Help - need to disable file sharing

By billyellis
Feb 25, 2008
  1. OK, not a complete newbie, but I am new at networking.

    I wanted to share files b/w my desktop and new laptop, so I went through the Network Setup Wizard on both machines and did everything required, then rebooted. But neither computer shows up on the other computer's network group.


    Both are running XP Home behind a cable modem and router (both Linksys), with ZonaAlarm.

    Anyway, so now I am a security risk with no file sharing benefit, and so I wanted to disable file sharing, etc right away. So I went through the Wizard again, this time switching to "Turn off file and printer sharing."

    But the confirmation page still congratulates me for activating file sharing at the end, and the workgroup is still listed in My Network Places.


    (a) IS file sharing actually disabled now? How can I tell? How can I make sure that I am not open to attacks over the internet at the moment? Might I have a bunch of ports open that I don't know about now?

    (b) Am I missing a step on the whole network setup procedures? Why can't I see the other computers in the workgroup once I have set up the home network using the Wizard?

    (c) Can I set up file sharing in a way that ignores the internet connection and simply uses the router, thereby making the network safer and separated from the internet?

  2. billyellis

    billyellis TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 155

    Update: I accessed a Wireless Network for the first time with the laptop today and to do so I had to re-activate a service in msconfig that I had previously disabled manually (WZC), which got me wondering whether the reason the computers were not seeing one another might be due to another disabled service??

    Attached is a cap of the currently disabled services. Are any of them needed to create a functional home network?

    Thanks. :)

    Also, regarding question (c) above, in looking around while trying to figure out why the Wireless connection was not configuring properly, I did come across mention of the ability to create a computer network without an internet connection. Does anyone do this? Can it work through a router in lieu of some sort of hub?
  3. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    You know I'd put the three remote services On (automatic and started) until you get it working, then turn off one at a time, and confirm your network is ok

    Also that Dell tray icon (why is it a service, I wonder)
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    Indexing Service (never required)
    Fast User Switching (only a logon service)
    Netmeeting (never required)
    Remote Access Connection Manager REQUIRED
    Remote Desktop Help (never required)
    Distributed Tracking (never required)

    and from InstallDriver Table Manager to the bottom are not required
    (but what is stllssvr?)
  5. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    Very good! You do this by controlling access in the firewall.

    get sharing operational.

    now you need to control the ipaddresses that are allowed to access ports 135-139 + 445.

    The default windows firewall is LOUSY at this level of control. Get a 3-rd party firewall
    like Comodo or Sunbelt.

    you then add a rule that looks like
    allow tcp/udp in/out source-ip lan-range dest-ip lan-range ports 135-139,445

    where lan-range will be associated with the ip addresses controlled by your router.
    If the router is, then it controls assresses

    NOTHING from an internet source will then access your file/print sharing :)
  6. billyellis

    billyellis TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 155

    Sounds good. Will give these ideas a try when I get home. Thanks! :)

    Remote Access Connection Manager REQUIRED
    says it is needed to share in internet connection
    this one says you need it to set up a new connection but then it can be disabled
    this one identifies it as necessary for VPN

    So it sounds like it might be needed at least to set up the network as you suggested jobeard. :approve:

    looks like a decent site for service info

    And stllssvr (according to the web) is associated with a disc labeling program, although I am not aware of my drive being able to print labels (maybe it is).
  7. billyellis

    billyellis TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 155

    How about ZA (free version, 7.0.462.000))? I took a quick look and did not see anywhere to add a rule, although I have never tried to fiddle with the settings before, so maybe I am not looking in the right place?
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    you might like to see the User's Guide

    Create a Local Zone with your Lan network addresses

    I see no mention of File Sharing in ZA! Anyone know how to ALLOW Print/Filesharing here?
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    and no one has solved the problem :(

    IF the local LAN setup is correct, then all ports would be opened for local addresses
    and the default DENY access should handle all other conditions.

    This thread highlights the issues of trying to make something simple for the user to
    configure and yet flexible enough to do what the user needs to get done.

