Sunday, July 31, 2011

Simple way to enable sharing in Windows 7

Windows 7 makes an attempt to simplify file sharing between different systems. However, it feels more complicated than it needs to be. I still have not completely understood how files/folders can be shared. There are too many options and it is not clear how the options are related. For example, there are homegroups. This is suppose to make it easier for computers on the same homegroup to share files. If you right click on a file, you can share with a homegroup or you can share with specific people. Furthermore, if you right click on a file and select "Properties", there is a "Sharing" tab that allows you to further set sharing preferences. There is also an "Advanced Sharing" button that lets you set even more options. If this is not enough, under the "Advanced sharing settings" in the "Network and Sharing Center", there are even more options relating to file sharing. Huh?

The easiest way to read and write files on another computer is to enable access to a remote computer's Public folder. To do this, on the remote computer, click the start menu and type "Manage advanced sharing settings". Click on the search result. Open the profile corresponding to your network. Under "Password protected sharing", click on "Turn off password protected sharing," and click "Save changes."

To test this, open an Explorer window and in the address bar, type \\[remote computer name]. You will now be able to access the remote computer's Public folder.

If you're curious, you can read Microsoft's page on how sharing works.

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