The odd bit

Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is an enemy action.

The odd bit - Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is an enemy action.

Administrative shares in Windows 7

Those who have experience with NT-based operating systems on a network will certainly be familiar with the concept of administrative shares. If that doesn’t ring a bell, you access them like \\computername\c$. With this intro and the title of this post, you might be alarmed or enter panick mode fearing they might be gone in Microsoft’s latest OS iteration. Well don’t go into cardiac arrest because they are still there… but of course not without the odd problem.

Windows 7 still creates the administrative shares on install, but you can’t use them out of the box. First of all, you need to have File and Printer Sharing enabled. And the way to do that has once again been changed:

  1. Open the control panel.
  2. Go to Network and Internet.
  3. Go to Network and Sharing Center.
  4. In the left column, click on Change advanced sharing settings.
  5. There are two profiles. You probably don’t want this on when you’re on a public network so open Home or Work.
  6. Under the header File and Printer sharing, select the Turn on… option.

And now your administrative shares still don’t work 😛 You’ve just completed step 1 which implies there’s at least a step 2 and here it is: you also need to change the registry.

  1. Click on the orb (= the round button with the Windows logo in the taskbar) and type regedit in the search box.
  2. Open the registry editor.
  3. Navigate all the way to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System.
  4. Right-click in the pane on the right side and add a new DWORD (32-bit).
  5. Give the new setting the name LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy.
  6. Double click on that setting and give it a value of 1.

It’s probably wise to reboot after doing this, although it might not be needed. I’m not sure if it works straight away because I rebooted without trying.

Anyways, if you’re lucky you will be able to access administrative shares after performing these steps. If you’re unlucky, like me, doing all these things appears to have zero effect at all. Once again don’t panick, because there’s another hint/tip/solution coming your way.

Somewhere at some point during the installation or configuration of Windows 7, you will be asked to do something with a thing called Homegroup. It’s some weird new sharing tool that looks OK but isn’t quite what you’re used to. Once you have enabled that feature, you won’t be able to use the administrative shares. So the tip is: disable the homegroup feature.

  1. Open the control panel.
  2. Go to Network and Internet.
  3. Go to HomeGroup.
  4. Click on the blue link Leave the homegroup.

The popup dialog should point out itself, but I believe I picked to first option. Once I had left the homegroup, the administrative shares started working again.

I hope this post can help anyone who experiences the same problem.

Category: 7, Microsoft
  • Abdullah! says:

    Great stuff many thanks and it works without a reboot! :)

    26 September 2009 at 00:13
  • Mitza says:

    Thanks! It worked! I had to do the first 2 steps and reboot. Computer is part of the homegroup though…

    27 November 2009 at 22:03
  • Gri says:

    Nothing from above worked :(
    When i had Win7 on one and XP on other computer i could easily do admin shares between them. Today I installed win7 on the other one two, and cant do file sharing between them. Got no idea why

    2 January 2010 at 02:28
  • Mac K says:

    why i there no function in Win7 to “stop sharing” adminis shares in Computer Management like there is with previous versions of Windows? I don’t want these shared when I’m on public network. Too many vulnerabilities.

    23 January 2010 at 17:49
  • Chizep says:

    Hey, I just wanted to say thanks! I already had file and print sharing enabled for my “Home” profile. I made the reg change, rebooted and it was good to go! My PC is part of a homegroup but I don’t use it.

    27 January 2010 at 17:44
  • Splansing says:

    Freakin awesome, dude. Thanks for the info.

    12 February 2010 at 05:14
  • cititechs says:

    Worked for me. No Reboot required.

    19 February 2010 at 18:46
  • evgeny says:

    hmm, strangely doesn’t work for me at all :(

    26 March 2010 at 01:18
  • Meow says:

    Funny part is I have 2 windows 7 box A and B. From A I can access \\b\c$, but from B I get access denied when accessing \\a\c$. I tried all the steps here, but the results does not change at all. Is there anything more weird than this?

