Sharing Files and Adding Network Places


If you have a network, you likely have 2 or more computers. Many times, you will want to retrieve files from a computer other than they one you're using. To do this, you have to have the other computer setup to share files and you have to have that computer as one of your network place. As a default, there is one shared folder per computer. Before we begin, make sure that all of your computers are on and connected to the router, hub or switch.

Sharing a File, Folder or Hard Drive

This first section shows you how to share network files, folders and drives. In this window, we have right-clicked on the C drive. When the dialog box pop-up, select the 'Sharing and Security' link.

This window is simply a notice that sharing can have security issues. If you're working on a large LAN (like you'd find in a university), you should be very selective about the drives, files and folders that you'd choose to share. If you're setting up a home network and everyone already has access to all of the computers, there is little danger in sharing files. If your environment is less safe, then you must weigh the risks before proceding. Click the link to procede.

Here, we need to check the box to allow it to be shared. If you were removing it from the shared resources, you would un-check it. If you want to allow others to change the files on the drive, you would check the box that enables that. This is necessary if you want to be able to work on a given file from any computer on the network. If you leave this un-checked, you will be able to retrieve the file but you will not be able to save it in it's original location. Leaving it unchecked helps prevent others from accidentally changing or deleting the file.

Note: Above, we shared an entire drive. If you have sensitive documents in some folders on that drive, you may want to share only a few, select folders. To select folder, you would double-click on the appropriate drive letter, locate the desired folder and right-click it to select the sharing and security link.

As you can see below, the shared drives on the computer have a little hand serving the drive. The same hand is under shared files and folders if they are independently shared (as when you choose not to share the entire drive). If you look at the bottom of the picture, you can see that the DVD drive is not shared.

Adding a Network Place


  • There is no reason to try to setup a shared network folder if you only have one computer.
  • Only shared network resources can be selected in the next step.
  • This is for those who have two or more computers running Windows XP.

    Since you may not have a 'My Network Places' link on your Start Menu, I'll go the safe route. Go to START >> MY COMPUTER >> on the left pane, find and click MY NETWORK PLACES. After you set up at least one network place, the My Network Places link should show up in the start menu.

    There's a good chance that the left pane will be as empty as this one. Sometimes, Windows will find a few network places on its own but, as far as I can tell, it will not reliably find any network places. You should not rely on it to do so.

    On the 'my network places' screen, find and click 'add a network place'.

    When you get to this window, read it and click NEXT.

    Since we're adding a Local Area Network file/folder/drive, you need to select the choice that i have highlighted below. After doing so, click NEXT.

    When you get to this window, you will select BROWSE.

    Here, you will select Microsoft Windows Network. It's the middle choice. Below, you can see that I've clicked on the little '+' sign to the left of Microsoft Windows Network. Since the network I want to access is MSHOME3, that's the one I expanded. I want to have access to hard drive 'E' on the computer selected. When I clicked on 'E', the list expanded once more. I un-expanded it to reduce clutter and confusion. To have this choice applied, I clicked Ok.

    Note: Above, I selected an entire drive. If you would like to select a single folder, that would also work. You should also note that you need to have the drive/folder shared on the other computer.

    This window allows you to manually enter the network address but you will leave it as it is.

    Here, you can change the name of the shortcut. If you will easily recognize the name that's there, you can leave it as it is. If you want to change it, feel free to do so. It will have no effect on the accessibility of the network link.

    If you would like to open the link that you just now setup, leave the box checked and click FINISH. I would recommend that you open the link to be sure that it works properly.

    This is what the page looks like on my computer. "Yours will reflect the files/folders on your computer.



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