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File and Printer Sharing Does Not Work

Updated: March 28, 2005

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

This problem typically occurs when someone attempts to access a resource on your computer, such as a shared folder or printer, and the person attempting to access the resource receives a “network path was not found” error.

Cause

File and printer sharing can fail when you turn on Windows Firewall because file and printer sharing requires your computer to respond to unsolicited incoming traffic on one or more of the following ports: TCP ports 139 and 445, and UDP ports 137 and 138. Windows Firewall blocks incoming traffic through these ports. To fix this problem, you need to unblock one or more TCP and UDP ports.

Solution

Make sure that you have enabled the File and Printer Sharing exception in the Windows Firewall exceptions list.

To enable the File and Printer Sharing exception
  1. Open Windows Firewall, and then click the Exceptions tab.

  2. Select the File and Printer Sharing check box.

If file and printer sharing still does not work properly, verify that you are configuring File and Printer Sharing in the same profile that your computer is using. If you enable File and Printer Sharing in the domain profile, but your computer is using the standard profile, then File and Printer Sharing might not be enabled. You can use the Netsh tool to determine which profile your computer is currently using and which profile has File and Printer Sharing enabled.

To determine which profile your computer is currently using
  • At the command prompt, type netsh firewall show currentprofile, and press ENTER.

To determine which profile has File and Printer Sharing enabled
  • At the command prompt, type netsh firewall show service, and press ENTER.

If File and Printer Sharing is not enabled in the profile that your computer is using, you need to enable File and Printer Sharing in the appropriate profile.

To enable File and Printer Sharing in a specific profile
  1. At the command prompt, type the following:

    netsh firewall set service type = fileandprint mode = enable profile = your profile

    Where your profile can be current, domain, standard, or all, depending on which profile must have File and Printer Sharing enabled.

  2. Press ENTER.

If file and printer sharing still does not work properly, verify that the scope setting for the File and Printer Sharing exception is not preventing other computers from accessing your shared files and printers. The scope setting allows you to restrict an exception to a specific group of computers. Be sure that the scope setting for the File and Printer Sharing exception includes the computers that are trying to access the files and folders on your computer. There are three possible scope settings:

Any computer (including those on the Internet), which does not restrict the exception.

My Network (subnet) only, which restricts the exception to computers that are directly reachable based on entries in the IP routing table.

Custom list, which restricts the exception to a list of Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) addresses or IPv4 address ranges. You cannot use the Custom list option for Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) traffic.

To verify the scope of the File and Printer Sharing exception
  1. Open Windows Firewall, and then click the Exceptions tab.

  2. Click File and Printer Sharing, and then click Edit.

  3. Click TCP 139, and then click Change Scope.

  4. Verify that the scope setting includes the computers that you want to access your computer. If it does not, change the scope so it is less restrictive.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for TCP 445, UDP 137, and UDP 138.

ImportantImportant
The My network (subnet) only or Custom list scope options do not necessarily increase your security. Malicious users can circumvent these scope restrictions by spoofing an IP address that appears to be directly reachable or is part of the custom list.

If file and printer sharing still does not work properly and you are using a collaboration tool or a file-sharing tool, you might have to configure other exceptions to share files. If your vendor does not provide information about the settings that need to be configured for your collaboration or file sharing program, try adding the program to the exceptions list.

To add a program or service to the exceptions list
  1. Open Windows Firewall, and then click the Exceptions tab.

  2. On the Exceptions tab, click Add Program, and then follow the instructions that appear on your screen.

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