If you are looking at setting up a shared folder between windows PC at your home or office then you are at the right post. To start with i am assuming that all devices are connected to the same network – this can be a wifi router or even a hotspot created by a mobile phone.
For the purpose of this tutorial i am sharing example of windows 10, steps will be little different for other version of windows.
There are two ways to connect windows PC to network.
- Windows homegroup – It is a group of PC’s on the same network that can share files and printers.
- Share files using file explorer
Let’s first learn about Homegroups:
Method is password protected.
You can control what is being shared and with whom.
Easy to setup.
On windows 7 and above devices can be connected.
Cannot connect mac or mobile phone to the network.
Does not work on windows xp & vistas
If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, continue reading
Process to share documents with homegroup: Windows 8 & 10
Create home group – Move into control panel ( by doing right click on start menu button) under Network and internet link – move on to choose homegroup & sharing options.
You should see the create a homegroup button or If it has already been created on one of the computers on the network then you should see Join now.
If you see the join now button but still want to create one on a different PC, then you will need to click on the link – “Leave the homegroup” and follow the same steps on all the PC’s in the network.
click on create homegroup button, move on and select the folder type that you want to share with sharing permission.
Move next on the above screen and you will notice the password. On the other PC – you will see option to join the homegroup. Since homegroup on this network has already been created others can join in by entering this password.
Other PC’s will also need to select the Library or folders they wish to share on the network before they enter the password and be part of homegroup.
Once PC’s are connected with homegroup, it just takes one click to share the documents or folders.
To share individual files or folders:
Right click on the document <Share < with homegroup < Select one of the following
Homegroup view – Only view rights of the content in the folder.
View & edit – This will also give edit rights to the documents in the folder.
Note: Ensure that sharing wizard is turned on.
Other PC’s may access homegroup from windows explorer quick access window that has each drive with , Network and homegroup on the left side menu.
To reach windows explorer window, You may use the shortcut key windows+X to open power menu – click on “File explorer”.
Under Network – you will see other PC names, click on the PC name with shared folder and you have the shared folders and Libraries there.
Note: Ensure that Private network profile under homegroup connections is allowed. To learn about how to do that continue reading.
Note; PCs that are turned off, hibernating, or asleep won’t be available as part of the homegroup.
Enable network profile & File sharing:
Start menu< Settings< Network & Internet<Network & sharing center<Change advanced sharing settings.
Use the dropdown to collapse or expand each network profile. Most PC’s will have Private as their current profile- which is their home or office network. Guest or public refers to hotspots that you get in coffee shops or airports. All networks includes both private and public.
All windows that you wish to connect with network should have similar current profile. For some reasons if one of your PC has public or Guest as current profile, You can learn to make changes in network profile and make it private.
Make the following changes in network profile
Private( current profile):
Turn on network discovery.
Turn on file and printer sharing
Homegroup connections – Keep this at recommended – Allow windows to manage homegroup connections.
Guest or Public:
Turn off network discovery
Turn off file and printer sharing
Guest or public sharing is when you are sharing documents at public places like a cyber cabe, coffee shop, airport etc.
Public folder sharing: Turn on – This is users under c drive, If you turn this off, public folder will not be shared over the network.
File sharing connections: 128 bit encryption is fine.
Password protected sharing – Self explanatory.
Let’s now learn how to create a shared folder using windows explorer method.
This method is little advanced and provides higher flexibility.
If you don’t like the video or need more instructions, continue reading
Do right click on any existing folder ( you wish to share) on the PC… go to properties and then sharing tab, then open this share button under – Network file and folder sharing.
Note: if sharing button is greyed out- you may go to troubleshoot this by Going to file explorer< view tab<options menu from top right< change folder and search options<view tab – checkmark the box – use sharing wizard recommended and apply changes.
Note: To know your PC name – Right click on “This PC” < System protection from left menu< under system properties – Move to computer name tab and you can see Full computer name there.
Choose people to share with from drop down or you may choose to share it with everyone on the network. Add the user by clicking on add button. You may change permission level for sharing and share the folder.
That’s it – Since it has been shared with “Everyone”, so any user on the network can access the folder from his PC.
If you wish to go beyond a folder and want to provide access of complete drive on the network, then do right click on the drive< properties<sharing tab<Advanced sharing< checkmark the box – Share this folder. If you wish to provide Full control to the drive- Go to permissions and do the same. Otherwise default is read only access.
Note: If you wish to provide access of drive without password – then you need to connect PC’s with homegroup.
Apply and proceed…
Learn to protect shared folder with password:
- Foremost thing to do is – Under the network sharing profile – Go to All networks and from the bottom – Turn on password protected sharing – while keeping the other settings as same.
- We will now need to create a user account, on this search box – enter – netplwiz..- check this box – user must enter username and password to use this computer….
Add a profile – sign in without microsoft account < local account< enter user name, password and hint.
After creation of local account – checkmark the box – again – user must enter username and password to use this computer, Apply changes and proceed.
Note: You may choose any easy to follow Local account name and password.
- Share a folder – Click right < properties< sharing tab<Share button< choose the new local account that is created and add it, share and close the window.
Even after sharing the folder, other windows PC is not getting access to the new local account, this will show up error like below – no access..
- Authentication & users to the shared folder – Move over to the security tab of the folder.
Click on Edit button to provide permission for shared folder.
Click on Add button from the 2nd windows indicated above, Window below will pop up with blank space in the box – Enter the object name to select. Write auth there – short form of authentication and then click on check names (highlighted below in image).click ok and proceed.
After adding authenticated like indicated in screen view above , we need to follow the same steps and add users. After adding users – PC name/users should show up in the Group or user names under the security tab.
By now folder should become visible but without any password access. There are 2 more steps after this…
- Now we are moving towards the last step – under the folder properties< sharing tab < advanced sharing< permission tab< Add – Enter the name of the local account created< click on check names and it expands. Apply changes, and ok and close the windows.
That was about both the methods through which windows PC’s can be connected on network. Users can share folders with each other and collaborate. This helps to get rid of using pen drive or lan cable.
Tip : At any point of time, if shared folder does not show up, despite steps followed being correct, restart the PC and issue should get addressed.
Should you have any query regarding this, please feel free to write back in comments below.