File sharing on Windows 11 will become more secure as Microsoft announces plans to permanently disable the SMB1 protocol across all its operating system versions.
For those unfamiliar, the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol was originally developed by IBM in the 1980s to facilitate the sharing of files, printers, and other resources over a network. SMB1, on the other hand, is a dialect of the protocol created by IBM for DOS file sharing.
In a new blog post, Ned Pyle, Principal Program Manager for the Windows Server Engineering Group, explained that Windows Insiders on the Dev Channel will be the first to see SMB1 disabled by default on all Windows 11 releases.
This makes sense since Microsoft has released Windows 10 and Windows Server without SMB1 installed since the Fall 2017 Creators Update. However, this is now being extended to all versions of Windows 11, which will no longer enable the insecure file sharing protocol.
Although SMB1 is an insecure protocol, it is still used today to connect legacy NAS devices on Windows PCs.
While the protocol will no longer be enabled by default after Windows 11, this change will not affect in-place upgrades of end users' computers already using SMB1. Microsoft also plans to remove the SMB1 binaries in a future release.
For businesses that still need to use SMB1 to connect legacy equipment such as factory machines and medical equipment, the software giant will offer unsupported out-of-band installation packages.
In his post, Nyle warned that Microsoft's SMB1 initiative could create pain points for consumers still using older hardware who may be confused as to why new business laptops running Windows 11 can't connect to their aging networks drive.