Network Shares Group Policy configuration notes

A new feature of Windows Server 2008 R2's Group Policy configuration allows you to push shares to servers. Here are details about the Network Shares feature.

ANew features for Group Policy are often easy to spot in the management console because they usually have a slightly different icon or display pane. A new feature for Windows Server 2008 that caught my eye is the Network Shares option.

Network Shares allow you to push a share, via Group Policy, to a computer account. There are basic inputs: Share Name, Path, and How To Provision The Share. From the intriguing How To Provision The Share input, you can select from these options: Create, Update, Replace, or Delete A Share. The Delete A Share option is attractive if there are rouge shares in use on workstations.

The Network Shares option also allows you to specify how many remote sessions are permitted to access the share, subject to the endpoint operating system limits. The shares are created with a share permission that permits everyone read access; this is located in the Computer Configuration section of Group Policy in Preferences | Windows Settings | Network Shares. Figure A shows this area of Group Policy and a share creation screen. Figure A

Click the image to enlarge.

After giving some thought about realistic use cases of the Network Shares feature of Group Policy, these are guidelines that would be applicable to server and workstation configurations:

  • Organizational Units only: Use Network Shares for Group Policy Objects for Organizational Units instead of the default domain policy. This will apply to an explicit collection of computer accounts.
  • Specific Path: Don't create a Network Shares for a root path of a drive.
  • Use Delete carefully: It may seem like a good idea to delete a number of shares in one fell swoop, there may be an unforeseen impact.

How would you use the Network Shares Group Policy configuration? Share your comments below.

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