How to browse and open shared Windows folders and change PC files from a cellphone or Android tablet on a WiFi network
One of the easiest ways to access a PC’s folders remotely is to use shared Windows folders. These folders are automatically visible on any other PC with Windows, while they are not automatically visible on an Android smartphone.
In this guide we will show you then how to navigate shared Windows folders from your Android tablet or smartphone, so you can view, copy or edit the files stored in shared folders without necessarily being in front of the PC.
The only requirement is that all devices (PCs and Android smartphones/tablets) are connected to the same modem, it does not count with which technology (the PC can be connected via Ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi, while mobile devices will necessarily be of things connected via wireless).
Share a folder on Windows
As written in the Windows file sharing guide, sharing a folder can be used to open, transfer and work on the files of another computer in the same network (LAN or Wi-Fi).
For share a folder on Windows and make it available on the net we follow the following steps:
- We right-click on the folder to share on Windows and enter the Property, let’s go to the tab Sharing and press the button Share to open the file sharing window.
- In this window, we enter the name of the user group with which you want to share the folder. Specifically, we write Everyone, we press on add and we give all read or write permissions. Keep in mind that in this way all the computers and smartphones on the network will be able to access this folder, even if they also need to know the computer’s login password.
You can indeed choose between two types of sharing: password protected or open. If it is a home network to which you connect via a protected router, then you can do open sharing, since only we will access it. To change these settings, let’s go to the Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center and click on Change advanced sharing settings. Scroll to the end of the page, open the section All networks and we deactivate (or activate) the item Password protected sharing.
The password for accessing the shared folders is the same as for accessing the operating system in the event of a secure login: in this regard, we invite you to read our guide Access on Windows 10 without a password.
Shared folders can be previewed on the computer by clicking File Explorer later on Network (in the left sidebar) and finally clicking on the name of our computer, displayed here as a network resource.
Access a shared folder from Android
To access shared folders on Windows from an Android device, we will need to have a file manager with SMB support, which is the protocol with which Windows makes shared files and folders accessible on the network. Below we will show you how to do with the best free file managers with SMB support available for Android.
One of the best file managers we can use on Android to access shared folders is Solid Explorer. After installing this app on our device, press the button in the form of + at the bottom right and select the item New remote connection.
In the window that appears, let’s tap LAN / SMB, then on Following; in the new screen, all the active shares on our network will appear in a few seconds, we will only have to select the correct one, select Following, enable the voice Guest (if we have a share without a password) or voice Username and password (if we have a protected share) on the screen Authentication, to select No in the advanced settings screen and finally tap Following to add the folder to our management system.
The folder will be added immediately to the left sidebar of the app, accessible whenever we wish (any access credentials will be saved automatically).
Another useful app for accessing Windows shared folders is File Manager, available for free for all Android devices. After adding the app to our system let’s open it, let’s tap on the icon At a distance and then on Add a remote location (also the + button on the top right is OK).
In the overlay window that appears, select Local network, we wait a few seconds to start searching for network shares so we select the one that suits us. The system will ask us what name to use for sharing and login credentials (if we don’t have a password, check the entry Anonymous). At the end of the changes, we tap OK to immediately add the shared folder to the resources available within the app.
X-plore File Manager
X-plore is one of the historical apps for managing files on phones, present on the old Nokia Symbian and up to the present day on Android devices; in fact, we can download X-plore File Manager for free on smartphones and tablets with the green robot. To use this file manager, let’s tap at the top right on the root, let’s expand the menu LAN, select the item Add server and subsequently the entry Scan Now.
The app will search for all computers with shared folders on our LAN; to add one we tap on its name. If the sharing is not protected, the shared folders will be immediately shown in the tree structure of the app, without having to do anything else; if instead the sharing is protected, we will have to make a prolonged tap on the computer name, select Add server and fill in the required fields.
If our Windows computer provides some network shares, we can easily access them using one of the file managers we showed you in the guide. If instead, we look for a way to synchronize some folders between computers and smartphones, we refer you to reading our guide to Best Cloud app for Android and iPhone in which to save files without taking up memory.
We are looking for a way to do the reverse operation, ie to share some Android folders to make them available on Windows? In this case, we advise you to read our guide on How to share files and folders on the network on Android.