How to Enable or Disable Simple File Sharing in Windows XP

Toggle SFS on and off in Windows XP Professional

Hands exchanging folders
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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 more quickly set up folder shares.

Working With SFS in Windows XP Professional

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

  1. Open My Computer from the Start Menu or Windows XP Desktop. 

  2. Open the Tools menu and choose Folder Options from this menu to open a new Folder Options window.

  3. Click on the View tab and check the Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended) check box in the list of Advanced Settings to enable SFS.

  4. To disable Simple File Sharing, ensure the checkbox is not checked. Click inside the checkbox to alternately enable and disable the option.

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

SFS Tips

  • The Simple File Sharing check box is located at or near the bottom of the Advanced Settings list in the My Computer Folder Options.
  • 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 for enabling or disabling Simple File Sharing has no effect. Simple File Sharing always remains disabled for computers joined to domains.