How to Enable Access-Based Enumeration (ABE) on Windows Server

Access-based Enumeration (ABE) permits on a community shared folder to cover objects (information and folders) from customers who don’t have NTFS permissions (Read or List) to entry them. Thus you possibly can present extra confidentiality of knowledge saved in a shared folder (due to hiding the construction and names of folders and information), enhance its usability since customers received’t see odd information (they don’t have entry to) and, what’s extra vital, save a system administrator from fixed questions of customers «Why I can’t entry this folder!!!». Let’s strive to contemplate this technology, configuration peculiarities and use of ABE in numerous Windows variations intimately.

How does entry to shared folders work in Windows?

One of the drawbacks of community shared folders technology in Windows is the truth that by default all customers might a minimum of see its construction and the listing of all information and directories in such a folder together with people who they don’t have NTFS permissions to entry (when attempting to open such file or folder, a consumer receives the error «Access Denied»). Why not cover these information and folders from the customers who don’t have permissions to entry them? Access-based Enumeration may help doing it. By enabling ABE on a shared folder, you possibly can be certain that totally different customers see a distinct listing of folders and information in the identical community share based mostly on the consumer’s particular person entry permissions (ACL).

How does the interplay between the shopper and the server happen when accessing a shared folder over the SMB?

  • A shopper requests the server to entry a listing within the community shared folder;
  • The LanmanServer service on the server checks the consumer permissions to entry this folder;
  • If entry is allowed (NTFS permissions: listing content material, learn or write), the consumer sees the listing contents;
  • Then the consumer requests entry to a file or a subfolder in the identical manner (you possibly can view who opened a selected file in a community folder like );
  • If the entry is denied, the consumer is notified accordingly.

According to this scheme, it turns into clear that the server firstly reveals your complete contents of the folder to the consumer, and the NTFS permissions are checked solely when the consumer tries to open a selected file or folder.

Access-based Enumeration (ABE) permits to test entry permissions on file system objects earlier than the consumer receives a listing of the folder contents. So, the ultimate listing contains solely these objects a consumer has NTFS permissions to entry (a minimum of read-only permission), and all inaccessible sources are merely not displayed (hidden).

It implies that a consumer from one division (e. g., warehouse) will see one listing of information and folders in a shared folder (filesrv1docs). As you possibly can see solely two folders are displayed for the consumer: Public and Warehouse.

And a consumer from one other division, e. g., IT division (which is included in one other Windows safety group), a distinct listing of subfolders is proven. In addition to the Public and Warehouse directories, this consumer sees 5 extra directories in the identical community folder.

The principal drawback of utilizing ABE on the Windows file servers is the further load on the server. It is very outstanding in excessive load file servers. The extra objects there are within the considered listing, and the extra customers open information on it, the longer the delay is. According to Microsoft, if there are 15,000 objects (information and directories) within the displayed folder, a folder is opened 1-Three seconds slower. This is why when designing a shared folder construction, it is suggested to pay a lot consideration to making a transparent and hierarchical subfolder construction to make a delay when opening folders much less evident.

Note. You ought to perceive that Access-based Enumeration doesn’t cover the listing of the community shared folders on a file server, it hides solely their contents. If you want to cover a shared folder from a consumer, you have got to add a $ image on the finish of the share identify.

You can handle ABE from the command immediate (abecmd.exe utility), from the GUI, PowerShell or a particular API.

Access-Based Enumeration Restrictions

Access-based Enumeration on Windows doesn’t work within the following instances:

  • If you might be utilizing Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 with out Service Pack 1 as a file server;
  • If you might be viewing directories domestically (straight from the server);
  • For members of the native file server directors group (they all the time see the total listing of information).

Using ABE on Windows Server 2008/ 2008 R2

In Windows Server 2008/R2 to use the Access Based Enumeration performance no extra parts want to be put in, for the reason that ABE administration characteristic is already constructed into the Windows GUI. To allow Access-based Enumeration for a sure folder in Windows Server 2008/2008 R2, open the MMC administration console Share and Storage Management (Start –> Programs –> Administrative Tools ->Share and Storage Management). Go to the properties of the mandatory share. Then go to the Advanced settings and test Enable access-based enumeration.

