Using windows, I would like to be able to browse computers and their shares on the network, without publishing any shares, administrative shares, and not even having my computer listed in the "Network" folder on other computers.

When using windows, if I go to the "Network" folder, I get this yellow bar: Network discovery and file sharing are turned off. Network computers and devices are not visible. Click to change...

If I click and select "Turn on network discovery and file sharing", then my computer appears on other people's view of the network, and they can browse my files.

Turn on network discovery and file sharing

Basically, if I want to see your files, I must show you mine.

Let's take an example: At work, I visit a client, and need to access some data on a windows share on his network. How can I do that without displaying the confidential information stored on my laptop?

I know how to disable sharing of my home folder, but there are other shares that can't be disabled, they are apparently called "administrative shares", and may be vulnerable to attacks by humans or viruses on the netwok.

Typing net share in a console

Also, access to these administrative shares and to my home folder are protected by my password on that computer, but that can be brute-forced I guess. Also, some people don't have a secure password — or even don't have a password at all.

When using linux to access shares on the windows network, the linux box doesn't publish anything on the network unless you explicitely ask for it (by installing a samba server etc).

How can I get the same functionnality in Windows?

closed as off-topic by Greg Askew, cjc, joeqwerty, Ward, Falcon Momot Feb 18 '14 at 10:11

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

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If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a rant masquerading as a question. – joeqwerty Feb 16 '14 at 16:59
  • @joeqwerty No, it is an actual question (with a bit of a rant in the way it is presented). I really do want to know how I can view shares on the network I'm connected to without risking exposing my data, if that's possible. I currently have disabled file sharing altogether, but it's not a satisfactory solution. – Georges Dupéron Feb 16 '14 at 17:09
  • @joeqwerty I removed the sarcastic line and picture, to make the question look more objective. – Georges Dupéron Feb 16 '14 at 17:13
  • The guy's doing work for clients. I see this a professional question, regardless of him still having a few things to learn about Windows. Voting to re-open. – mfinni Feb 18 '14 at 14:00

Why don't you just browse to \\server\sharename ? You don't have to enable "Network discovery" on your own workstation for that.

Or, you could enable it, and configure the Windows Firewall properly - it even has different location profiles.

Regardless, you should be using strong passwords and NTFS permissions on your own account(s) and data. Regarding brute-forcing, that's why there are best practices like account lockout, and changing the default administrator name.

It sounds like you might be more of an expert on Linux than Windows? There's a lot to learn about Windows, as you will find. It looks like you're reading more into something than is actually the case.

  • I do have a strong password on my account, but that measure isn't effective for other people's laptop -- we all know that when you ask them to put a strong password, they end up putting their dog's name :), and I think they shouldn't have to use a strong password to prevent access to a service that shouldn't be offered in the first place. Setting up the firewall is a great idea, though, that way their computers can be configured once and for all. Also, I do know more about linux than windows, but I am aware that there is plenty to know about the latter, so please don't be dismissive :) . – Georges Dupéron Feb 18 '14 at 13:30
  • What does other people's laptops have to do with your question about being a consultant, needing access to your customers' file shares? – mfinni Feb 18 '14 at 13:40
  • There are other consultants in my company (and I occasionally do some sysadmin tasks, although that's not my primary job), sorry if that wasn't clear. – Georges Dupéron Feb 18 '14 at 14:02
  • So are you asking on behalf of them? Educate them. Don't send out consultants that don't know the technology. – mfinni Feb 18 '14 at 14:48

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