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Disclaimer: I am a developer not a sysadmin

I have just installed Windows Server Essentials 2016 on a small office network and noticed that it has automatically created shares called CertEnrol, Shared Folders, Users and a few others.

It has also created a folder on each volume called ServerFolders.

What are these and am I safe to remove them? I haven't seen them before on other servers.

I don't really want the users to get confused by them and if they are important then I don't want to encourage them to poke around in there.

7

These folders are specific to Windows Server Essentials edition.

Unless you have very good reason to mess with these folders (and are willing to put up with the complaints of the Server Essentials Dashboard), you should leave these folders alone. If you must do anything, disable the share on the specific folder you don't intend to use, but do not delete the underlying folders. Should you later need the folder, it's much easier to re-share a folder than recreate it from scratch given the specific NTFS security permissions they invariably require.

As for the CertEnroll folder, leave that alone, else you'll break your Certificate Services.

Disabling the shares assigned to the folder will prevent users from accessing them over the network. Anyone logging directly into the server can easily ignore the folders, as should be done with most all default folders provided in a clean OS installation.


Here's a description of the various folders you inquired about:

CertEnroll

As @Katherine Villyard has correctly indicated, this folder is used by Active Directory Certificate Services for certificate enrollment.

Specifically, the TechNet article Changes implemented by Essentials Role on Windows Server 2012 R2 indicates this folder is configured in the IIS default website:

Web sites that are added and configured to the Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager console

  1. Default Web Site

    • Bin
    • CertEnroll
    • CertSrv
    • Connect
    • Customization
    • home
    • Remote
    • Resources
    • services

Users

According to the TechNet article Manage User Accounts in Windows Server Essentials:

By default, the following server folders are created when you install Windows Server Essentials:

  • Users. Used to store and access files by network users. A user-specific folder is automatically generated in the Users server folder for every network user account that you create.

Shared Folders

According to TechNet article Use Shared Folders in Windows Server Essentials:

Windows Server Essentials provides a central location for all of your data and files through the shared folders that are located on your server.

There are several different ways that you can access your shared folders on Windows Server Essentials from a device that is connected to the server:

  • Using the Windows Server Essentials Launchpad
  • Using Remote Web Access
  • Using My Server app for Windows Phone
  • Using My Server app for Windows 8

ServerFolders

The \ServerFolders folder stores a variety of data:

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Shared Folders, Users, and ServerFolders are probably Essentials Things [TM] and it's probably safe to remove the shares. SBS 2008 created similar folders with the idea that you would put your user shares there.

CertEnrol I would leave alone. It's being used by the Certificate Enrollment API. Essentials is using this "to issue certificates to users, computers and services, and to manage their validity."

[Edit: What Twisty said.]

  • 2
    Woah, if the Users folders work the same was it did in SBS, deleting this folder will render the wizard-based user creation tool inoperable (i.e. folder redirection, if configured, won't work). – Twisty Impersonator Apr 6 '17 at 23:08
  • I stand corrected. – Katherine Villyard Apr 7 '17 at 19:49
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If windows create those folders are because there are needed somehow, but It's quite of weird that uses a certenrol, maybe you install the server with Active directory Certificate Services role on it.

IF you don't want to get the people confused with the Folders, use a GPO and use the shares as Network drives, so they should never have to use the \server\share format Here's how to do it https://www.howtogeek.com/99403/it-how-to-map-network-drives-on-windows-clients-via-group-policy/

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