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Story Behind The Windows AutoShare Root Drive

Posted on 8 July 2005

I just read quite recently about the story of automatic shares of the root harddrive (C$, D$, etc). It is very interesting to know it was rooted from Lan Manager 1.0. One of the key features for LAN Manager was remote administration which enabled the server administrator sitting in their office and performed any administrative tasks they wanted to on the computer.

Then one day, the Development Lead for LAN Manager (Russ Ryan) needed to change a config file on the LanMan server that hosted the source code for the LAN Manager product. And he realized that none of the file shares on the machine allowed access to the root directory of the server! He couldn’t add a new share remotely, because the UI for adding file shares required that you navigate through a tree view of the disk – and since the root wasn’t shared, he could only add shares that lived under the directories that were already shared.

So he had to trudge from his office to the lab and make the config change to the server.

And thus a new feature was born – by default, LAN Manager (and all MS networking products to this day) shares the root of the drives automatically to ensure that remote administrators have the ability to access the entire drive.

If you do not want Windows to auto-create these shares, just read this short articles here.

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