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Author Topic: Accessing the contents of another computer's hard drive  (Read 7109 times)
wreckedcarzz
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« on: June 17, 2008, 05:54:34 PM »

I have been looking for a way to do this, without having to use AutoHotkey to check for and move files until I get around to getting on the computer and sorting them out manually, and I am not sure exactly HOW to do it.

Basically, I need to be able to access (read/write) the contents of another computer's C:\ drive - the computer is on my LAN, and I have an account on the system (administrator rights). I don't have a monitor for the computer so I end up doing it the hard way and connecting (\\MyComputerName) and then using LogMeIn to get the files the rest of the way. Not fun.

I have searched Google and come up dry, so does anyone know of a way I could do this? I need *complete* C:\ access, just as if I was actually using that computer. Installing Linux and setting that up IS an option, if there is a way to do it through *nix...

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f0dder
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2008, 06:13:53 PM »

First of all, you need to disable "simple file sharing" - and then you need to grant some access rights. Make sure you have identically named (and passworded) users on both machines, that makes things easier. On some windows versions, you can access the "administrative shares", on some you can't.
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2008, 08:50:56 PM »

Got it!

I had to tell XP to share the entire C:\ (root), and then the drive appeared under its \\ComputerName

I have XP Home so I don't have the Admin Shares, but all I needed was file read/write access. Now to just disable the requirement for password authentication, and it is one-click access!
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2008, 06:46:08 AM »

I have XP Home so I don't have the Admin Shares, but all I needed was file read/write access. Now to just disable the requirement for password authentication, and it is one-click access!
Umm. Disable password authentication? You do realize this is an insanely bad thing to do, right? And that all you need are identical usernames with identical passwords on both boxes, in order to do things safely?
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2008, 09:30:30 PM »

First of all, you need to disable "simple file sharing" - and then you need to grant some access rights. Make sure you have identically named (and passworded) users on both machines, that makes things easier. On some windows versions, you can access the "administrative shares", on some you can't.

Where do you go to disable Simple File Sharing? I don't understand why it's so hard to get XP to let me access my files, but usually I have to resort to an external drive to accomplish anything. :-(

I have XP Pro SP3, FYI.
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2008, 09:40:25 PM »

in WinXP home, you can just enable the 'Guest' user temporarily to access the data.
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2008, 10:33:21 PM »

How is it insane to disable the requirement to enter a password? My Wi-Fi WEP code is something like 52 characters long, so its not like I am getting hacked anytime soon. And even if someone did get onto the network (without my noticing), they would have to find the computer name and go through each computer to do that.

Most people in this neighborhood are computer-illiterate to the point of having to ask what the mouse is (despite the fact that they have it in their hand). I know about "wardriving" and hacking Wi-Fi via parked cars and all that, but it isn't a real concern here.
in WinXP home, you can just enable the 'Guest' user temporarily to access the data.

And I access it over 3-4 computers, read and write - so that wouldn't work.
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« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2008, 11:04:40 PM »

you can try getting the IP addresses and use VNC (or its equivalent) to access the computers.
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2008, 12:39:42 AM »

Thats what I did with LogMeIn, but I just needed file system access (I have it now). Using bandwith to access a computer to transfer files over the network (using bandwith) is a bit counter-productive, isn't it?
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f0dder
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« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2008, 08:20:47 AM »

wreckedcarzz:
#1 - WEP can be bruteforced within minutes, especially if you sniff some traffic first. Might not be a concern where you live, but keep it in mind.

#2 - if a piece of malware enters your computer, not having passworded accounts mean the malware can spread automatically to the other computers in your LAN (yes, some malwares do this automatically). No need to "guess names", it's easy enough to scan a LAN subnet for active computers.

#3 - adding same-name accounts with with same passwords is (more) secure, and really isn't that much bother.

First of all, you need to disable "simple file sharing" - and then you need to grant some access rights. Make sure you have identically named (and passworded) users on both machines, that makes things easier. On some windows versions, you can access the "administrative shares", on some you can't.

Where do you go to disable Simple File Sharing? I don't understand why it's so hard to get XP to let me access my files, but usually I have to resort to an external drive to accomplish anything. :-(

I have XP Pro SP3, FYI.
Explorer, tools->folder options, "view" tab, scroll to bottom: "Use simple file sharing (Recommended)", untick. And then you need to manually configure shares, add user accounts and permissions etc., but it's the proper way to do things.

