May 20, 2010

Access Windows XP files from Windows 7

I spent 4 hours today to figure out how to enable the file sharing of Windows XP.
The key difficulty is that there are too many possible reasons to make the file sharing stop working.
Microsoft should make it easier for such a common task.

Basically, all you need is to follow the instruction from

1. To enable the network Guest account on XP Home and Pro, click Start, click Run, type: net user guest /active:yes, and hit Enter.
2. Ensure there is no password for the Guest account: click Start, click Run, type: control userpasswords2, and hit Enter. Click once on Guest, click Reset Password, and then click OK without entering a new password.
3. Be aware that Windows XP, when installed on an NTFS disk partition and using simple file sharing, blocks network access to the Program Files and Windows directories as well as users folders within the Documents and Settings directory. This behavior is by design.
4. There are two registry keys to check on XP that have the potential to cause network headaches. The first is: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/System/CurrentControlSet/Control/Lsa
5. Ensure that restrictanonymous is set to 0. Ignore the restrictanonymoussam entry that looks similar and may also appear.
6. Older versions of Norton Anti-Virus set a value for IRPStacksize in the registry that is too low for XP. In fact, XP doesn't even need this registry key. If you have it in your registry, thank Symantec (NSDQ:SYMC) and then delete it. If you determine that the XP registry has this unneeded entry, check this registry location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Services/Lanmanserver/Parameters. You can read more about this issue from Symantec and Microsoft.

Basically, all you need is to follow the instruction from
But it is not enough. You also need to turn "simple file sharing" on.

To turn Simple File Sharing on or off in Windows XP Professional, follow these steps:

  1. Double-click My Computer on the desktop.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
  3. Click the View tab, and then select the Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended)check box to turn on Simple File Sharing. (Clear this check box to turn off this feature.)