Actually, the purpose of the ForceGuest registry key is to turn on or turn off the "classic" Security Tab so administrators are able to change the rules in Discretionary Access Control Lists. DACLs are associated with directories and files. The default for some SKUs of Windows XP is to make the security tab in Windows Explorer go missing. This has something to do with the "Guest" user being "forced" to logon in some peculiar way when a computer belongs not to a Domain but to a Workgroup. It was decided 10 or 15 years ago that having a Guest logon to a Workgroup posed a major problem if the Security tab were to remain available by default. So it was whisked away and the ForceGuest key was born with this lame "explanation."
This isn't a technical problem so much as another iteration of the inability of puzzler-style technologists to describe and explain what they decide to do and why. Now, if I want the Security tab to appear, do I want to force guests on or do I want to force guests off? I dunno.
"It was decided 10 or 15 years ago that having a Guest logon to a Workgroup posed a major problem if the Security tab were to remain available by default."
Actually, I think it was more to do with making XP more friendly to people coming from the Win 9x line by trying to hide some of the complexity of NT Security. That's one of the reasons the security tab was hidden, because it was deemed to complicated for Home users to grasp.
At a guess, I'd say ForceGuest=1 turns on 'XP Home' mode, hiding the security tab and treating all network users as the 'Guest' account for sharing purposes. Still, it's only a binary switch so it's not exactly major hassle to try it and see.
Since the whole thing has effectively been superseeded by HomeGroups as a much easier way of configuring sharing between Home computers, it seems a bit late to complain about the KB article now.
Comments have been closed since this content was published more than 30 days ago, but if you'd like to continue the conversation, please create a new thread in our Forums, or Contact Us and let us know.