(Sharing whole drives is bad, mmkay?)
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« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2008, 02:59:32 PM »

Sharing whole hard drives may be a bad idea, but it's the default in many versions of windows.

Browse to \\machinename\c$ on any machine where you have an admin account. Enter your admin username and password if prompted. Helllooo C drive!

Basically, any machine on which you are an admin is an open book, either at the keyboard or across the network. I don't recall having to disable simple file sharing to do this, either.
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f0dder
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« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2008, 05:45:36 PM »

Sharing whole hard drives may be a bad idea, but it's the default in many versions of windows.

Browse to \\machinename\c$ on any machine where you have an admin account. Enter your admin username and password if prompted. Helllooo C drive!

Basically, any machine on which you are an admin is an open book, either at the keyboard or across the network. I don't recall having to disable simple file sharing to do this, either.
Yup (I already linked to info on admin shares), and I do believe this is a very bad default - but iirc you can only connect to the shares with administrator+password (or is it "member of administrator group"?) - that makes it slightly less severe than manually sharing the root of a drive.

I always disable administrative shares as part of my unattended setup smiley
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Deozaan
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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2008, 03:35:20 PM »

#1 - WEP can be bruteforced within minutes, especially if you sniff some traffic first. Might not be a concern where you live, but keep it in mind.

So I have a conundrum:

My Nintendo DS can only handle WEP "security." It's either unsecured or it's "WEP-secure." I know WEP is easy to crack/bruteforce, but I don't really have much choice if I want to keep my neighbors off and still get my DS connected.

Although someone did suggest to me that I leave it open and use MAC filtering to throttle their bandwidth to speeds even Laggy the Snail could outpace.

Does anyone have any other suggestions?
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f0dder
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2008, 05:39:17 PM »

MAC filtering isn't much of a hindrance - sniff traffic, clone MAC, *b00m* defeated.
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2008, 06:23:11 PM »

Packet sniffing isn't that difficult either - a simple google search turns up 10+ programs (I have used 2 or 3 myself on my elementary school wireless network to try and get access, (failing in the long run)) and I would imagine someone with adequate skills would be able to hack the wireless "security", but in my experiences that isn't an issue. But if you live in an apartment/other complex, it might be if you have some tech-savvy users nearby...
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Armando
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2008, 11:37:19 PM »


Explorer, tools->folder options, "view" tab, scroll to bottom: "Use simple file sharing (Recommended)", untick. And then you need to manually configure shares, add user accounts and permissions etc., but it's the proper way to do things.

(Sharing whole drives is bad, mmkay?)

Is that supposed to work with XP Home too?
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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2008, 08:31:47 AM »

Is that supposed to work with XP Home too?
Hm, bummer, I keep forgetting about XP home - does that only support simple file sharing? In that case, you're probably best off setting up some ftp server, really - gives better speed than SMB/CIFS anyway.
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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2008, 11:42:00 AM »

Thanks f0dder. I'll keep that in mind.
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« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2008, 04:08:13 PM »

So if both computers are on the same network in the same house, and the computer you want to access has windows xp on it,

why can't you just open my computer, right click on the c drive, click sharing and security, and then share it, and check the box beside "allow network users to change my files"

Doesn't need a password if you have simple sharing on, and sure it isn't a good idea to do that security wise, but hey, you have had your current setup for a while now and haven't had a problems with people breaking into your network have you? So how is it different just because you are sharing your entire c drive?

I may be missing something here, but that is what I would do.
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2008, 11:29:11 PM »

That's exactly what I ended up doing nite_monkey

Although I ended up adding a password and just telling Vista to remember it because I am lazy tongue
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Deozaan
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« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2008, 05:23:31 PM »

So if both computers are on the same network in the same house, and the computer you want to access has windows xp on it,

why can't you just open my computer, right click on the c drive, click sharing and security, and then share it, and check the box beside "allow network users to change my files"

I may be missing something here, but that is what I would do.

Because that doesn't always work. It should be that easy, but I always end up having to set up the hosts file, which means configuring my router for static IP addresses, and even then I'm still lucky if my computers can see each other and share files.

I've even tried connecting two machines together with a crossover ethernet cable and still have problems.

And trying to connect a Vista box to an XP box is even more complicated.

This is something that should "just work" but it doesn't always.  mad
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #21 on: June 28, 2008, 12:09:08 AM »

something that should "just work" but it doesn't mad

Apple, anyone? Grin
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