Work around solution to USB Bug
In a previous entry I posted a bug in Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 that I discovered which resulted in a Share on an external USB drive to be inaccessible from other computers on the network regardless of user account or rights.
Microsoft has found the cause of the problem and has a workaround until an update can be released. The cause of the issue is the “Local Audit Policy” setting for “Audit object access” being set. The workaround for the problem differs depending on if you are on a domain joined machine or a stand alone machine.
On a stand alone machine, this setting can be changed on the machine which will be sharing the external drive under Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy > Security Settings > Local Policies > Audit Policy (Fig. 1A). On the right-hand side of the window double-click “Audit object access” and uncheck either box that might be checked (Fig. 1B).
If you are in a Domain environment, you will need access to Group Policy settings or assistance from whomever controls GPOs for your domain. In your Group Policy Management tool right-click the Group Policy Object (GPO) that sets Audit Policies for your domain and select Edit… In the resulting Group Policy Management Editor window drop down Computer Configuration > Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policy > Audit Policy (Fig. 2A). Double-click on “Audit object access” and uncheck “Define these policy settings” (Fig. 2B).
Once you have changed the Group Policy settings, you will need to go back to machine you are sharing the USB drive from and follow the above steps for a stand alone machine and then run GPUpdate /Force from an elevated command prompt.
My findings were that once GPUpdate had been run, Windows 8 machines were able to share USB drives immediately, while Windows Server 2012 machines still required a reboot before the policy changes took effect.
After reading this you may be thinking (hopefully you are thinking), “But wait! This will potentially disable parts of my auditing policy which I want in place.” I will cover how to minimize the impact of this change on your overall environment in my next post, so stay tuned.