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Monday, September 10, 2007

Accessing Windows XP Machines

Have you noted that when you try to access a Windows XP machine, in the Connect To window (Login screen) the User name field is disabled?
Earlier versions of Windows did not had this disabled so we were able to logon as any valid user by typing the account name and the password. But in Wondows XP this was disabled by a security policy.

This policy will also restrict the machine's ability of sharing files, per user sharing will not be possible.
Want to change it? Ok proceed by openning the Local Security Policy Settings window through Start -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Local Security Policy.
Now go to Network Access section and find out Net access : Sharing and security model for local accounts.
Then open the properties page of that by double clicking or right clicking and clicking on properties.

Did you note that the default is, Guest only - local users authenticate as Guest change this to Classic - local users authenticate as themselves.
Then press Ok to apply the setting and close all the opened windows.

Now from some other machine try to access your machine. See the difference. Now you can type any user name and the appropriate password and log in.

Also if you now go to folder properties you will see that the Sharing tab is having different content than earlier and also you will see a new tab named Security. You can use these tabs to set per user security and access rights.

For people who would like to know more, following is the explanation for the setting Net access : Sharing and security model for local accounts given by Microsoft.



Network access: Sharing and security model for local accounts
This security setting determines how network logons using local accounts are authenticated. If this setting is set to Classic, network logons that use local account credentials authenticate by using those credentials. If this setting is set to Guest only, network logons that use local accounts are automatically mapped to the Guest account.

The Classic model allows fine control over access to resources. By using the Classic model, you can grant different types of access to different users for the same resource. By using the Guest only model, you can have all users treated equally. All users authenticate as Guest, and they all receive the same level of access to a given resource, which can be either Read Only or Modify.

There are two models available:

  • Classic: Local users authenticate as themselves.
  • Guest only: Local users authenticate as Guest.

Default:Guest only on Windows XP Professional. Classic on the Windows Server 2003 family and Windows XP Professional computers joined to a domain.

Important:With the Guest only model, any user who can access your computer over the network (including anonymous Internet users) can access your shared resources. You must use the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) or other similar device to protect your computer from unauthorized access. Similarly, with the Classic model, local accounts must be password protected; otherwise, those user accounts can be used by anyone to access shared system resources.
This setting only affects computers running Windows XP Professional which are not joined to a domain.This policy will have no impact on computers running Windows 2000.

Notes:This setting does not affect interactive logons that are performed remotely by using such services as Telnet or Terminal Services.When the computer is not joined to a domain, this setting also modifies the Sharing and Security tabs in the Windows Explorer to correspond to the sharing and security model that is being used.

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