    13 April 2010 at 12:00
  • rofl-pc says:

    Just wanted to leave my experience after following this little tutorial. I have Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. I was able to access Administrative shares without a reboot. Quick note about Homegroup setup. If there are no other Windows 7 PCs on your network, it is absolutely not necessary.

    16 April 2010 at 02:41
  • Christopher Woods says:

    Perfect, I’d done all the prior steps but neglected to leave the Homegroup. Stupid feature in a Professional flavour of an OS. (but then, I still hanker for MS-DOS 6 😉


    15 June 2010 at 17:45
  • royal says:

    Damn, why the hell does microsoft make us do all this crap to get functionality we already had in previous Windows?

    This is counter-productive. Screw M$

    16 July 2010 at 22:24
  • jb says:

    Required a reboot after step 2.


    23 August 2010 at 02:00
  • Chris says:

    No reboot for me and it worked like a charm. Thanks for this!

    31 October 2010 at 19:55
  • common geek says:

    Worked after those steps PLUS then I have to create C$ manually via Computer Management->Shared Folders->Shares (Windows 7 Ult x64)

    22 November 2010 at 00:54
  • common geek says:

    Alright fellas, following up on my previous comment, creating C$ share manually worked only until reboot, it then disappeared. However, luckily just after 5 minutes I found magic registry key that asks Windows 7 to create admin shares automatically on reboot. It was set to 0 for me, changed it to 1 and viola, all set of admin shares after reboot.

    Name: AutoShareWks
    Data Type: REG_DWORD
    Value: 1

    Kudos to:

    22 November 2010 at 01:27
  • elelele says:


    2 December 2010 at 08:10
  • Seeker says:

    It works between windows 7, but windows XP cannot connect to C drive of windows 7. Please advice?

    16 January 2011 at 18:04
  • Dinesh says:

    G8 Thanks a Ton it worked with out restarting,

    Thanks again

    28 April 2011 at 12:52
  • John says:

    Brilliant! This worked for me without rebooting – thank you (-:

    19 May 2011 at 05:30
  • Rob says:

    Fantastic! Having the admin$ saves me a ton of time and effort!

    23 September 2011 at 20:45
  • Andrew Leslie says:

    Works without rebooting!

    16 October 2011 at 22:52
  • CodeSnip says:

    Dude! This whole time i’ve been troubleshooting a firewall issue and then found this when I finally thought to check if the admin shares are even turned on. By the way, I did have to add the registry key, but did not have to reboot. Thank YOU!

    15 November 2011 at 08:00
  • Barry says:

    Thank you. This saved me… Was starting to pull my hair out on this one and I can’t afford to do that!!!

    3 March 2012 at 19:07
  • Luis Macias says:

    Just what I was looking for… Many and big, big Thanks

    8 May 2012 at 07:41
  • Suneesh says:

    Thanks friend, it worked for me. You rocks

    30 May 2012 at 09:56
  • Kvarda says:

    Thanks a lot, it saved me a lot of time. I have been surprised how MS made it complicated for me – IT professional since 1992.

    22 June 2012 at 20:00
  • Roland says:

    For those who could not make it work:
    The step 2 includes creating a registry entry called “LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy”. Make sure that the entry You created in registry does not end with a space character. I managed to have it there. It is not visible unless You try renaming the entry name.
    Alternatively, it is also possible that You copied the entry name together with the dot at the end of it?

    16 July 2012 at 22:38
  • Jerimiah says:

    Almost worked except I had to remove any cached connections from my Windows XP machine. I did “net view” from console and then “net view /delete “. Restarting the XP machine would have accomplished the same.

    12 September 2012 at 17:00
  • Oscar D'Antona says:

    thank you all so much ….thank you …

    5 November 2012 at 22:54
  • woodelf says:

    ‘common geek’ you are a STAR – I’d been searching nearly 3 days after “TuneUp Utilites” screwed me up.
    Thanks mate.

    14 December 2012 at 08:17
  • JW says:

    I changed all of the above, it does not work for me.

    Regular shares work perfectly fine.

    Then i tried to access the administrative share by IP Address, and it works perfectly.

