Sharing folders, file sharing, shares, printer share, sharing printer

In Windows, how do I share a folder, drive, or printer on the network?

To share a folder, drive, or printer on the network in Windows, follow the appropriate instructions below.

Verifying that the sharing component is installed

By default, Windows installs the File and Printer Sharing service. To verify that it is installed on your computer:

  1. In Windows 8.x Desktop view, in the notification area, right-click the network connection icon and select Open Network and Sharing Center. From the list on the left side of the screen, choose Change adapter settings.

    In Windows 7, from the Start menu, select Control Panel. If needed, switch to Large Icon or Small Icon view, and then click Network and Sharing Center. From the list on the left side of the screen, choose Change adapter settings.

    In Windows Vista, from the Start menu, select Control Panel. If needed, click Classic View, and then double-click the Network and Sharing Center icon. From the list on the left side of the screen, choose Manage Network Connections.

    In Windows XP, from the Start menu, select Settings, and then Control Panel; alternatively, click Control Panel. On the left side of the window, click Switch to Classic View if it is available, and then double-click the Network Connections icon.

  2. Right-click the local connection icon and select Properties. In Windows XP, this icon is most likely underneath the "LAN or High-Speed Internet" heading.
  3. In the area below "This connection uses the following items:", look for File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks.
  4. If the component is available, make sure it is checked.

If the File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks component is not present, to install it:

  1. Click Install. Select Service, and then click Add... .
     
  2. Select File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks, and then click OK.
     
  3. Click Close. If a dialog window appears telling you to restart your computer, do so.Sharing a folder, drive, or printer

Once File and Printer Sharing is installed, to share a folder or drive:

  1. Right-click the folder or drive you want to share.
     
  2. In Windows 8.x and 7, click Properties. From the Sharing tab, click Advanced Sharing.

    In Windows Vista, select Share... . From the drop-down list, choose other computers you wish to share the folder with, and then click Add. Select permission levels, and then click Share.

    In Windows XP, select Sharing and Security... .

  3. Click Share this folder.
     
  4. In the appropriate fields, type the name of the share (as it appears to other computers), the maximum number of simultaneous users, and any comments that should appear beside it.
     
  5. If you would like to grant access to particular groups or individuals, click Permissions to add the appropriate groups or usernames.
     
  6. If you are using NTFS, check the permissions in the Security tab to ensure that they are properly set to allow access to the share. Because Security settings override Share permissions, it is possible for people on the Permissions list to be denied access to the share because they either are not specified or are denied specifically in the Security list.

    Note: FAT32 does not provide the same level of security as NTFS. You will not see the Security tab if you are using FAT32.

  7. Click OK.

To share a printer:

  1. In Windows 8.x and 7, from the Control Panel, open Devices and Printers.

    In Windows Vista, click Start, and then select Control Panel. Click Printers.

    In Windows XP, click Start, and then select Settings. Click Printer and Faxes.

  2. Right-click the printer you want to share. In Windows 7, click Printer Properties, and then select the Sharing tab. In Windows Vista and XP, select Sharing... .
     
  3. In Windows 8.x, 7, and Vista, check Share this Printer. Under Share name, select a shared name to identify the printer. Click OK.

    In Windows XP, select Shared as: . Enter a name for the printer, and then click OK.

Accessing a shared folder or printer

To find and access a shared folder or printer:

  1. In Windows 8.x, press Win-x  to open the Power User menu, or move your cursor to the bottom left corner of the screen and right-click. Click File Explorer, and then open Network.

    In Windows 7, from the Start menu, click Computer, and then Network.

    In Windows Vista or XP, from the Start menu, double-click Network (Vista) or My Network Places (XP).

     

  2. Select Search Active Directory. In Windows 7 and Vista, this will be at the top of the window; in Windows XP, it will be on the left side of the window.
     
  3. From the drop-down menu next to "Find:", select either Printers or Shared Folders.
     
  4. You can now enter search terms in the appropriate fields to modify the search; to start the search, click Find Now. To search for shared printers and folders that match any criteria, click Find Now without entering any search terms.
     
  5. You will see a list of shared printers and folders that are available on the network. Double-click the item to which you want to connect.

If you know the exact name of the computer and the share, or the exact name of the printer, you can enter it directly:

  1. From the Start menu, in Windows 7 or Vista, use the Start Search field. In Windows XP, select Run... .
     
  2. Enter two backslashes, the name of the computer, another backslash, and then the name of the share or printer.
  3. FOR example if the computername is  "mybigcomputer" , and the share is "art" you would enter
  4. \\mybigcomputer\art
  5. Click OK.

If you need to repeatedly access a shared folder or network drive, you can map to it. Mapping creates a persistent link to the share, allowing you to double-click its icon in My Computer whenever you want access.

 

 

 

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