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How to enable SMB on Windows 10

SMB or Server Messaging Block is a network protocol that’s used to access files over a network. You can use SMB on practically any popular desktop OS including Windows 10, macOS, and Linux. On Windows 10, SMB isn’t enabled by default. If you’re looking to communicate with an SMB server, you’re going to first have to enable it on Windows 10. It isn’t hard to enable but it isn’t immediately obvious which switches you have to flip. Here’s what you need to do.

Enable SMB on Windows 10

Enabling SMB on Windows 10 will require admin rights. Open the Control Panel and click ‘Program’. Under Programs and Features, click ‘Turn Windows features on or off’.

A new window will open with a list of features that can be enabled or disabled. If the window is blank, wait a few seconds (or minutes), and it will eventually populate. Scroll to the end and look for ‘SMB 1.0/CIFS File Sharing Support. Check the box next to it, and click OK. It will take a little time to enable the feature and you will have to restart your system before you can use it.

You can also enable SMB on Windows 10 from PowerShell. Open PowerShell with admin rights. If you’d like to check whether or not SMB is already enabled, run the command below.

Get-SmbServerConfiguration | Select EnableSMB2Protocol

If the command returns ‘False’, then you need to enable SMB. Run the command below to enable it.

Set-SmbServerConfiguration -EnableSMB2Protocol $true

If you want to disable SMB, you can use this command.

Set-SmbServerConfiguration -EnableSMB2Protocol $false

If you’re unfamiliar with SMB, enabling the feature is really just the first step to setting it up. You will likely have a bit of work ahead of you. If you’re prompted for a port for your Windows 10 system at any point, try 445 or 139.

While SMB is a bit tricky to set up, it is well worth the time you invest in it. If you have to use different operating systems e.g., a Mac and a Windows 10 PC, you’ll find that network sharing is the easiest way to move files between the two. It’s actually easier than using a USB since the two operating systems don’t use the same file system. You can try a USB on exFAT but then you will have to keep a dedicated disk just for transferring files. Another great advantage of using SMB is the level of control it allows you to have so that you can restrict users from accessing certain files but allow others to access them.

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