Disable Windows NT/W2K/XP Hidden Administrative Shares

by Wayne Maples [Published on 20 April 2004 / Last Updated on 20 April 2004]

The system automatically creates hidden "administrative shares" for its logical drives C:, D:, and so forth which it names C$, D$ and so forth. It also creates the admin$ hidden share for to the \winnt folder. These shares are designed for remote access support by domain administrators. By default, if you delete these admin shares, they will be recreated when you reboot. To disable permanently so they will not be recreated on the next reboot, use the following Windows NT / Windows 2000 / Windows XP registry hack:

Hive: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
Key: SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\LanManServer\Parameters
Name: AutoShareServer for servers
Name: AutoShareWks for workstations
Type: REG_DWORD
Value: 0

For background: Q156365. For details on disabling in Windows XP, see Q314984. In Windows 2000 and Windows XP, you disable the shares via

  • Start
  • Settings
  • Control Panel
  • Systems Tools panel
  • Shared Folders
  • Double-click the Shared Folders branch to expand it
  • Click Shares
  • In the Shared Folder column, right-click the share you want to disable
  • Click Stop sharing
  • Cick OK.
NOTE: If you disable an administrative share that you have created, it will not be automatically enabled after you restart your computer, and you will need to recreate the share.

Perhaps the best approach to protect hard drive resources on workstations is to disable the server service if you can. There are a few workstation applications that need server service running, in particular, some SNA emulation packages.

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