'Windows cannot access \\computer\share\' is the error message you mostly likely get when you try to access a shared folder on a Windows 8 machine—that is, a computer that is not a domain member. The cause is usually that the sharing options for the different network profiles are incorrect. When I played a little with the network location types, I found some confusing behavior of Windows 8. I will give an overview of all folder sharing features in Windows 8 in three posts.

Michael Pietroforte

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in IT management and system administration.

Windows cannot access shared folder

Windows cannot access shared folder

As users become more and more mobile, you often have to manage devices that are not members of your Active Directory domain. The remote management of standalone PCs can sometimes be tricky because various security barriers prevent remote access to Windows 8. In this little series about managing workgroup computers, I will cover the most frequent stumbling blocks: sharing files, accessing the Registry remotely, and enabling Remote Desktop. Note that things are similar in Windows 7 and Windows Vista; however, the screenshots are from Windows 8.

Private (Home, Work) and Public (Guest) network ^

If you need access to some files on a remote computer, you only have to enable file sharing. This isn’t as easy as it should be. Whenever you connect to a new network, Windows will ask you this question:

Do you want to turn on sharing between PCs and connect to devices on this network?

If you click “Yes, turn on sharing and connect to devices” Windows will apply the file sharing settings for the Private network location type. If you reply with “No, don’t turn on sharing or connect to devices,” the configuration of your Public network settings will be used.

Do you want to turn on sharing between PCs and connect to devices on this network

Do you want to turn on sharing between PCs and connect to devices on this network

Notice that Windows will store the settings for this network. If you want Windows to forget this configuration, right-click the symbol for this network and select “Forget this network.” If sharing is enabled, Windows will automatically open the corresponding Firewall ports.

Forget this network

Forget this network

You can check the settings for Private and Public networks in the Network and Sharing Center. The fastest way to access the Network and Sharing Center is to right-click the network symbol in the systray. To access the sharing settings, click “Change advanced sharing settings in the left sidebar. Behind the active network profile (Public or Private), you will see “(current profile)”.

Change sharing options for different network profiles

Change sharing options for different network profiles

In Windows 7, three location types exist: Home, Work, and Public. In Windows 8, Home and Work were united in a label called Private.

If you play a little with these settings, you will notice that Windows 8 will “lie” to you sometimes when you establish a networking connection. The “Yes, turn on sharing and connect to devices” is only true if “Turn on file and printer sharing” is enabled in the Private network settings and “No, don’t turn on sharing or connect to devices” is only correct if “Turn off file and printer sharing” is enabled in the Guest or Public network settings.

You can switch between the Public and Private settings by right-clicking the symbol of the access point and then selecting “Turn sharing on and off”. Again, this message is incorrect. Correct would be “Switch between Public and Private network location type settings.” Changing the sharing settings works with WiFi and cable connections. For some reason (a bug?), changing the location type only works if the computer is connected to an identified network.

Turn sharing on or off

Turn sharing on or off

Private and Public profiles for unidentified networks ^

Sometimes Windows is unable to identify the network switch or router. You will face this problem especially if you play with network location types in a virtual environment (for instance, VirtualBox).

By default, if your computer is connected to an unidentified network, the location type is set to Public. This behavior can be changed through a Local Security Policy. In the Control Panel, type “Admin…” and then click “Administrative Tools.” Open the Local Security Policy editor and navigate to “Network List Manager Policies.” There, you can set the location type for unidentified networks.

Unidentified Networks Policy

Unidentified Networks Policy

You can also configure if users are allowed to change the network type or not. This didn’t work in my test, however.

In the next post of this series I will discus Public Folder sharing, network discovery, and password-protected sharing.

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13 Comments
  1. mechan 4 years ago

    Incredible W8! It occurred to me, drop and re-network. You are the best and thank you very much. 🙂

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  2. test 1 year ago

    Not working

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  3. Roberto Mendez 1 year ago

    HI:

    I have a problem with Share folder from Windows server 2012 to PC with windows 7. When i try to login ask me for user and password constantly and never let me in.

    What can i do?

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    • Author

      Roberto, a myriad of reasons exist for this problem. You have to describe your environment a little. Are both machines in an Active Directory domain? Did the user login in the domain? Did you configure the access rights correctly on the share?

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  4. Roberto Mendez 1 year ago

    Thanks for the answer , we could solve our problem . When it became shared , we choose the option to encrypt the data and so users could not open windows 7 these folders

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  5. Chetan 1 year ago

    Windows 10 in WORK GROUP, trying to access shared folder in network, need to give password to connect network drive everyday or password is not accepting

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  6. Bonga 1 year ago

    User on our ad can access shared folders on server 2008 but they can't access the shared folder on server 2012 and settings are the same,  am in a government environment

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  7. shahnwaj 1 year ago

    Sir i have problem with windows server 2008 R2 i cant access share folder it was working but suddenly stop... and giving me msg

    \\server is not accessible . you might not have permission to use thi network resource. contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permission .

    login failure : ther user has not been granted the request logon type at this computer

    i can ping this server can take on remote but cant access share folder

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    • Author

      Did you check the permissions on the folder? Can you log on with the user on this computer?

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  8. LadyGreenEyes 1 month ago

    Alright, all good data, but doesn't address my issue.  Here's the problem - sharing files between Windows 7 and 10.  Most systems are on 7, and all can share easily.  The single Windows 10 system can see files from the others, as well.  However, they cannot access files from the Windows 10 system.  I can SEE the file folders, but cannot open any of them.  Permissions are set to "read/write" for all of the folders - pictures, documents, music - and all sharing access is turned on, as it should be.  The group name is "HOMEGROUP" for all systems.  When accessing "Network" from a Win7 system, I can see the 10 system, and see the actual folders for all of these.  It's accessing those that won't work; I get a message that I don't have permission.  Have rechecked everything, and nothing seems to work.  Any ideas?

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    • Author
      Michael Pietroforte 1 month ago

      Are you using the same user account on the Windows 10 system as on the Windows 7 systems?

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  9. Gyani 2 weeks ago

    Hi,

    I cannot access the Win 7 Share folder from my Win 10 PC. Also an exception is there that Win Xp share folder can be accessed by the same PC.

     

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    • Paolo Maffezzoli 2 weeks ago

      @Gyani: From Win 10 to Win 7 , Do you get an error message or only a connection refused?

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