Help! Windows 2000: can't give access to other network computers

We are a small vet clinic, and I just got a second computer for the receptionists, making four in all (one more in the Dr’s office, and one in the treatment room). The software that runs the business can run on all the computers, but they access a single database file (which until now has been on the single reception computer). I want the data base to be on the main reception computer so business can continue even if the network is down for any reason.

The new computer runs Windows 2000. The other reception computer is on Windows 95, and the other two computers are running Windows 98. All are connected to a peer-to-peer network through a hub. The networking part seems to be working fine. I can open Windows explorer from any of the computers and see the other three. I have copied files from the new computer to the other reception computer, and all four can access the DSL line which is also connected to the hub.

Enough setup. Here’s the problem:

The business software is installed seperately on each computer. I then have to tell the software to access the file from the main reception computer. But when I try to do that now, a diolog box comes up asking for a password.

I try using the Administrator password I’ve set for Windows 2000, but it’s not recognized. I try no password, which IS the password for the “Reception1” user (which works just fine to boot the Windows 2000 computer) but that doesn’t work either.

So I try to either set up a password, or set it that it doesn’t require a password. I even have a book called Mastering Windows 2000 Professional, which I figured I should have specifically for networking questions.

Following what I can find in the book, I open the My Computer icon on the desktop, right click on the “Local Drive C” icon, and then click on “Sharing…” (or click on “Properties” and then click on the “Sharing” Tab). I make sure that the “Share This Folder” radio button is selected. Sure enough, the Share Name that appears by default is “C$”. There is a down arrow for that field; clicking it reveals a choice between “C$” and “SYS”. Not knowing any better, I leave it on “C$”.

Since I’ve identified this computer to the network as “Reception1” (how original - the old reception computer is now Reception2) most of the Resource description (\Reception1\PC$) now makes sense, except for that extra “P.”

Then, below the “Comment” field (left blank) and the “User Limit” (set to ‘Maximum Allowed’), there is a button labeled “Permissions.” This seems to be exactly what I need, especially since the description printed next to the button explains

But when I click the Permissions button, I get an error message:

What the ???

Is there some other place to set these Permissions that overrides this diaolog box? I’ve tried searching, examining and poking around every menu and window I can find, including the Administrative Tools, but can’t find a way to do this.

BTW, I am logged on as “Administrator.”

Anyone have any bright ideas? Is there something really stupid I’m overlooking? Could it have anything to do with the mysterious extra “P”? If this drives me to drink, I may have to take an extra “P”. :smiley: Sorry, it’s late.

Thanks.

Here’s what worked for me in the same situation (or nearly the same - if you look closely, I think you’ll see that \Reception1\PC$ is really \Reception1**I**PC$).
[ul]
[li]Add accounts on the Win2K machine for the users on each of the other machines[/li][li]Make sure that each of these accounts has a password - blank passwords are not ok[/li][li]Make sure that the password is the same as the password the users on the other machines use to logon[/li][li]Make sure all the Win9x machines logon as a Client for Microsoft Networking[/li][/ul]
That’s it! If all the machines have an account on the Win2K machine, they will automatically authenticate, and won’t prompt for a password to access IPC$ (Interprocess Communication).

Now, if I have this the wrong way around, you’ll still get the idea I hope. Your goal is to make sure that everyone is logged on with a password, and that the passwords are the same on both the machines at each end of a connection. Good luck.

Thanks, Marcus.

Currently we do not have “individuals” logging on at all; the only purpose for logging on is to connect the computer to the network. So the “user” has been “Reception” and whoever logged in used that username. Now it’s Reception1 and Reception2.

Are you saying that if I create a “user” on the Win2K machine that is the same as the logon user name of the other computer, in this case “Reception2”, that the identification as a logged-in user will cross over and they will be able to access the hard drive and open and write to a file on the Win2K machine without having to give another password?

And do you have any idea why I was not allowed to set the Permissions" of who could access the drive from the network? As the Administrator, shouln’t I be able to do that?

