Sharing an external drive



I have an IBM ThinkPad running XP Pro and I had a WD My Book Premium external
drive attached to it primarially for the purpose of taking backups of the
ThinkPad using the IBM Rescue and Recovery Program running on the ThinkPad.
This usually worked fine.

I then got a shiny new Vista Home Premium desktop machine and thought it
would make sense to attach my WD drive to the Vista machine using the
Firewire link. This again seems to work fine and the drive looks normal in
Explorer on the Vista machine and everything seems to work fine.

I also have all the Sharing options turned on in the Vista machine and I can
share printers and folders on the Vista C drive.

However I cannot see the WD drive from the XP machine. So I tried to set up
sharing for this drive. I went to Computer -> My Book -> Properties ->
Sharing but there it describes the drive as 'not shared' AND the little Share
box is greyed out! So I cannot set the whole drive as shared.

Not to be defeated I went to one of the folders on the WD drive and followed
a similar path My Book -> Music -> Properties -> Sharing and again the folder
is described as 'not shared' but the little Share box is active and I can
click on it and set up sharing and everything works just as expected
including access from my XP machine.

OK, so now I try to set up a share for the directory on this drive that
already contains the previous XP backups - I follow My Book -> RRBackups ->
Properties -> Sharing but I see the same as for the drive i.e. the Share box
is greyed out and I cannot set this folder as shared.

Can anyone please explain what I am seeing here and why I cannot share the
whole WD drive or even some of the folders, and better still offer a
solution? One additional piece of information that might be relevant is that
the RRBackups folder is defined as a hidden operating system folder, to
prevent accidental deletion I guess.

Many thanks.

Robert L. \(MS-MVP\)

Do you have 3rd party security software? Or this post may help. Please post
back with the result.

Vista: Sharing is grayed outWhen I try to share the folder in Vista, the
"Share" button under Network File and Folder Sharing is grayed out, all I
can do is choose Advanced Sharing. ...

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How to Setup Windows, Network, VPN & Remote Access on


Thanks Robert, I do have McAffee Security Center installed with default
settings and although I had a good look at it I don't think that was the
problem. When I though a bit more about it I realised that McAffee would
probably only be relevant when I was trying to access files from the other
machine whereas my problem was a bit more fundamental - I could not even set
the drive as shared on the Vista machine.

Anyway your hint at looking at the URLs got me thinking a bit more so I
again went My Book -> Properties -> Sharing, and then held my breath when I
pressed "Advanced Sharing" - here to my amazement it had a little box at the
top for one to tick saying "Share this folder" (even though its a whole 500GB
disk drive). Anyway I ticked this and for good measure also clicked on the
Permissions button and was then a bit surprised to see that it said the drive
was shared by Everyone but only at the Read level, so I changed this to Full
Control (which is what I want). I backed out of it all clicking apply and OK
as relevant and hey presto it all seems to work. What I don't really
understand is why an external drive attached by Firewire (maybe this counts
as a network drive somehow) defaults to unshared and then you have to go to
quite some lengths to resolve the issue.

Still it seems to work brilliantly now and I've got full access to the drive
from the XP machine - thanks for ideas and stimulating the thinking.

Robert L. \(MS-MVP\)

Thank you for the update. For security reason, the share option is always
grayed out for a root drive in Vista. It is recommended to share a folder
instead of a drive. If you have to share a drive, use advanced sharing to
share a drive. Also check this post.

Share is grayed out in Vista

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How to Setup Windows, Network, VPN & Remote Access on

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