Printer That I Want Isn't Listed.
  5. On the Find A Printer By Other Options page, select Add A Local Printer Or Network Printer With Manual Settings and click Next.
  6. On the Choose A Printer Port page, verify that Use An Existing Port is selected and click Next.
  7. On the Install The Printer Driver page, in the Manufacturer list, select Microsoft. In the Printers list, select Microsoft PCL6 Class Driver and click Next.
  8. On the Type A Printer Name Page, in the Printer Name box, type Reception Printer and click Next.
  9. On the Printer Sharing page, click Next.
  10. Verify that the printer is set as the default printer and click Finish.

Setting printer security permissions

To modify the printer's security to allow only members of the Users group to print, complete the following steps.

  1. Click the Start button and type printer.
  2. Click Devices And Printers.
  3. In Devices And Printers, right-click Reception Printer, select Printer Properties, and then select the Security tab.
  4. In the Reception Printer Properties dialog box, verify that Everyone is selected and then click Remove.
  5. Click Add. In the Enter The Object Names To Select (Examples) box, enter Users and click OK.
  6. In the Permissions For Users section, add the Manage Documents Allow permission, verify that the Allow Print permission is selected, and click OK.

The default security settings for a shared printer allow the Everyone group to print, and members of the Administrators group can print, manage the printer, and manage documents.

Note: Restart Printer Spooler
Although members of the Everyone group can print to a printer, only administrators can cancel print jobs. Rather than cancel a print job, sometimes restarting the Print Spooler service can resolve a stalled printer.