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Monday, August 4, 2008

How to share files and folders

In this article I will show you how to share files and folders with other users that are connected to your computer or your network. Before following these steps, make sure you have turned on network discovery and file sharing. If file sharing is not turned on, you will not be able to share your files.

You have two options for sharing: you can use the default 'Public' folder or you can share any folders that you want other users to access. When using the 'Public' folder, you gain the simplicity of sharing everything from one single location and you don't need to configure sharing permissions. The main disadvantage is the fact that, in order to share, you have to copy the files and folders to the 'Public' folder. So you might end up having the same files or folders twice on your computer, which will waste valuable space on your hard disk.

When using any folder for sharing, you can set different sharing permissions for different folders, so that you can control the way other users can access or modify the shared content. It is recommended that you use this method mostly when sharing large files, as you eliminate the result of having two copies of the same file or folder.

How to use the 'Public' folder for sharing

First, enable the 'Public folder sharing' option from the Network and Sharing Center. When enabling it, you can give others 'Read-only' permissions by choosing the first option or you can give them full access by choosing the second option.

Once the 'Public' folder sharing is turned on, each time you start Windows Explorer or you open the Computer shortcut, you will see it as a sub-folder of the Desktop folder.

The default path on your hard disk is "C:\Users\Public\." To share a file or folder, just copy it to the 'Public' folder or to any of its sub-folders.
If you don't want that file or folder to be shared any more, just remove it from the 'Public' folder or move it to another location on your hard disk.

How to share a folder from its own location

If you want to share a folder, browse until you find it, right click on it and select Share from the right-click menu.

The File Sharing wizard will now start. By default, the sharing access is given only to your user account.

To give access to other people, select their user account names from the scroll list as shown below. If you want to give access to all the users from your network, select Everyone.

Then click the Add button.

In order to configure the sharing permissions select each of the listed users, click on the arrow shown in the Permission Level column and select the level you desire. If you set the permission level to Reader, the user will be able to open the files from the shared folder but will not be able to modify them in any way. His access will be read-only. When selecting Contributor, the user will be able to open and modify files. When you set it to Co-owner, the user will be able to remove and create other files and folders. If you select Remove, that user account will be removed from the list of users that have access to the shared folder.

When finished, click on the Share button. If UAC is turned on, you will have to confirm your settings.

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