Allow anonymous access to a Windows file share

I found an article writen by Nikola Radosavljević when I was trying to configure a Windows share to allow access from unknown users from other computers on the same network:

Creating network share with anonymous access

March 10, 2015

I needed to create a network share on Windows server machine which would require no authentication whatsoever from users. This post is intended to serve me as a reminder, since googling the solution every time eats easily away hours.

Settings which need to be changed of course depend on version of Windows of network share host. This post describes how to do it on a Windows 2012 R2.

Roughly what needs to be done is:

network share should be created

share permissions need to be set

security settings need to be changed

In more detail:

Share a folder by opening folder properties, navigating to Sharing tab and clicking

Advanced Sharing…

Enable sharing and click Permissions

Add Everyone (should already be there), Guest and ANONYMOUS LOGON and give them Read access

Open Group Policy Editor (hit Ctrl+R, type gpedit.msc and hit enter)

Navigate to Computer Configuration → Windows Settings → Security Settings → Local Policies → Security Options

Change following:

Accounts: Guest account status – change to Enabled

Network access: Let Everyone permissions apply to anonymous users – change to Enabled

Network access: Restrict anonymous access to Named Pipes and Shares – change to Disabled

Network access: Shares that can be accessed anonymously – enter name of share you created in the text field


Then after this I still had no access. After further investigation I made the following 2 additional changes:

1 I removed “guest” account from “Deny access to this computer from the network”

2 I removed a cached password on the client computer in “control userpasswords2”

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