48. About Accessing Network Resources
After network resources such as printers and folders have been shared, you and other workgroup members can access these resources. Access any available workgroup resources by opening My Network Places. The My Network Places window shows the shares (folders) that are currently available to the workgroup. It also identifies the host of each share by computer name. Workgroup members can access printers shared by a particular workgroup computer by opening the My Network Places window and selecting the View workgroup computers link. From this window, you can view all the resources shared by a particular computer, including printers.
If you don't see a particular share you were hoping to access, this might mean that the computer that hosts the share is currently turned off and is not available. In some cases, the host computer may be on but the share isn't showing in the My Network Places windows because the host computer's presence on the network hasn't reached your computer yet. Computers "advertise" their presence on the network and also advertise the shares they offer. If a computer has just been turned on, it might not appear in your My Network Places window because the "advertisement" hasn't reached your computer yet. In cases where you don't see a resource that you know is there, you can do a quick search for the computer using the Windows Search feature (available in the Start menu). If you still can't locate and access the other computer's shares, you might have a connectivity problem. For information on dealing with network connectivity problems, see About Network Connection Problems.
In terms of working with printer shares, the point of accessing the remote, shared printer is to print. So you connect to the printer once (and only once), which makes the printer available to you (and your computer) as if the printer were directly connected to your computer. The printer is actually added to the Printer list on your computer. After the remote printer is "installed" on your computer (that is, when you have connected to it through the workgroup as explained in Connect to a Shared Printer), the printer appears in the Printer and Faxes window (accessed from the Control Panel) as any directly connected local printer would. After you establish the initial connection (through My Network Places), the printer is available to you from that time forward or until you delete the printer from your printer settings. The only downside of printing to a remote printer is that the computer sharing the printer must be on and the printer must be on for you to print over the network.
Shared folders, as already mentioned, can be accessed from the My Network Places window. You can expedite the access of shared folders by mapping a shared folder as a network drive (as discussed in Map a Network Drive). You can also create a network place for remotely shared folders as discussed in Add a Network Place.