The ability to share information is the number one reason why computers have proliferated across the globe. For example, by sharing resources, we have the ability to purchase a single computer to serve the data management needs of tens, if not hundreds of users, rather than have copies of working files placed on every single desktop. Such a sharing implementation offers many significant advantages in the areas of backup, security, and version control.
But, once you open up the files on your system to other users, you will likely have concerns about what those users can do to those files. If you're simply trying to access your bedroom computer from the laptop in your basement, for example, you can probably accomplish all your goals with XP Home's Simple File Sharing.
If, however, you're sharing information with users outside you immediate family, you will likely want to implement the more robust method of sharing available with XP Professional. Also, if letting others access files, it's important to ensure that Service Pack 2's new Windows Firewall component is allowing the File and Print Server sharing.
Lastly, in this chapter we looked briefly at interoperability with Apple computers. It certainly was not a comprehensive look, but at least you now know how to get your latest iMovie creation or iTunes library from one system to another. As more and more households add a second and third computer, this ability to network not only XP-to-XP but also XP-to-Apple will become more essential.
In the next chapter, I'll share many email and Internet techniques that will ensure a better experience when using these three oft-used applications: Windows Messenger, Outlook Express, and Internet Explorer.