Fix-it: Win10 1903 Update Breaks File Sharing

Short Version

Once the 1903 update hit the Win10 computers my wife uses, the normal file-sharing setup quit working. This has to do with tightening security. If you have a significant number of computers on your network and you share files from a Win10 computer, research the term “master browser” — it involves turning on a service in one machine on the network to keep track of the shares on other PCs. In my case, where it’s just a few systems on the same LAN with light file sharing, it’s not worth the trouble.

The quick answer is that you first have to specifically enable file-sharing on some designated folder on the machine hosting the shared files. For me, the logical choice was the “Public” user’s Public folders. Right-click and select “Properties” and go through the steps of designating it as open to “Everyone” with full read and write permissions. Look through all the tabs on the properties window that opens up to make sure it’s set up that way. This is where you will place all the files you intend to share. I recommend you get used to handling file-sharing that way.

Clicking the option to share without a password won’t do much now. That requires a registry edit that makes the machine less secure. I’m a little on the paranoid side, so I made sure that each guest machine has an account on the hosting machine just for network login purposes. My wife uses a laptop to connect to her desktop; they both have the same Microsoft login, so there’s nothing special to do for that. For Windows machines with a different identity, and for Linux machines, you’ll need to create an unprivileged user account. It requires picking through a series of less-than-obvious options. See this page for instructions on that.

On both Windows and Linux “guest” machines, in the file browser where you click on the Network link, you will likely no longer see all the Win10 machines on your LAN. But if you walk through the process of identifying the actual network hostname of the computer hosting the shared files, you can then type it in manually in the URL (locator) window near the top and it should come up right away.

For Windows machines, the format is: \\HOSTNAME\Users\Public\

For Linux machines: smb://hostname/users/public/

Once those Public folders appear in the file browser window, you should be able to create a shortcut. If the host machine requires a password, use the one you set up for a local user account, and tell the file browser to save the password if that option exists. Then create a link in your “favorites” or “shortcuts” or whatever it’s called in your file browser. It should open automatically whenever you try to connect, providing the Win10 host is awake. If you prefer, you can research “wake on LAN” for Win10 to make it responsive.

This is how I got things working again. There are other ways to do it, but this is the simplest.

About Ed Hurst

Avid cyclist, Disabled Veteran, Bible History teacher, and wannabe writer; retired.
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