NTFS folder-mounted drive sharing in Vista

Alright, I’ve had to do this twice now, and it’s taken a few extra minutes of annoying-ness each time to figure it out, so I’ll put it here. Hopefully it helps someone else. Yes, there’s some background. Skip to the last paragraph if you just want the answer.

The family “Server” has a bunch of shared folders. Unfortunately, one hard drive doesn’t cut it anymore, so certain categories are on different drives. There are a couple ways of doing this. Both look exactly the same to other computers, it’s simply a matter of how you want it organized when viewed from the server.

1) Give each drive it’s own drive letter and share the folders from within – A pretty typical way of doing things. Aside from the drive your OS is installed to, say you have 4 more drives.

Drive 1 (“D”):

Drive 2 (“E”):

Drive 3 (“F”):

Drive 4 (“G”):

In the above case, each folder is simply shared. From the server-point-of-view, you’ve got 5 hard drives including the OS, you see all 5 drives (C,D,E,F,G for example), and you just have to remember what’s where. Not a terrible way of doing things by any means.

2) Give 1 drive a drive letter. Mount any of the others inside an NTFS folder – This is the way of doing things that I personally like. Looks something more like this:

Drive 1 (“D”):
-Programs [Other drive mounted in an NTFS folder on the D drive]
-Music [Other drive mounted in an NTFS folder on the D drive]
-Video [Other drive mounted in an NTFS folder on the D drive]

In the above case, you’ve got 2 “drives” including the OS. You still have 5 physical drives, but you only assign drive letters to 2 of them and therefore only “see” 2 (C and D for example). This is the way I like doing things. I name the C / OS drive “Windows” or something similar, and the D drive “Shared” or “Storage” etc. Again, whether you’ve used the first or 2nd method is totally transparant to every other computer – they simply see each shared folder regardless of how you’ve done it.

The problem is, the 2nd method’s a bit picky. I wasn’t able to access the other drives that were mounted in folders – “Programs” “Music” and “Video” in the example. They were shared, and the other household computers could *see* them, but couldn’t get into them – kept getting Access Denied messages.

The solution is to head into Control Panel / Administrative Tools / Computer Management , find the problematic disks in the list, right-click and go to “Properties”, then under the “Security” tab, Edit permissions, then Add whoever you want to add (since I was all out blindly sharing with everyone on the network, I added the user called “Everyone”), assign them the permissions in the bottom half, then click OK, OK again, and you should be done. The other computers on the network should now be able to access the information on those drives.