    Personally, I like to see ALL RULES that the firewall implements. This gives me sound sleep at night knowing the system is properly prepared to repell all boarders
  11. mazameez

    mazameez TS Rookie Posts: 18

    Did you check the router's firewall?
    Alot of routers include a network firewall provided by ISP. You might want to check that out and see if it is allowing sharing function.
    You can access this information by accessing your router settings.
  12. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    in serveral years now I've NEVER seen a router yet that had rules to implement a firewall.

    the advertising you read about router firewalls is hype and the ONLY features that
    allow them to use that word is NAT and SPI.

    unless you have concrete examples, please don't make suggestions which are just speculations without evidence and experience.
  13. billyellis

    billyellis TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 155

    Ok, how about a functional solution? What if I enable file sharing and then remove the cable from the modem, physically separating from the internet?

    The network should still allow file sharing, shouldn't it? Or do I need the internet connection for some reason, maybe to make the modem/router function at all?

    The question then is similar to (a) in my original post - if I then disable file sharing when I am done, how do I know that it is REALLY disabled before I reconnect the cable? The Wizard only gives me a final confirmation page congratulating me for enabling file sharing, regardless of which option (allow/disallow) I select during the process. So I am suspicious that maybe the access is not being disabled as instructed.

    The other thing that would be nice would be the ability to toggle file sharing on and off without having to go through a wizard every time. Any way to do this? Like (once a home network is already set up) simply disconnecting the cable, hitting a hotkey combination that would activate file sharing, then hitting the same hotkey when finished to close those ports again, and then reconnecting the cable? Seems like something that would be really nice to be able to do...

    Edit: In all fairness to mazameez, I do remember once trying to modify the router to allow an encrypted VPN, which involved logging into a webpage to modify the router settings, including opening/closing certain ports now that I think about it. However, it never worked (had to install a 2nd phone/cable line and modem to accomodate that computer), so I don't know whether it would work for anything at all, or whether was all just a smokescreen from the router people about capabilities the product does not really have, as jobeard suggests?
  14. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    yes you can yank the cable, but obviously loose internet access while doing so.

    my favorite (for my laptop) is a good firewall that has a special rule just for filesharing (ie ports 135-139,445).
    At home where I'm behind MY router and have control, I can set the rule to ALLOW.
    When I'm traveling, I can set it to DENY (and perhaps LOG). In this way, I can still
    get email and browse but know my system is immune.

    btw: WHY so paranoid at home?
  15. billyellis

    billyellis TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 155

    Paranoid? Who told you to say that? :haha:

    I am simply nervous about opening myself up to intrusions by overriding my firewall and forcing it to open up a new kind of access that could be exploited because the details are a little over my head and I could easily miss something. That's all. I wouldn't say I'm paranoid, just... "cautious."
  16. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,156   +598

    I'm cautious too but there are tools (ie firewalls) to control access which take far less
    effort to lean than the leaps-and-bounds you're going thru.

    again, get something like Comodo or Sunbelt and sleep well at night :zz:
  17. billyellis

    billyellis TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 155

    OK, so I am making some progress. The desktop now sees the laptop after starting the Remote Access service and going through the Network setup again.

    Two problems:

    1. The laptop does not see the desktop.
    2. When I try to connect to the laptop (trying to get to a shared folder I created) from the desktop, I get an access error (attached).

    Am I missing something?

    EDIT: Now after rebooting both machines, I can no longer see the laptop from the desktop either. WTF. Shouldn't "Wizards" make this simple? This is ridiculous.

    EDIT2: EUREKA! :)

    Found this:

    The problem is (the free version of) Zone Alarm. Simply disabling the ZA (free) firewall solves the problems - computers can see one another and file sharing works fine. There are steps in the linked thread if you use ZA and want to make file sharing work with the firewall enabled (you need to add a new Trusted Zone entry for your IP Subnet), but for me I am actually happy knowing that I can simply disconnect from the internet, disable ZA, exchange whatever files I need, then reconnect the cable and re-enable ZA. Since this is only an occasional need for me, I like knowing that even home network file sharing is being blocked by ZA whenever it is running, since it makes me feel a little more confident that attempts to access my files from the internet are being blocked too.

    Thanks for all the help and comments. :grinthumb
  18. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Regarding the Pic (issue)
    I've found putting a new password on your accounts, and then re-accessing the network, will give you a new Pic saying what's the password.
    By entering the new password and username (lets say if you put a password on the Administrator account) you would write:
    Password <-- put your password here
    And then tick the box, always remember.

    Mind you this seems to be a workaround to the issue, I think jobeard will remind me of the best answer if he replies.
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