Section 47. Share a Folder

47. Share a Folder


About Sharing Network Resources

You can share a folder or a drive with other users on the network. Sharing a container such as a folder or a drive allows users in the workgroup to access any of the files on that drive or in that folder. It generally is not a good idea to share an entire drive because we typically have content on a drive to which we want exclusive access. It makes more sense to either place specific files in your Shared Documents folder (which is shared automatically on the network) or to share individual folders. Limiting the shared files and folders in this way provides you more control over the files that are actually accessible by workgroup users.

In terms of security for the file and folders you choose to share, Windows XP Home Edition allows you to designate that the access to files on a drive or in a shared folder be read only. Assigning read-only access to your shared files and folders means that a user on the network can access, open, and read these files but they cannot make changes to the files and save the changes directly to the source drive or folder (the drive or folder you have shared). They can, however, copy the file to their own computer and then edit or change the file as they see fit, including renaming the file.

Key Term

Read-only access A file or folder that can be accessed, opened, and read but that cannot be changed and saved directly to the source drive or folder. Such files and folders can, however, be copied and then edited or changed.

Sharing folder and file resources in a workgroup requires that all users on the network "play nice." Because no single administrator controls access to network resources, everyone has to behave in a manner that makes the sharing of drives, folders, and files a plus for all network users rather than a nightmare of accidentally deleted files, missing shares, and other resource problems.

In terms of removable media and "portable" USB drives, you can share CD/DVD drives and removable USB drives. However, if a user removes a USB drive from the computer, it is no longer available over the network. In terms of sharing CD/DVD drives, you can access the folders (and the contained files) for any CD or DVD that is placed in the shared drive. I actually use this technique when I need to install software (for which I have multiple licenses) to more than one computer. The installation CD can go in the shared CD drive and then I can access the installation program from any computer in the workgroup. Be advised, however, that installing software is slower over the network than actually installing the software directly on the computer using its own CD/DVD drive.


Although you can share folders that contain the executable files for an application, you can't run the application over the network. Applications are designed to be installed and then run from the same computer, so even though you can access the executable file for an application in a shared folder, your computer isn't configured to really run the application (and so the application won't run). Because the user license for most applications denies concurrent use of an application, you shouldn't try to get away with running more than one instance of a single user software package anyway. There are "network" versions of software applications, but these are designed to run on a network that provides specific servers that share the applications with the end-user computers on the network.

Share a Folder

Access My Computer

Click the Start button and then select My Computer from the Start menu (you can also double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop if it is present). Windows Explorer opens, showing all your computer's drives.


If you don't have the My Computer icon on your Windows XP desktop, click the Start button and then right-click the My Computer icon in the Start menu. Select Show on Desktop from the context menu that appears. The icon now appears on the desktop and can be used to access Windows Explorer.

Open Drive

To share a folder, you need to access the folder. Double-click the icon for a drive in Windows Explorer, such as your Local Disk (C:) drive. A list of all the folders contained in that drive appears in a new window.


Rather than sharing an existing folder, consider creating a new folder and then sharing it. After accessing a drive on your computer using Windows Explorer, choose File, New, Folder. A new folder appears for the drive in the Windows Explorer window. Type a name for the folder. You can then share the folder as discussed in this task.

Open Folder Properties Sharing Tab

To share a folder in the selected drive, you must open the folder's Properties dialog box and then access the Sharing tab: Right-click the folder you want to share and select Sharing and Security from the context menu. The folder's Properties dialog box opens with the Sharing tab selected.


You can also right-click a drive icon such as the Local Drive (C:) icon and share the drive using the same steps as sharing a folder. However, sharing an entire drive opens up all your files to the network. Sharing a drive in this way means that all your documents and other items can be viewed by others on the network. You can make the drive read-only to negate the accidental deletion of your files, but you are still making all your personal information an open book to anyone with network access.

Share Folder and Provide Share Name

On the Sharing tab, click the Share this folder on the network check box. A default share name appears in the Share name text box (the default name is based on the folder name). If you want to change the share name, select the default text and type a new name. If all the computers in the workgroup are running Windows XP, you can use 31 characters (including spaces) for the share name. If your workgroup computers are running a mixture of operating systems (such as Windows XP and Windows 98), use a maximum of 12 characters for the share name and don't use spaces.

Set Access Rights

If you want to allow network users to change (meaning edit, delete, and so on) the files in the shared folder, click the Allow network users to change my files check box. If you want the files in the shared folder (as well as the folder itself) to have read-only access, leave the Allow network users to change my files check box deselected.

When you are ready to complete the folder-sharing process, click OK. The Properties dialog box closes and you return to the Windows Explorer window. The folder is now marked with a sharing icon (a hand holding the folder). The folder and its contents can now be accessed by other users in the workgroup. See About Accessing Network Resources for information about accessing shared files and folders on the network.

Home Wireless Networking in a Snap
Home Wireless Networking in a Snap
ISBN: 0672327023
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 158
Authors: Joe Habraken © 2008-2017.
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