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Sharing folders in Windows 7 Enjoy the flexibility to share documents, digital photos, and other files without using CDs or flash drives. With a home network, you can keep a central schedule that can be accessed and updated by every member of the family. Your family can play multi-user games or use one central computer to store pictures, videos, and other multimedia files that can be accessed from any computer on the network.

To share folders on a home network:

Step 1: Introduction to sharing folders in Windows 7

Once you've set up your home network, it's time to take advantage of your ability to share folders and files. We live in a world of home offices, digital photographs and home movies, electronic gaming, and fast-paced schedules. Your home network can be an integral part of your household's entertainment and communication.

Holidays and vacations are rich in family moments captured by your digital camera and the new digital video recorder. Now what do you do with the pictures and videos? Why not store them on your home network in a shared folder so everyone in the household can see them? Let your family select the photos they want to print or the videos they want to burn to DVD.

Play multi-player computer games with the other members of your family across your home network. You can play against the other members of your family or join them as partners against opponents on the Internet.

Having trouble keeping up with everyone's schedule? Create a master schedule where everyone enters the appointments, recitals, soccer games, and events in a shared folder.

A notebook computer on a wireless home network allows you to store the files of a large project on the larger capacity of your desktop computer while enjoying the flexibility to work on your notebook computer anywhere within the range of your wireless router. You can work from your patio, on the couch by the fireplace, or any other location within your router's range.

It takes only a few minutes to configure file sharing on your home network, and you'll be ready to enjoy the additional benefits it offers.

Step 2: Enabling file sharing in Windows 7

  1. Click Start in the lower left Taskbar and then click Control Panel. [Show Me]

  2. Click Network and Internet. [Show Me]

  3. Click Network and Sharing Center. [Show Me]

  4. Confirm that Home Network is selected as the network type. This allows it to be discovered by the other computers in your workgroup.

  5. Click Change advanced sharing settings in the left navigation panel.
Change Advanced Sharing Settings

Configuring sharing security

  1. Select Turn on network discovery as the Network discovery option.

    Sharing Options
  2. Select Turn on file and printer sharing as the File and printer sharing option.

  3. Select Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can read and write files in the Public folders if you want to allow others users on your network to share the files included in your Public folders.

  4. Select Use 128-bit encryption to help protect file sharing connections (recommended) unless one of your devices is incompatible with 128-bit encryption. [Show Me]

  5. Select Turn on password protected sharing to require the use of a password before files or printers can be shared. [Show Me]

Step 3: Selecting your shared folders in Windows 7

After you have enabled folder sharing, you must select the folders you're willing to share. You specify not only what folders you want to share, but also control who can access the files and the level of permissions they have. For example, you can share a folder called Family Photos with everyone in your family and assign them the Read/Write permission level so they can view the shared files, add files, and change or delete any files they added to the folder.

  1. Double-click the Computer icon on your desktop. [Show Me]

  2. If this is the first time you're selecting the folders you want to share, it's important to confirm that the Sharing Wizard is enabled. If you're sure the Sharing Wizard is enabled, you can skip to Step 3.
    • Click Organize in the top left menu bar. [Show Me]

    • Click Folder and search options.

    • Click the View tab.

    • Scroll to the bottom of the Advanced Settings and confirm that Use Sharing Wizard (Recommended) is selected.

    Sharing Wizard

    • Click OK.

Controlling access to your shared folders in Windows 7

  1. In Windows Explorer, select the folder you want to share and click Share with.

    Share with
  2. Select Specific people.

  3. Click the drop-down arrow in front of the Add button and select the person with whom you're willing to share this folder.



  4. Click Add.

Selecting permissions for shared folders in Windows 7
  1. The person you've selected for sharing is initially assigned "Read" permissions. To change the level of permissions, click the down arrow after the permission level and select Read/Write.

    Share Permissions
    • Read permission limits the user to viewing the shared files. Shared files cannot be changed or deleted.
    • Read/Write permission allows the user to view, change, add, or delete files in the shared folders.

  2. Repeat Steps 5 - 7 for each user with whom you're sharing this folder.

  3. Click Share when you have added everyone with whom you want to share this folder. [Show Me]

  4. Click Continue if the User Control window displays. Depending on the number and size of the files in the selected folder, it may take several minutes for Windows 7 to set all the correct permissions and display the "Your folder is shared" message.

  5. To view all the shared folders on your computer, click the Show me all the network shares on this computer link. [Show Me]

  6. Close the Shared folder window.

  7. Click Done to finish setting up this shared folder.

Step 4: Accessing shared folders in Windows 7

After you have enabled file sharing in the Network and Sharing center and have selected the folders to share, you can now access the shared folders as if they were stored on your computer.

  1. Double click the Computer icon on your Desktop. [Show Me]

  2. Click Network in the left navigation panel. [Show Me]

  3. Double-click the icon of the computer that has the shared folder you want to access.

    Network Folders

  4. Open the shared folder and navigate to the file you want to open, just as if it were stored on your computer.

See also: Sharing printers in Windows 7

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