Definition of SHARE in The Network Encyclopedia.

What is a Share (in computer networking)?

Share is a way to make resources on a computer available to other users on the network who have suitable permissions. Resources that can be shared include disk volumes, directories, and printers.

Share example
Share example

As a noun, a share is typically another name for a folder or directory that allows users on the network who have suitable permissions to access its contents. The name of a share does not have to be the same as the local name of the object. A share usually contains such items as public data, network applications, and users’ home folders.

In Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows 98, share access can take two forms:

  • Share-level security: Controls access to a share using a password that is the same for all users. For example, a user who wants to connect to a share on a peer server running Windows 95 or Windows 98 that uses share-level security must know only the password for the share in order to access it. Share-level security is commonly used in small workgroups. 
  • User-level security: Controls access to a share via user credentials and group membership. For example, one group of users can be assigned read-only access to the share, another group can be assigned full access, and a third group can be assigned custom access. In order for user-level security to work, the network must have a security provider (such as a Microsoft Windows NT or Windows 2000 domain controller). 

In Windows NT and Windows 2000, shares are always based on user-level security. A network user’s access to a shared folder on an NTFS volume is governed by a combination of NTFS permissions and shared folder permissions.

Share names

Share names that do not conform to the MS-DOS 8.3 naming convention cannot be accessed by MS-DOS-based workstations.