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I have a directory shared on my computer, which is part of the domain. Is it possible to set up the share so that a user logged on to a different machine which is not part of the domain can access my share? From the machine not on the domain, I can browse to the share, but it asks for credentials, and I just want to allow anonymous access.

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Is the guest account activated on the machine? – ThorstenS Aug 7 '09 at 20:34
I hope that it isn't? – RateControl Aug 7 '09 at 20:50
up vote 21 down vote accepted

To do what you want you'll have to enable the "Guest" account on the computer hosting the files and then grant the "Everyone" group whatever access you want.

"Guest" is a user account, but its enabled / disabled status is interpreted by the operating system as a boolean "Allow unauthenticated users to connect?" Permissions still control the access to files, but you open things up a LOT by enabling Guest.

Don't do this on a domain controller computer, BTW, because you'll be Guest on all DCs...

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We ended up using an XP machine off the domain, with guest enabled. – Jeremy Oct 21 '09 at 22:38

Enabling the Guest account is not recommended. Baz and djangofan are correct; you have to give the anonymous user permission to the share and the folder. (Security permissions in the sharing and folder tab, assuming you don't have a Home version of Windows.)

An interesting gotcha: Giving 'Everyone' access doesn't work, even though you'd think it would. In the permissions dialog in the sharing tab, you specifically have to include the anonymous user. On Windows 7, that's the local ANONYMOUS LOGON user.

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I have allowed "Anonymouse logon" in sharing permissions and in security, but still remote user gets "username/password" dialog? – watbywbarif Oct 27 '15 at 9:20

In the security tab and share tab give anonymous the desired read/write access. Then anyone should be able to access the share.

On a side note that was nice and easy to post a comment for the first time. No complicated reg. process. cheers to the authors of this website.

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In my case, enabling the guest account and adding Everyone did not help (with a share on an older box with Windows Server 2008 SP2 in a domain and a Windows Server 2012 R2 machine from outside of the domain).

After following the excellent guide posted by Nikola Radosavljevic, anonymous access finally worked in my scenario.

Summary of steps:

  • Adding Everyone, Guest and ANONYMOUS LOGON to the permissions of the share.
  • Open the Group Policy Editor (e.g. by running gpedit.msc)
    • Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options
    • Accounts: Guest account status: Enabled
    • Network access: Let Everyone permissions apply to anonymous users: Enabled
    • Network access: Restrict anonymous access to Named Pipes and Shares: Disabled
    • Network access: Shares that can be accessed anonymously: YOUR_SHARE_NAME
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This is sad, It is still not working for me after 5 recepies and 10 holes opened. I will close all holes and use dropbox to share folder on local network. Thx windows 7 sharing! – watbywbarif Oct 27 '15 at 11:21

Do you really want to give unauthenticated access to files? If it's a small group of users, you could create local accounts for them on the machine, create a group, and give that group access to only that one folder. If it's a web server in a DMZ, maybe setting up a web front end would be better so you can better security than "Everyone has access to do whatever to these files".

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I solved this by mapping a network drive to the domain share then connect with different credentials using a local account. Didn't have to enable the guest account or allow anonymous access.

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I would try to toggle the "simple file sharing" setting in the Windows Explorer settings and see how that changes things. Then , on top of that, edit the permissions for your share to allow non-domain, non-authenticated users.

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How do I edit permissions to allow non-domain, non-authenticated users? I haven't seen these options in the folder permissions dialog before. Also, this is on a windows 2003 server, Is there a simple file sharing option? – Jeremy Aug 7 '09 at 21:59
Ok, on that folder that you are sharing you need to add a group called "EVERYONE" to the share and file permissions. Grant them the permissions that you require (going to guess read/write/modify). – djangofan Aug 10 '09 at 14:31

I had this problem with Windows Server 2012. After a lot of searching i found this page: No-password file share still requires login

For the lazy. - Computer Configuration - Windows Settings - Security Settings - Local Policies - Security Options. Change “Network access: Let Everyone permissions apply to anonymous users” to Enabled.

that fixed it for me when nothing else was working.

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Duplicates another answer. – Deer Hunter Nov 3 '15 at 1:41
@DeerHunter Which one? – kasperd Nov 3 '15 at 9:55

Boiled it down to this:

On the file server Give anonymouse Share and NTFS rights as needed (Read in my case)

Create GPO and apply to file server Computer - Windows - Security - Local - Security

Accounts:Guest account status - Enabled

Accounts: Rename administrator account - SomeNameOfYourChoise

Accounts: Rename Guest account - SomeNameOfYourChoise

Network access: Shares that can be accessed anonymously: YourShareName

Network access: Sharing and security model for local account from “Classic-local users authenticate as themselves” to “Guest only-local users authenticate as Guest”.

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