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Enabling File and Printer Sharing – FPEnabler.exe

by Steve Wiseman on December 11, 2008 · 1 comment

in File and Printer Sharing,Windows,Windows Vista,Windows XP


We started out this week thinking that we would update FPEnabler.exe. We released this free program about a year ago, but we had to pull it from our website because it was breaking every few months with new patches released by Microsoft. FPEnabler simplified the process of adding a file and printer sharing exception to the firewall. What do you need it for? Well, lots of tools use the file and printer sharing mechanism to install patches, run reports, remotely reboot, etc. And of course, many of our tools use this to do their magic.

Part of the problem is that we used an undocumented, and unsupported method of updating the registry to add this exception. So I thought that if we used the public firewall APIs it would be simpler, but after some deeper research into the issue we have decided against continuing this command line program.

A few reasons for this:

1. Different versions of XP have different ways of reading these registry keys. For example XP Pro is different than XP Media center, and if we set the wrong keys it had the potential of breaking file sharing all together in Windows.

2. Vista has a completely different way of enabling this exception, so we would need to create custom code to detect between Vista and XP.

3. With the new UAC model in Vista, this methodology for changing the firewall settings does not work with UAC enabled…or for users without administrative rights over their PC. So the necessity and effectiveness of an enabler program are in question.

So what to do? Well, if you have lots of machines the answer is group policy. If you have a few machines, you can make these changes by hand.

I have 3 articles for each method that I have written for those of you that need to get this done.

Enabling File And Printer Sharing in XP

Enabling File And Printer Sharing in Vista

Enabling File And Printer Sharing using Group Policy

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 david bennett February 24, 2010 at 11:06 pm

im having trouble getting printer sharing. and i need your prog FPEnabler.exe. the instructions didnt work for my xp pro. i tried it exactly as you stated. my desktop uses xp pro and it has a usb hp 6110 all in one printer on it. i have 2 laptops id lke to use wirelessly to print to this hp printer. 1 laptop uses vista,,,and the other, a netbook uses win7. ive tried everything and cant get the sharing to work i cant even access the shared files on my xp desktop from the laptops. id send ya a image of the error message i get,,,but this column doesnt allow it…please help me,,,please

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