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Managing Access to Resources

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This chapter is from the book

Terms you'll need to understand:

  • Shares
  • Share permissions
  • NTFS permissions
  • GPMC
  • RSoP
  • Gpupdate
  • Remote Desktop
  • Terminal Server

Techniques you'll need to master:

  • Determining effective permissions combining both share and NT File System (NTFS) permissions
  • Knowing how to back up, restore, import, and copy GPO settings using the GPMC
  • Understanding how to configure a server for Remote Access using the Remote Desktop for Administration and Terminal Server service

After user accounts have been created, available networked resources can be configured to allow or deny access for each user based on permissions assignment and group policy settings. Remote users can also access application resources through Microsoft's Terminal Services. This chapter provides a brief review of the use of NTFS and share permissions, and reviews the Windows Server 2003 implementations of group policy and terminal services access control.

Creating Shares and Granting Permissions

Access to remote resources within the Windows Server 2003 environment has many qualities in common with the Windows 2000 Server environment, with new features and functionality added to improve utility, as illustrated in Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 An example of the new Remote Desktops MMC snap-in that provides multi-console functionality similar to the earlier Terminal Services client of Windows 2000.

Creating Shares

Creating network folder shares remains similar to the implementation in Windows Server 2000, with all available shares listed within the Shares subfolder of the Shared Folders node presented in the Computer Management MMC snap-in, as shown in Figure 3.2.

Figure 3.2Figure 3.2 The Computer Management MMC snap-in showing file shares present on a Windows Server 2003 running Microsoft Exchange.

Creating a New Share Using the Computer Management MMC Snap-in

New file shares can be created within the Computer Management MMC snap-in by performing the following steps:

  1. Open the Computer Management MMC snap-in located within the Administrative Tools folder.

  2. Navigate to the Shared Folders node, highlighting the Shares subfolder if you want to view the existing shares.

  3. Right-click on the Shares folder and select New Share from the options provided. Click Next.

  4. Provide the local Folder Path that will be shared as the newly created share. By clicking the Browse button, you can create a new folder if the desired target does not yet exist. Click Next.

  5. Provide a share name and optional description, and configure the offline file settings for this share, which will be discussed later in this chapter. Click Next.

  6. Select the permissions to be granted by default to the share. The options available are as follows:

    • All users have read-only access.

    • Administrators have full access; other users have read-only access.

    • Administrators have full access; other users have read and write access.

    • User custom share and folder permissions—this allows selection of detailed allow and grant permissions.

  7. After clicking Next, you'll be notified of the success of the sharing action and provided the option to close the Share a Folder Wizard or to run the wizard again to share another folder.

Creating a New Share Using Windows Explorer

New file shares can also be created within the Windows Explorer interface by the following procedure:

  1. Open Windows Explorer by double-clicking on the My Computer icon, and then navigating to the desired target folder.

  2. Right-click on the target folder to be shared and select Sharing and Security from the drop-down list of options. This opens the Properties dialog box for the selected folder with its focus set to the Sharing tab.

  3. You'll be prompted to provide a share name, an optional description, and the number of users who can connect to the share at one time. By clicking the Permissions button, you can configure the Share Permissions for the newly created share, as shown in Figure 3.3.

  4. Figure 3.3Figure 3.3 The Sharing and Share Permissions dialog boxes for a newly created share named UserFiles.

  5. Click Apply to create the new share or click the Security tab, where you configure the NTFS permissions for the shared folder as shown in Figure 3.4.

  6. Figure 3.4Figure 3.4 The Security tab for a newly created share whose target is the UserFiles folder.

  7. Click the Advanced button to open the Advanced Security Settings dialog box for the folder, which is the standard dialog box used for advanced NTFS files and folder permissions, as shown in Figure 3.5. Here, you can select whether the parent container object will be propagated to the child object.

  8. Figure 3.5Figure 3.5 The Advanced Security Settings dialog box for the MyDocument.txt file.

  9. You can evaluate the effective permissions based on the overall inherited and directly applied permissions by selecting the Effective Permissions tab, as shown in Figure 3.6.

  10. Figure 3.6Figure 3.6 The Effective Permissions tab within the Advanced Security Settings dialog box.

  11. After all permissions have been configured, click the Apply button to apply the new settings. When fully configured, click OK to close the Permissions dialog box.

Creating a New Share Using the Command Line

New file shares can also be created within the command line using the net share command, which is one of the many available net services commands present within Windows Server 2003.


The syntax of the net share command is provided in the Microsoft help file:

net share [ShareName]
net share [ShareName=Drive:Path [{/users:Number | /unlimited}]
[/remark:ÓTextÓ] [/cache: {manual | automatic | no}]]
net share [ShareName [{/users:Number | unlimited}] 
[/remark:ÓTextÓ] [/cache: {manual | automatic | no}]] net share [{ShareName | Drive:Path} /delete]

To see a listing of all the parameters and their meanings, type the following at the command line:

net share /?

Table 3.1 lists a few of the more common commands you should be familiar with.

Table 3.1 Some Common net Services Commands in Windows Server 2003



net accounts

Used to modify password and logon settings for all accounts

net config

Displays or modifies the settings of available configurable services

net file

Displays a listing of shared files and can close open files

net help

Displays a listing of network commands

net send

Sends a message to other users or computers

net session

Displays a listing of current network sessions

net share

Used to display, create, and modify file shares

net start

Used to display a listing of running services or to start an individual service

net stop

Used to stop a running service

net use

Used to connect or disconnect from a shared resource


Shares created through the use of the net share command are created with the Everyone group having Read permissions.

