F What Happened to the Windows XP Sharing Models

Windows veterans know that, in a workgroup environment, Windows XP has two sharing models, dubbed Simple File Sharing and classic sharing.

Simple File Sharing is the default sharing model on all editions of Windows XP, except on computers that are joined to a domain. In fact, with Windows XP Home Edition, Simple File Sharing is the only way to share files over a network. As it turns out, Simple File Sharing is a little too simple, as it is notoriously inflexible and not very secure. With Simple File Sharing, you can share only folders, not files . When you do, they're available to all network users; you can't specify different access permissions for different users . And your choice of permissions for a shared folder is limited: full control or read only.

On the other hand, classic sharing (which is largely unchanged from the sharing model used in Microsoft Windows NT and Microsoft Windows 2000) can be quite complex. Although classic sharing has tremendous flexibility, it also causes lots of confusion. This confusion often leads to configuration errors that end up with files being inaccessible to legitimate users or wide open to anybody who stumbles onto your computer. Further complicating matters is the poorly understood relationship between share permissions (which control network access to shared objects) and discretionary access control lists (DACLs) or NTFS permissions (which control all access to a secured object, from network and local users alike).

The same technologies that underlie Simple File Sharing and classic file sharing in Windows XP—namely, DACLs, share permissions, and user rights—power sharing in Windows 7. Yet the implementation—primarily through HomeGroup, the Sharing wizard, and Network And Sharing Center—is radically different.

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