XP can access Windows 8 share, but Windows 7 cannot, no homegroups

I searched all over the net and this forum. SO many threads and help for windows sharing. All my years as a network administrator and I must put aside my pride and post my question for help.

I have not had any issues with XP, Vista, and Windows 7 networking that I couldn't quickly resolve. Both on and off a domain. Though I haven't had any issues with shares on a domain.

This one has me stumped.

I have a windows 8 Pro desktop with folders shared. Some as read only to everyone, some with read/write to specific users.

I do not use a homegroup. All my windows 7 and 8 systems say "ready to create a homegroup". My XP Pro and home systems can access the shares just fine without typing in a password. As I have a general secure password user created on every machine using the same username and password. This is how I also do it on Windows XP and 7.

The issue is that my Windows 7 Home and Ultimate systems ask for a username/password to access the Windows 8 shares. Yet if I type in the generic username/password that is setup on each PC, it won't accept it. The only way I can access the shares is to use my Microsoft online based account that is setup and logged into on Windows 8. The local username/password will not work.

I just don't get why XP can access the shares without supplying the username/password, but Windows 7 requires one and will only access the online Microsoft account and not the local account credentials.

My searching has been a pain as the forum and internet is saturated with too many variations of windows share issues. And I can't seem to find any where XP can connect to a Windows 8 (or 7) share, but Windows 7 cannot. And without the use of homegroups.

I will not be using homegroups. Anyone have any suggestions?

I will keep searching. Also, just for the sake of reduced things to confirm, when testing, I have also tried turning off the firewall completely as well as my antivirus. No change. And I didn't expect it to.

I forgot to mention that I have Windows XP and Windows 7 shares and those can be accessed by XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8 just fine. It's only an issue with my Windows 8 Pro shares on my 1 PC. I have another Windows 8 Pro system, but it is currently being borrowed by family so it's not available to test.
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  1. Hmmm, I wonder if there is a utility that can compare settings between systems. I just tried a fresh Windows 7 test Virtual Machine, and it is able to reach my Windows 8, 7, and XP shares perfectly.

    No AV installed. So I thought that even though I had temporarily turned off my AV, that maybe it simply being installed was causing something. So I uninstalled it and rebooted. Same issue on my normal Windows 7 system, can't access my Windows 8 and 7 shares without using homegroup.

    But at least it looks like my Windows 8, 7, and XP shares are just fine. Looks like something with all my physical Windows 7 systems (that are not my test Virtual machine).

    Though, since I have the same issue on all my Windows 7 systems, it must be something I installed or configured on all of them. Which is so many things... doh.
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