On my desktop, I right click on Macintosh HD and then on Get Info. The Shared Folder checkbox is Unchecked and under Sharing and permissions, I have:

system (read and write)
myUser (me) (read only)
wheel (read & write)
everyone (No Access)

However, if I access my Mac from a Windows machine, using the Mac's IP address, e.g \\, I am initially asked to enter my credentials to gain access. I enter my Mac credentials. I then see Macintosh HD as a folder, and basically, the whole Mac system is visible.

I can see the root folders, and access /Users/myUser and see all documents, pictures etc.

This is not good.

If Macintosh HD is not marked as Shared, why do I see that as a shared folder? I believe that having myUser (me) listed under Sharing and Permissions might be the issue here. However, if I remove myUser, then I am not able to view root folders from the terminal/console.

Thank you for all your input!

  • In sharing and permissions, do you have your MacHD listed as a shared folder? Can you post a screenshot?
    – OrangeBox
    Commented Feb 6, 2012 at 2:59

3 Answers 3


According to this answer on the Apple Support forum, if you enable (tick) a user for SMB sharing, it shares the root of the system drive (provided they are an Admin):

Users you have set up with accounts in Accounts preferences can access your computer by connecting to it over the network. A user with an administrator account can access your entire computer.

You can see the drive because you are an administrator, and you entered your password on the windows machine. If you hadn't entered your password (or had used a non-administrator account) you wouldn't have been able to see the drive.

  • Does that mean that I need to have a secondary non-admin account for access from Windows machines (or enable the guest account)? I feel that entering my Mac credentials on a Windows machine is a security breach.
    – Shailen
    Commented Feb 12, 2012 at 0:22
  • @shailenTJ Ideally yes, that is how we network at work. Though you dont need to make an entire new account, you can create sharing-only accounts
    – OrangeBox
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 6:33

I had the same issue so I looked around a bit. The info you guys are providing is correct. However I would like to add that this strange behavior is associated with the Apple ID used in both computers.

I saw this using two computers A (old) and B (new). I needed to pass information from A to B. So I shared files on B and acceses it from A. To my surprise I got access to HD and my home folder. Then I realised that I had set up the same Apple ID on both computers so it was being used for login purposes.

This behavior could be replicated accessing the remote computer using the credentials on that computer or as I'm saying using the Apple ID.

  • This explains a lot. I did exactly the same as you and was baffled why I could see the entire sharing computers contents without even having to log in or provide any credentials whatsoever.
    – swervo
    Commented Oct 26, 2017 at 14:57

No matter what folders are "shared" on your system, authenticating as a user on that particular system will enable you to access the user's home folder, the the system's root directory in the case that the user is an admin.

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