How to Enable or Disable Simple File Sharing in Windows XP

Toggle SFS on and off in Windows XP Professional

What to Know

  • Go to Start > Tools > Folder Options > View. Check Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended) to turn on. Select OK.
  • In the same dialog box, uncheck the Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended) box to turn it off, then select OK.

Simple File Sharing was introduced in Microsoft Windows XP. SFS removed some file-sharing security options available in Windows 2000, with the goal of helping Windows XP administrators quickly set up folder shares.

Microsoft Windows XP is discontinued and end-of-life support ended in 2014. Upgrade to Windows 10 to obtain important security patches and feature updates. This content is retained for those who cannot upgrade XP to a modern version of Windows.

How to Turn On SFS in Windows XP Professional

Simple File Sharing is enabled and cannot be disabled in Windows XP Home Edition. However, it can be enabled and disabled in Windows XP Professional.

  1. Go to the Start Menu or Windows XP Desktop and open My Computer.

  2. Go to the Tools menu and choose Folder Options.

  3. In the Folder Options dialog box, go to the View tab and select the Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended) check box to enable SFS.

  4. To disable Simple File Sharing, clear the Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended) check box.

  5. Select OK to close the Folder Options dialog box. The settings for Simple File Sharing are now updated; no computer reboot is required.

SFS Tips

Enabling Simple File Sharing prevents the ability to assign user-level passwords to shares. When Simple File Sharing is enabled on a computer, remote users are not prompted for a password when accessing that computer's shares.

If the Windows XP Professional computer is part of a Windows domain rather than a Windows workgroup, this process to enable or disable Simple File Sharing has no effect. Simple File Sharing always remains disabled for computers joined to domains.

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