Group Policy does what it says

A customer I know wanted to block users from browsing the network, so they enabled the following two Group Policy settings found under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Explorer:

No computers near me in my network places

No entire network in my network places

After doing this, they discovered that users could still use UNC paths to access network shares directly. Why? Because these Group Policy settings did exactly what they were supposed to do, not what the customer actually wanted i.e. disable network browsing. Moral of the story? Read the description of a Group Policy setting carefully before you enable it so that you know what it will actually do!


Mitch Tulloch is lead author for the Windows Vista Resource Kit from Microsoft Press, which is THE book for IT pros who want to deploy, maintain and support Windows Vista in mid- and large-sized network environments. Mitch is also the author of Introducing Windows Server 2008, the first book from Microsoft Press about the exciting new server platform. For more information on these and other books written by Mitch, see

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