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Windows 7 Can’t Access Windows Server Shares

OK, I said I was chuffed with Windows 7 – but there was one problem that caused me some agro – accessing my other computers’ shared drives on the network.

I was somewhat disappointed when I realised that it insisted on joining this “HomeGroup” – of course I had purchased the upgrade to Home Premium whereas I normally get the Professional or Server versions.

My first solution was (Oh, the shame, Microsoft) to use the Ubuntu Linux distro (dual boot laptop…).  This worked no problem (except that my ancient Windows 2000 server sometimes falls out with SMB, but that’s a problem for another day).

Serious Problem, Shutdown NTFS Properly!

So, I used Linux to copy a load of stuff from my server to the DATA partition – and hit a much more serious problem.  You see, I shut the lid (forcing Windows to Hibernate) then, on starting up again, booted into Linux – I wanted to copy the stuff over quickly while in the middle of something else.

For those in the know, you won’t be surprised to find that it all went wrong.  When the copy (which took ages) was finished, I rebooted into Windows again (Resuming Windows…) and the files were missing.

First time, I assumed I had copied them to the wrong place.  Second time, I started to smell a rat (there weren’t any, it’s just a figure of speech) and eventually it dawned on me – NTFS won’t let you do that.  I believe the indexes are loaded into memory or some such and so if you don’t close down the OS that has loaded it, your changes will be overwritten.

I retrieved the more worrying mistakes by booting from the Windows 7 boot disk to a command prompt and using CHKDSK to fix the NTFS partitions.

After that little hiccough it all worked properly and I did all my copying that way.

HomeGroup Configuration

Anyway, this was fine until I needed to have the Windows machines talk to each other again.  I fiddled around a bit and finally found a solution.  It involved opening up the HomeGroup settings to allow it to view and share network drives on other Windows machines (i.e. using SMB).

To do this, open Windows Explorer (Windows Key+E or right click on the Start button and select Open Windows Explorer).  Then right click on HomeGroup and select “Change HomeGroup Settings”.

NOTE: Previously, I set my PC to belong to a HomeGroup – you may need to do this first.

Near the bottom, click “Change advanced sharing settings…”  – I have the following settings – I probably should also “Turn on password protected sharing”.

Windows 7 HomeGroup configuration for accessing older Windows shares

This worked – I was able to view and write to the shares both ways – this PC to other PCs, and other PCs to this PC – and my PCs include Windows 2000 Server, Windows XP, Windows Vista.

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