Creating a New Share Using the Server Management Wizard and File Server Management MMC Snap-in

New file shares can also be created within the Server Management Wizard if the File Server role has been configured for the computer as well as the File Server Management MMC snap-in, which is also accessible from within the Server Management Wizard, as shown in Figure 3.7.

Figure 3.7Figure 3.7 The File Server Management MMC snap-in showing existing shares.

Creating file shares using the Server Management Wizard and File Server Management MMC snap-in invokes the same Share a Folder Wizard invoked from the Computer Management and Windows Explorer utilities.

Offline Settings for Shared Resources

Shares configured for offline storage are copied into a local cache so that users can continue utilizing, editing, and otherwise manipulating files even while disconnected from the network. This is an advantage to mobile users, whose files are copied to the offline cache when they're in the office and then later used while disconnected. The files are later synchronized with their original counterparts on the next connection to the network.

Configuring the offline settings for a particular share can be accomplished by clicking the Offline Settings button on the Sharing tab of the share's properties page, as was shown in Figure 3.3. The share can be configured so that files and programs from the share will not be available offline, so that only those specified by the user will be available offline, or so that all files and folders the user opens from the share will be cached for offline access. The last option can be used to select to optimize for performance, which caches program executables locally, improving shared application performance over slow networks.

This configuration can also be accomplished using the net share command-line utility with the /cache parameter in the following format:

net share  /cache: <manual/documents/programs/none>

Granting Permissions

The final permissions that are granted when accessing shared resources are determined based on the NTFS permissions assigned to a resource or inherited by an account through its group membership, in addition to the share permissions configured for a particular share.


It's possible to have different access rights over the same file or folder when accessed through separate shares. Although the NTFS permissions over the file (for example: C:\USER\New\myfile.txt) remain the same, the share permissions for one share (for example: UserFiles, mapped to C:\USER) can be very different from those granted through another (for example: NewFiles, mapped to C:\USER\New).

Assigning Share-Level Permissions

Share-level permissions are more limited than NTFS permissions because they define only the level of shared folder access that is granted or denied when accessing resources through the share. The available share permissions are as follows:

  • Full Control—Allows both Read and Change permissions, in addition to the ability to later change the Permissions on the share.

  • Change—Allows the ability to create, modify, and delete resources within the share.

  • Read—Allows the ability to view filenames and folder names within the share, as well as the ability to view and execute files located within the shared folder.


It is not possible to grant Change permission over a share without also granting the Read permission.

NTFS Permissions

Files and folders can be provided with detailed assignments of access rights and restrictions through the use of NT File System (NTFS) permissions, as was shown in Figure 3.4. These permissions can be assigned directly to a particular file or folder, or inherited from its parent container. The effective permissions combining both directly assigned and inherited permissions (with regard to a particular user or group) can also be viewed as shown earlier in Figure 3.6.


NTFS permissions are available only when a volume or partition has been formatted using NTFS. FAT32-formatted volumes have only folder (share-level) permission configuration.

When planning for file access control, it's important to include NTFS permission assignment and restrictions. Users accessing local files will only be restricted by the NTFS permissions, whereas users accessing shared resources will encounter a combination of both share and NTFS permissions. Table 3.2 details the basic NTFS permissions available.

Table 3.2 Basic NTFS Permissions



Full Control

Includes all other NTFS permissions configured, as well as the ability to take ownership of files or other containers within the target location.


Allows the creation, modification, and deletion of files and folders.

Read & Execute

Includes the rights of the Read permission in addition to the ability to traverse a folder and execute a file.


Allows the ability to read file and folder attributes, list folder contents, view files, and synchronize files access.


Includes the rights of the Read permission in addition to the ability to create new files and folders, modify existing files, and write file and folder attributes.

Special Permissions

This option is available only when advanced permission settings have been configured. Allows control over the application of Advanced permission settings.

The Advanced NTFS permissions available in Windows Server 2003 include the following:

  • Traverse Folder/Execute File

  • List Folder/Read Data

  • Read Attributes

  • Read Extended Attributes

  • Create Files/Write Data

  • Create Folders/Append Data

  • Write Attributes

  • Write Extended Attributes

  • Delete Subfolders and Files

  • Delete

  • Read Permissions

  • Change Permissions

  • Take Ownership

  • Synchronize

Calculating Final Permissions

To plan the final set of permissions that result from assigned and inherited permissions, the NTFS and share permissions should be calculated using the least restrictive set of permissions for each. Then the aggregate of the resulting NTFS and share permissions is determined by using the most restrictive combination of the aggregate NTFS and share permissions. In all cases, an assignment of a Deny setting overrides all assignments of Allow settings. The process is as follows:

  1. Determine the least restrictive combination of NTFS permissions over the resource based on direct assignment and inheritance. Any permission configured as Deny will be denied, even if set to Allow elsewhere.

  2. Determine the least restrictive combination of share permissions over the resource based on direct assignment and inheritance. Any permission configured as Deny will be denied, even if set to Allow elsewhere.

  3. Determine the most restrictive combination of the aggregate NTFS and share permissions from steps 1 and 2. Any permission configured as Deny through either aggregate will be denied. This is the final set of access permissions available through a particular share.

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