Configuring a Win2003 share to be available to all XP users on networked machines

15 pts.
Microsoft Windows Server 2003
Microsoft Windows XP
Been a long while since I've worked with Windows, and the networking metaphor is killing me (Unix here...). I have in a server room a Win 2003 server with a large RAID. There are 4 XP machines in 2 offices, all on the same LAN/subnet (2003 server is DHCP server for the XP machines). The network is closed, there are only these 5 machines connected, no connection to the outside world (yet), so security is not an issue (firewalls and such are currently disabled). I would like to share one folder on the RAID to all XP machines, ideally in such a way so that when a user logs on the XP machine (we have several users on the XP machines, currently sharing one account in each office), the 2003 Raid shared folder appears (read only) to the XP user in the Windows Explorer (file browser) window (I'm guessing it should show up under Workgroup computers). No additional server login/password necessary. I've tried enabling the Guest account on 2003 server, it allows us to see the share, but not access/read data. The only way to access data is to log onto the 2003 server with user/password, but I would prefer that the shared folder is made available automatically (read only) to all users as a reference. Is this possible, and if so how do I set it up? I hope I've included enough information. The Active Directory system (where I've been looking) is huge, unclear (to me, coming from a Unix mindset) and just weird ;-). Systems: Windows Storage Server 2003 SP 1 Windows XP Pro SP 2 (4 units)

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*** Improved by Wrobinson on 03/16/2008 ***

Your Windows network is operating in a workgroup model. The information provided by MrDenny below, as it applies to this model is correct. The reason that I am updating this answer is because Window Storage Server cannot be a domain controller. You need Windows Server Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter to install Active Directory. The latter is only available from OEMs.

Since you only have one Windows server and four client workstations at the moment, using the workgroup model is still practical but it does not scale well past 10-20 computers in which case a domain model is recommended for centralized access and administration.

*** End update ***

Active Directory provides for global authentication across all the machines. Active Directory (AD) is a very large system but would allow you to do what you are trying to do.

As all the users use a single username to sign on to all the machines AD isn’t really needed. If you wanted to use seperate logins for each user then AD would be handy as you won’t have to create seperate accounts for each user on each machine.

What you should need to do with the server is create a Windows Account on the Windows 2003 server with the same username and password as the XP machines use to sign on. This will give the users access to connect to the Windows 2003 server. Share the folder on the server that you wish the users to have access to, and grant the local account rights to the network share. When the users try to access the server it will pass the credentials from the XP machine to the server to grant the users rights to the server.

If the passwords on the workstations are changed then the password on the server account will need to changed as well.

I’d recommend that you setup AD on the server, and join the XP machines to the domain, and create user accounts for each of the users within Active Directory, then grant the domain user accounts read access to the network share.

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  • Smsd
    Thanks for the tips MrDenny and Wrobinson. A little more specific info - the server is a Dell 2950 with a MD1000 RAID attached running Storage Server 2003 64bit. The PC's are pretty regular, running XP SP2. I used the Workgroup model as it seemed the easiest for a small network. We don't anticipate growing by more than 4 more PC's, although we generate a lot of data (digitizing of archived analogue recordings). What we're trying to achieve is to allow any user at one of the PC's to browse to the RAID folder that is shared in order to perform QC, listen to files, check naming used, etc. I.e. read-only access. If a different model is more appropriate, I have no qualms about changing it. As things are, engineers log onto the Studio recording machines (no password) and perform their work, capturing to the local drive. Sometimes it's necessary for them to reference files that have been moved to the RAID, again the reason for trying to share it to all machines automatically as read only. After reading several articles dealing with this on the net, I tried setting up user accounts on the server with the same name and password as each studio machine. However, there were several snags to that. 1. it seems Active Directory is the only way to do this, there is no other option to add users/groups on the server. Active Directory is quite a beast ;-). 2. Regardless of the user name/password combination (I tried many, both complex and simple), none were accepted by Windows Server. I always got back a message about the password not meeting the criteria set out. I tried changing the criteria (as per the online help system), but that didn't seem to help, I still got the same error message each time I tried to add a user. Before I get too deep in changing stuff I don't know about, I thought to try here. I also tried enabling the Guest user account, but that didn't help either. The share did show up on the other machines, but when one clicks on it a warning pops up and Access is Denied due to security settings/password. On the server the Guest is set up to allow read only access to the shared folder... My initial setup (simple workgroup, one folder shared from the server) would show the server machine in the workgroup and allow access to the shared folder only after entering a login and password. That's what I was trying to change, removing the login requirements so that the share shows up automatically on all machines. Now I cannot even get things to work the way it was previously (access with correct login/password). Since I can't seem to add any users to the server either, I'm stuck. Anyone?
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