Vista Tip: Getting Access to C$

Ever since Windows… erg. I think NT, but certainly 2000, Windows has always created a few shares administrative purposes, the most useful one being \\machinename\c$ because it’s an easy way to get access to an entire drive, if you have permissions to be there. As a default, only Administrators have access to it – the fact that there’s a trailing $ means that it won’t show up in the Network browser.

Vista has it as well, but for some reason my work machines allowed access to this share – my home machine didn’t. It would give me a log in prompt, I’d log in, it’d say “invalid account” and I’d look at the screw going ‘Lies!’. Some digging on the interwebs gave me a registry tweak to get around it… I could have just set up a new share for \\machinename\c but what’s the fun in that?

This one isn’t that bad, actually… open the registry and go to:


Create a new DWORD called LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy

Set the DWORD value to 1

Some people have said reboot – I didn’t have to. It still prompted me for a user ID, mind you, and I still had to have File Sharing turn on via the Firewall and permissions set for this user for the drive, but that’s a given. Basically, if you make this registry and you still can’t connect, create a new share and see if you can get to that – my guess is that you’ll find that some global network setting was turned off so not only would this fail but all network calls would fail.

And as per usual: this is a change to the registry and that’s scary stuff. Use it at your own risk and for your own system. Make backups often in the event that you accidental twitch and delete the majority of your registry: it won’t be my fault. I’ll empathy and probably sympathize, but I don’t know that I can help you recover.


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