Yep, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Don’t forget to ensure that the new user has a password.

For reasons only known to Microsoft, some “system” shares on Windows cannot be deleted or changed. System shares usually have a in their name. For example, all drive letters on a machine are shared at the root using the name <driveletter>, for example C$, D$, E$, and so on. This is quite useful when you are administering a machine, particularly over the network, but I believe that as Administrator you should be able to stop this happening, particularly on a sensitive machine such as a firewall. It is this sort of thing that encourages people to use Linux or some other operating system for “important” machines such as firewalls and database servers.

BTW, you probably would want to create a share specifically for the database, rather than use the C$ share. This will allow you a bit more control - for example you will be able to set the permissions if you want to, and you will be able to browse the share in Network Neighborhood, or Computers Near Me. You can’t usually browse to system shares. When a machine browses to the share, the right mouse button menu contains “Map Network Drive”, which will allow it to create a drive exclusively for that share, for example K: drive. Then you can know that the database is on K: drive for all the machines (except the hosting machine, the new one).

I cannot answer the question, although I did manage to set up a home network with three computers, one a Win2000 and the other two Win98 basically by blundering around until things worked, but I could not tell you what I did. Also there are no passwords, although the Win98 machines do not allow bypassing the signon prompt. But I recently discovered (more accurately, my son discovered and sent me) the following web site
http://www.winguides.com/
It appears to have everything one could possibly want to know about Windows, at least if you know how to search it.

When I have a problem, especially with NT (which is what Win2000 is), I always go to my son. Sometimes he can help, mostly he finds it on such sites as the above. To put this in perspective and suggest what a bear NT is, he spent about 5 years of his life as an NT programmer and still knows only the parts he was involved with. If you want to read about some of his experiences (Warning: ad coming) see his book, Proudly Serving my Corporate Masters, available on Amazon and elsewhere (but not bookstores, save one in Seattle); also see proudlyserving.com. I just discovered, while checking that web address, that the entire book is now available, one page at a time, online. But it costs only about 20 bucks, so why would you.

Thanks, Marcus, it works like a charm!

I set up users on the Win2K machine that were the same as the sign-on names of the other computers.

Then, inside Windows Explorer, I can right-click on the folder the data file is in, select “Sharing,” and then the “Permissions” button allows me to give access to the other computers (that is, the user names that are the same as the other computers).

I see now that I cannot set permissions for Drive C: as a whole (as I asked about in my OP), but instead have to go to each folder (or specific folders if not all of them) to give the appropriate sharing permissions. On re-reading your last post, I think that is exactly what you are saying, although I did not really understand what you meant when I first read it.

In retrospect, I should have figured this out for myself, but the necessary step of creating “users” of the other computers I never would have realized if not for your help. Thanks again! It now works perfectly.

By the way, being the stubborn SOB I can be, I was determined to try it without passwords, despite your instructions that they were necessary. As michaelbarr points out, they indeed are not necessary. Maybe technically they are, but the passwords I use are nothing… no letters or numbers, nothing typed in, just blank. As michaelbarr also points out, Win 98 does not allow you to bypass the log-in screen (which will automatically come up if a network card is installed) as Win2K allows you to do. As I have a number of different receptionists using the machines at different times, and since the computer trouble shooting skills of some of them, on a scale of 1 to 10 is a -1, I want all things to be as simple as possible. When they need to reboot the machine for any reason, having them just click “OK” at the log-in screen, rather than changing the sign in name and typing in a password, is far preferrable. Therefore, their password is always just nothing, and since I left the passwords in the Win2K user profile as nothing as well, the other machines are able to access their allowed folders on the Win2K machine.

Personal to michaelbarr: I was born in Montreal! My brother manages a fancy japanese restaurant in West Montreal someplace.

Thanks michealbarr and richardb for the information that “no password” is OK. I was basing my advice on experience with NT - looks like it has been fixed with Win2K (or I have a bad memory!).

Good to hear that it’s going richardb. I agree with your philosophy - keep it as simple as possible.