    I can’t explain why I can use the computer name for regular shares, but IP Address for administrative shares, but it works and I’m done trying to figure it out.

    31 December 2012 at 14:54
  • George Simms says:

    I’ve been fighting this problem for two days, Thank you, Thank you, Thank You.

    7 January 2013 at 19:20
  • DJ says:

    Didn’t work for me. BUT changing registry entry “AutoShareWks” as described above did the trick. Went back and turned off “File and Print Sharing” and deleted other registry entry that was changed, and still working fine.

    So “AutoShareWks” was ONLY change I needed to resolve admin shares running (and hence Shadow Copies being available which was the original problem for me).

    12 March 2013 at 05:37
  • PhilReinie says:

    With two W7 Pro (32 bit if that matters) machines I was able to see all files on the other machine (B) from the one machine (A). I didn’t try seeing A from B. I’m using ADMIN login on both.

    The two machines are crossover Ethernet connected and BOTH have the same machine name. (The job is configuring replacement laptops for users.)

    On both machines I clicked on Network in an Explorer window. When/if a bar at the top of the window appears indicating network discovery and/or file/printer sharing is disabled, enable both.

    I also turned off Password protected sharing on both machines. (All in advanced settings.)

    On the B machine’s explorer window right-click the drive or folder you want access to and pick “Share with >” “Advanced sharing…” (the only choice) in the “properties” window pick “Advanced Sharing…” (button) and in that window tell it to share and give it a name. I’m sharing both the entire C: and D: drive so I called them c and d. That window also tells you the network name of the share as “\\machinename\c” (for my c drive).

    Supposedly this is not really an administrative share but a shared “folder”. In any case, all I’m really doing is configuring a replacement laptop for a user and transfering the data from the old to the new one so for my purposes it works. You may have to modify the permissions on the source (B) machine’s drives/folders/files to fit your needs.

    On the target machine, A, in an explorer window, because the two laptops have the same name I entered “\\IPofB\c” (minus the quotes) in the address bar. Explorer did some searching and the drive appeared under Network. Actually the entire machine’s name “B” appeared there with the drive under it as ‘d’.

    No registry changes, no rebooting. I did disable Symantec Endpoint Protection on the source (B) machine. Other firewalls may also play on this.

    27 March 2013 at 17:13
  • Rduke15 says:

    Thank you!

    Restarting the server doesn’t seem to be needed. But restarting the client is. Or at least forcing it to make a new connection to the server.

    14 April 2013 at 23:27
  • mkh says:

    The best way I do it is to stop the server service in the Administrative tools-> services.

    Windows 7 has some hidden Server capabilities and it can act as both(too much information) I only share the one which is usefull here.

    This should do it. The shares won’t be accesible over the network!

    3 May 2013 at 17:07
  • NNatic says:

    Thanks for this post. I have been going nuts trying to figure out why i cant hit shares on this non domain joined computer and thought i was nuts… the registry edit resolved it for me.

    Thanks again.

    28 May 2013 at 22:13
  • Bur1yman says:

    I tried all this without luck. I was remote, so I couldn’t reboot him. Turned out his remote admin shares were not there in Computer Management>Shares. Connecting to his PC with my Computer Management console, I right clicked and chose New Share and mimicked my own PC for his C: = C$, etc. Now I’m “in like Flynn” Thanks for your help, too!

    8 August 2013 at 17:39
  • Sasan Moradi says:

    Dear Hans Melis

    It`s more than 3 weeks that I testes more than hundreds of ways to fix my administrative share and I haven`t succeeded until I found your article, I should say YES it`s solved my big problem and I have to say I admire your knowledge, and a loud THANK YOU.

    14 August 2013 at 20:19
  • Kshitij says:

    Thanks a lot……….I was facing a lot of problem in deleting a shared folder…….which I had unshared! Even then it was saying that it was being used!

    22 August 2014 at 13:22
  • Johan says:

    Worked as a charm. The reboot was not necessary!


    11 July 2015 at 23:38
  • m0h3en says:

    thx a lot buddy.

    16 June 2016 at 16:29

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