Guide to share files and folders over the network from Windows PCs in order to access them from other computers
In small offices, real file servers are created which act as data archives and document repositories organized so that all employees can access them, all or just some depending on permissions.
At home, however, it is useful to keep shared folders and files to be able to work on one computer or another without differences or even to listen to music without making a double copy, see the photos saved in one of the computers and so on.
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1) Essential settings for sharing
In order to correctly share folders and files, make sure that the following features are active on the PC where you are sharing them:
- Private network access: only if we are using a private network will we have access to shared files and folders.
- Turn on network discovery: only if the PC is visible to other users will we be able to view shared network resources.
- Set up File Sharing connections: we activate file and printer sharing and advanced encryption, as seen in the dedicated guide.
- Use an account with a password: On modern Windows it is not possible to access shared resources without entering a password for the user in use on the shared PC. To avoid having to provide personal passwords we strongly recommend that you create a local user (with password) dedicated to sharing (called for example Shared).
By following these settings to the letter we will be able to always share files over the network, avoiding most of the sharing problems that re-emerge on large LAN networks.
2) Creation of shared folder
To make it as simple as possible folder sharing process To avoid permission problems, it is best to create the folder to share within the folder C:\Users\Publicaccessible by opening File Explorer (WIN+E on the keyboard) and typing the path name in the top bar.
The choice of this folder is not at all random: it already has all the permissions to view and access the fileswithout having to complicate the life of the user who wants to access the contents shared by that specific network resource.
After creating or moving the folder to Public we can go to the other computer or device, configuring it to access the shared resource using the local account dedicated to sharing.
3) Adding local user to shared folder
To avoid finding ourselves with an “empty” shared folder on the PCs that try to access our shared resources, we right-click on the folder C:\Users\Publicwe click on Propertylet’s get into the tab Sharing and press the button Share.
In the list that will appear in the drop-down menu at the top, select the local account intended for sharing (in our case Shared), press the button add and configure its access permissions (Read only o Reading/Writing).
At the end we press down on Share to start sharing all the folders inside the folder Public. If we find the account configured Everyone let’s remove it from the list of accounts authorized to access: it is better to have maximum control over the users who can access our shared folder.
4) Access to network resources from PC
To access the network resource shared by other PCs with Windows 10 or Windows 10 operating systems we open This PC or we press WIN+E on the keyboard, press on the icon Net sideways on the left and wait for the computer we shared earlier to be recognized (the name of the PC will appear at the end of the network search).
As soon as the name of the shared PC appears, double-click on it with the mouse. we enter the name and password of the shared local user and finally click on OK to access. By pressing on Store credentials before confirming we will avoid having to enter the access password each time, thus speeding up the use of shared contents.
We will see the map like this Users -> Pubblica (and all its subfolders) accessible and viewable without problems.
If we have set permissions Read only we can only open them but not modify them (or create new files inside); if instead we have set the permissions to Reading/Writing we can move them, delete them and modify them.
By following these simple steps we can share files and folders online in a simple and immediate wayavoiding the vast majority of problems that arise from sharing a private folder (where, in addition to the steps seen above, we will also have to change the access permissions to the individual folder and its files).
If we have problems with authorizations and permissions we can also read our guides on how to enter PCs and see the shared folders of other computers come on How to manage shared folder permissions in Windows.
If, however, we wanted to remove a network share, we invite you to read our article on how to remove network folder sharing on windows.