NTFS Permissions vs Share Permissions

NTFS Permissions vs Share Permissions: Understanding the Difference

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In the realm of Windows file and folder management, security and access control are paramount concerns. To safeguard your data and control who can access it, Windows provides two distinct yet interrelated sets of permissions: NTFS (New Technology File System) permissions and Share permissions. Understanding the difference between these two types of permissions is essential for effectively managing access to your files and folders.


NTFS Permissions:


File-Level Security: 


NTFS permissions are primarily focused on securing individual files and folders on a local or network-attached drive. They are an integral part of the Windows file system and provide a high degree of granularity and control over who can access, modify, or delete files and folders.


Local and Remote Access: 


NTFS permissions apply both locally on the computer where the files are stored and remotely when accessed over a network. This means that NTFS permissions are effective even when files are accessed over a network share.


Inherited Permissions: 


NTFS permissions can be inherited from parent folders, meaning that permissions set at a higher level in the folder hierarchy can automatically apply to subfolders and files. This allows for efficient and consistent permission management.


Multiple User Groups: 


You can assign NTFS permissions to multiple user or group accounts, granting specific access rights to each user or group, such as read, write, modify, or full control. This fine-grained control is particularly useful for complex access scenarios.


Deny Permission: 


NTFS permissions allow you to explicitly deny access to certain users or groups, even if they have been granted access through other means. Deny permissions can be useful for overriding inherited permissions.


Share Permissions:


Folder-Level Security: 


Share permissions, on the other hand, are specifically designed for controlling access to network shares. They are limited to the shared folder level and do not apply to individual files and subfolders within that share.


Remote Access Only: 


Share permissions are effective only when files and folders are accessed over the network through a shared folder. They do not apply to local access on the computer where the files are stored.



Less Granularity: 


Share permissions offer fewer options compared to NTFS permissions. You can typically assign three levels of access: Read, Change, and Full Control. This simplicity can be useful for basic sharing scenarios but may not provide the same level of control as NTFS permissions.


No Inherited Permissions: 


Share permissions do not have the concept of inheritance. They are assigned at the share level, and any changes to share permissions do not propagate down the folder hierarchy.


No Deny Permission: 


Share permissions lack the ability to explicitly deny access to specific users or groups. If a user has permission to access a share, they cannot be denied access solely through share permissions.


Best Practices:


To effectively manage access control in a Windows environment, it is often recommended to use both NTFS and Share permissions in tandem:


Set restrictive NTFS permissions on the actual files and folders to provide detailed control over file-level access.


Use Share permissions to control access to the shared folder itself. It’s advisable to set share permissions to the least restrictive level (typically Read), and then manage the finer details using NTFS permissions.



Keep share permissions as simple as possible and use NTFS permissions for complex access scenarios. This way, you maintain a balance between security and ease of management.




NTFS permissions and Share permissions serve different purposes in managing access to files and folders in a Windows environment. While NTFS permissions provide file-level security, remote and local access control, and fine-grained control, Share permissions focus on securing shared folders over the network with limited granularity. Using both in conjunction allows for a comprehensive and flexible approach to access control and security in your Windows file-sharing setup.


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