How to Enable SMB on Windows 10

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Server Message Block (SMB) is a network file sharing protocol included in Windows 10 that allows you to read and write files and perform other service requests on network devices. Typically, you use SMB to connect to non-Windows devices such as a router with file sharing capabilities, a NAS (Network Attached Storage), or other computers running Linux.

You can use SMB on virtually all popular desktop operating systems, including Windows 10, MacOS, and Linux. SMB is not enabled by default on Windows 10. To communicate with an SMB server, you must first enable it on Windows 10. This is not difficult to enable, but it is not immediately obvious which switches you need to turn on. Here’s what you need to do.

Microsoft’s implementation of the SMB protocol comes with the following additions:

  • Dialect Negotiation
  • Discover other Microsoft SMB protocol servers on the network or browse the network
  • Printing on a network
  • Authentication of files, directories and shares
  • Locking files and records
  • Notification of file and directory changes
  • Extended file attribute management
  • Unicode support
  • Opportunistic castles

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Enable SMB v1 on Windows 10 using the GUI

  • Go to the “Optional Features” window of Windows
  • Press the Windows + R key to call and enter the run dialog :
  • Install SMB 1 support
  • In the “Turn Windows Features On or Off” window, expand “SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support” and then select the check box next to “SMB 1.0/CIFS Client”.
  • Click OK

The installation will now continue and you should be able to access the shares again via the SMB 1 protocol.

If you prefer to perform a command line installation, use the following command from a raised Powershell prompt:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -Online -FeatureName “SMB1Protocol Client” -All

How to Find Out if SMBv2 is Enabled on your PC

If you can no longer access network files, your device probably still uses the SMB Version 1 protocol, which is no longer supported by Windows 10. Here is a workaround to restore access to your files.

SMB Version 2 should be enabled by default when you install Windows 10, but you can verify this by following these steps:

  • Open Start.
  • Locate PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select Run as Administrator.
  • Type the following command to verify that SMBv2 is enabled, then press Enter
Get-SmbServerConfiguration | Select EnableSMB2Protocol
  • If the output returns True, then SMBv2 is enabled. If the output is False, activate it with this command and press Enter :
Set-SmbServerConfiguration –EnableSMB2Protocol $true

If you are not familiar with the SMB, activating it is actually only the first step in setting it up. You’ll probably have some work to do. If, at some point, you are asked to specify a port for your Windows 10 system, try 445 or 139.

Setting up an SMB is a bit difficult, but it’s worth the time you’ll spend on it. If you need to use different operating systems, such as a Mac and a Windows 10 PC, you’ll find that network sharing is the easiest way to move files between the two. It’s actually easier than using a USB, because the two operating systems don’t use the same file system. You can try a USB on exFAT, but then you will need to keep a dedicated hard drive just for file transfer. Another great advantage of using SMB is the degree of control you have, so you can restrict access to some files but allow others to access them.

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