Enabling Accessibility of Administrative Shares in Microsoft Windows 7

In Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP, as soon as the operating systems were installed, all the drives were automatically administratively shared and the shares were kept hidden by adding a $ at the end of drive letters. This default configuration allows administrators to access resources of computers from remote locations. Administrative shares are still available and automatically configured in post-windows XP operating systems like Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, however in these operating systems the accessibility of administrative shares have been restricted as the default configuration. This means that even though the drives and secure locations on these operating systems are administratively shared, they cannot be accessed via remote computers as simply as it was the case in Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP operating systems. Microsoft did this in order to secure the operating systems from unauthorized and unwanted accesses via remote computers even if the secrecy of the passwords has been compromised.

When to Enable Accessibility of Administrative Shares in Microsoft Windows 7

In home environments or small network setups, users and administrators never use administrative shares and neither do they ever try to access the secure locations using UNC paths. The reason is that in homes or small networks the premises is not large enough to make the administrators and users manage computers remotely. Because of this, most home users and administrators in small organizations will know little about the default restriction in Microsoft Windows 7 and above operating systems that prevents them from accessing administrative shares from remote computers.

However things differ when an organization and its network setup falls in the category of medium or large scale. In such scenarios it becomes essential for the administrators to centrally manage entire networks in order to save time and make things happen faster. For this reason, many times administrators would access administrative shares of remote computers to copy, paste and/or access the objects. In order to complete the tasks successfully and without hurdles, administrators must modify the registry of the remote computers on which they want to allow accessibility of administrative shares.

Enabling Accessibility of Administrative Shares in Microsoft Windows 7

Warning: Modifying registry settings without sufficient knowledge may result permanent OS failure. Users should NOT continue if they are not sure about their expertise.

To enable accessibility of administrative shares in Microsoft Windows 7, the administrator of the operating system must follow the steps given as below:

  1. Log on to Windows 7 computer with administrator account.
  2. Click Start, and in the search box at the bottom of the menu type REGEDIT command and press Enter key.
  3. Click Yes button on the User Account Control confirmation box.
  4. On the opened Registry Editor window, from the left pane expand HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Policies.
  5. From the expanded Policies list, right-click System and from the displayed context menu go to New.
  6. From the submenu that appears, click DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  7. Rename the newly created DWORD to LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy.
  8. Once done, double-click the DWORD and change the value in Value Data field from 0 to 1 and click OK.

    Enable Accessibility of Administrative Shares

  9. Close Registry Editor and restart the computer to allow the changes to take effect.
Author: Vivek Nayyar

Works as Systems Admin in Siskin Technologies, India. Corporate trainer on Microsoft and Cisco platform. Specialized in Virtualization Technology. LAN Consultant for some local organizations.