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Ive set "Who can view the membership of the group?" to everyone when creating a security group in 2010 and im wondering what this actually does? How do users without full control view this group as they dont have the site permissions option in site actions?

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There are many ways to get to the group list, even without full control.

Groups can also be applied at a list or library level and users with full control of the list or library can be prevented from viewing group membership that way. It depends on the governance applied.

Also, even site administrators with full control will not be able to view the members of the group if that option is set to let only the group members view members. This is a way to prevent power users with full control of the site to view groups they don't own. Such groups could have been set up by a site collection admin, for example, who will always be able to see and change all group members.

  • thanks for that. You mentioned "There are many ways to get to the group list, even without full control." Are you able to list the ways please – Richard Banks Jun 4 '13 at 10:35
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    If you know the URL of a SharePoint system page, you can just type it in, without going via the Site Actions or Site Settings links. Since all SharePoint sites have the same page addresses for the system pages, all you need is a site where you have full control and a way to remember the different system pages. Then it's just a matter of trying which pages you have access to with your current permissions. – teylyn Jun 4 '13 at 10:39
  • oh really. Thanks for that. I would have thought that if you didnt have the correct permissions entering the address to the system pages would have resulted in an access denied. Seems like a bit of an oversite by ms – Richard Banks Jun 4 '13 at 10:43
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    It depends on your permissions. As a read only user, you won't be able to access most system pages. But there are many possible combinations in the permission levels that allow viewing system pages without giving you the Site Actions menu. Try the All Site Content page URL on a site where you don't see it in Site Actions. – teylyn Jun 4 '13 at 11:00
  • @teylyn Yes, there is a group owner, of course... But on the setting "Who can view the members of this group?" the only options are group members and everyone. It's impossible to "let only the group owner view members." The rest of your answer is correct. – Dan Henderson Sep 27 '15 at 22:30

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