Configuring Access-based Enumeration on Windows Server 2012 R2/ 2016

ABE configuration within the Windows Server 2012 R2 / 2016 can also be quite simple. To allow ABE in Windows Server 2012, you firstly have to set up File and Storage Services function, after which go to the share properties within the Server Manager.

In Settings part test the choice Enable access-based enumeration.

Implementing Access-Based Enumeration on Windows Server 2003

In Windows Server 2003 (not supported now), ABE turned supported ranging from Service Pack 1. To allow Access-based Enumeration in Windows Server 2003 SP1 (or later), you have got to obtain and set up a package deal following this hyperlink During set up you have got to specify whether or not ABE might be enabled for all shared folders on your server otherwise you’ll configure it manually. If you select the second choice, a brand new tab, Access-based Enumeration, will seem within the community share properties after the set up.

To activate ABE for a sure folder, test the choice Enable access-based enumeration on this shared folder in its properties.

It must also be famous that Windows 2003 helps DFS-based Access Based Enumeration, however it may be configured solely from the command immediate utilizing cacls.

Managing ABE from the Command Prompt

You can handle Access-based Enumeration settings from the command immediate utilizing Abecmd.exe utility. This software is part of Access-based Enumeration package deal for Windows Server 2003 SP1 (see the hyperlink above).

Abecmd.exe permits to activate ABE for all directories without delay or just for a few of them. The subsequent command allows Access-Based Enumeration for all shares:

abecmd /allow /all

This one is for a sure folder (e.g., a community shared folder with the identify Docs):

abecmd /allow Docs

Managing Access Based Enumeration Using PowerShell

You can use the SMBShare PowerShell module (put in by default in Windows 10/ eight.1 and Windows Server 2016/2012 R2) to handle the settings of Access Based Enumeration for particular folders. Let’s listing the properties of a selected shared folder:

Get-SmbShare Install|fl *

Note the worth of the FolderEnumerationMode attribute. In our case, its worth is Unrestricted. This implies that ABE is disabled for this folder.

You can test the standing of ABE for all shared folders of the server:

Get-SmbShare | Select-Object Name,FolderEnumerationMode

To allow ABE for a selected folder:

Get-SmbShare Install | Set-SmbShare -FolderEnumerationMode AccessBased

You can allow Access Based Enumeration for all revealed community folders (together with administrative shares ADMIN$, C$, E$, IPC$,…) by working the command:

Get-SmbShare | Set-SmbShare -FolderEnumerationMode AccessBased

To disable ABE use the command:

Get-SmbShare Install | Set-SmbShare -FolderEnumerationMode Unrestricted

Access-Based Enumeration in Windows 10 / eight.1 / 7

Many customers, particularly in residence or SOHO networks, additionally would love to use Access-Based Enumeration options. The downside is that Microsoft shopper OSs have neither graphical, nor command interface to handle Access-Based Enumeration.

In Windows 10 (Server 2016) and Windows eight.1 (Server 2012R2), you should utilize PowerShell to handle Access-based Enumeration (see the part above). In older variations of Windows, you want to set up the latest model of PowerShell ( >= or use the abecmd.exe utility from the Windows Server 2003 package deal, it really works positive on shopper OSs. Since the Windows Server 2003 Access-based Enumeration package deal just isn’t put in on Windows 10, eight.1 or 7, you have got to set up it first on Windows Server 2003, after which copy it from the C:windowssystem32 listing to the identical folder on the shopper. After that, you possibly can allow ABE in accordance with the instructions described above.

Note. In company setting, ABE combines completely with DFS folders by hiding folders from the consumer and offering a extra handy construction of the general public folders tree. You can allow ABE in DFS utilizing DFS Management or dfsutil.exe:
dfsutil property abde allow namespace_root

In addition, you possibly can allow ABE on computer systems within the AD area utilizing GPO. This is completed utilizing GPP within the part: Computer Configuration -> Preferences -> Windows Settings -> Network Shares).

In the properties of the community folder there may be an Access-Based Enumeration choice, when you change the worth to Enable, ABE mode might be enabled for all shared folders created utilizing this GPO.

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