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By default, Windows creates hidden shared folders. These folders are identified by a dollar sign ($) at the end of the share name and are therefore hidden. Hidden shares are those that are not listed when you view network shares on a computer in the network node of File Explorer or when you use the net view command. Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and even Vista and XP create hidden administrative shares that administrators, programs, and services can use to manage the computing environment on the network. In this article, I will show you two ways to disable these actions.
Disabling Administrative Shares from Windows Server
If you don’t know, these special shared resources are not visible in the file explorer or in the “This PC” section. To view them, you must use the “Shared Folders” tool. You can easily find this tool in the “Computer Management” section. Next, to delete special shared resources and prevent them from being created automatically.
Delete Administrative Shares by modifying the Registry
To remove administrative shares and prevent their automatic creation in Windows, follow these steps
- Click Start, then click Run.
- In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
- Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
- The AutoShareServer registry subkey must be defined as type REG_DWORD. If this value is set to 0 (zero), Windows does not automatically create administrative shares. Note that this does not apply to the IPC$ share(s) that you create manually.
- From the Edit menu, choose
- Modify. In the Value data box, type 0, then click OK.
- Output Registry Editor.
- Stop and start the Server service. To do so, follow these steps
- Click Start, and then click Run.
- In the Open box, type cmd, and then click OK.
- At the command prompt, type the following lines. Press Enter after each line:
- net stop server
- Network boot server
- Type exit to close the command prompt window.
Unfortunately, this registry hack does NOT stop the IPC$ share, and it is a share often used by hackers to count systems before an attack, as it can provide a lot of information about your system names, usernames, and more. If your ACL permissions are incorrect, or if you have not disabled anonymous user access, or if you have not disabled the guest account, this port can lead to a total system compromise in minutes!
Disable Administrative Shares on Windows 10 and 8.1
All network shares, including the administrative shares of a computer, can be viewed under Computer Management at the following location Although the screenshot is taken from Windows 10, it is also applicable to earlier versions such as Windows 8.1 and 1.
- Right-click on “This PC”. (My computer in previous versions), then select “Manage”.
- Under “Shared Folders” and “Shares”, you can see the shared folders and drives on your computer. The shares that end with the $ sign are the administrative shares we are talking about here.
- To disable this default administrative share, simply right-click on the partition and select Stop Sharing.
- Once you confirm this, the administrative shares will disappear from the “shared folders” on Windows 10, 8.1 and Win 7 computers. We have now successfully disabled administrative shares on Windows 10 computers.
When multiple computers are connected to a network, Windows automatically creates management shares to allow remote access to various operations. This allows administrators and support technicians to effectively manage services. In some cases, these actions can pose a potential threat to the security of your system. Therefore, it is best to remove management shares from Windows Server. Learn how to get rid of them here.
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CCNA, Web Developer, PC Troubleshooter
I am a computer enthusiast and a practicing IT Professional. I have years of experience behind me in computer programming, hardware troubleshooting and repair. I specialise in Web Development and Database Design. I also have a CCNA certification for Network Design and Troubleshooting.