Stupid UIs for file sharing in Windows

File sharing in a small network (like at home or a office with just a “workgroup”) has always been finicky to my memory. With the current (20H2) version of Windows 10, Microsoft’s official help shows it is being made unneededly hard by some stupid user interface. (I don’t use “stupid” often – my choice here is because I think it really is unneeded and unjust these are the way they are.) I will revise this if anyone – from Microsoft or not – lets me know how these are legitimate.

The first example is here, and I have a screen picture below with transcription.

Transcribed in caption.
Note: The HomeGroup (view) and HomeGroup (view and edit) options still appear in Windows 10 (Version 1803 or later) when you right-click a folder in File Explorer and then point to Give access to. However, neither option does anything. To share a file or folder, select Specific people from the same shortcut menu instead. [emphasis added]

Hopefully 21H1, or whatever the next update is, will remove these or otherwise make the UI more sensible.

On the page, “File sharing over a network in Windows 10” is this:

Transcribed in caption.
Why does “Stop sharing” or “Remove access” show in File Explorer for files I haven’t shared? File Explorer shows the “Remove access” option (“Stop sharing” in older versions of Windows 10) for all files, even those that aren’t being shared over a network. [emphasis added]

What purpose does that serve that is more important than not confuzing the end users? I’ve gotten to just ignore it, but when admitted to in such a forward way it is very disreputable.

Transcribed in caption.
How do I tell which files or folders I’ve shared over a network? Open File Explorer, then type \\localhost into the address bar. Note: When you’ve shared a file from a folder in your user profile and you go to \\localhost, you’ll see your user profile and all its files there. This doesn’t mean that all of your files are shared—just that you have access to all your own files.

This is confusingly answered. All of my files are “shared” with when I look with my user account (makes sense), but this doesn’t tell me which ones are shared with anyone else. It just (that I can tell) lists the top level shares that are accessible to you with that sign in. A way to see all shares that have custom settings (that is, are changed from the default to include other users) or are user-created would be nice.

Last one isn’t the UI but concerns me. Also from the HomeGroup page:

Transcribed in caption.
After you update your PC to Windows 10 (Version 1803): HomeGroup won’t appear in File Explorer. HomeGroup won’t appear in Control Panel, which means that you can’t create, join, or leave a homegroup. [emphasis added]

So, if I am in a homegroup (note the different capitalizations) and update to 1803 (which was about 2 years ago) I’m stuck in that homegroup until I completely reinstall Windows? I hope that this is just poor technical writing for end users and what really happens is that the entire homegroup functionality is removed and its not an attack surface I have no control over.

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A hopefully entertaining blogger, frequently of technical things, but some artistic commentary too.

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