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Can Other People Mess Up Shared Files in Windows 8?

When you share libraries on Homegroups in Windows 8, you want the benefits of sharing: You want your friends and family to marvel over your photos of Costa Rican tree frogs, for example. But you don’t want anybody to delete or mess up your original files. Will sharing your files allow people to delete them or draw moustaches on your photos?

No. That’s because Homegroups show the contents of a library. And libraries actually show the contents of at least two folders: your own folder and one that’s called Public. The library displays the contents of both folders in one window, but it treats the two folders very differently. Here’s the scoop:

  • Your own folder: When you place a file or folder into one of your libraries, Windows automatically places the item in your own folder. If you’ve chosen to share that folder through the Homegroup, other people can see that folder’s files, view the photos, hear the music, or watch the videos.

    They can even make copies of them to do with as they please. But they can’t change or delete any of your original files, thankfully.

  • Public: In addition to displaying the contents of your folder, libraries display the contents of a second folder, known as the Public folder. The Public folder remains fair game for anybody and everybody. Anything you place inside the Public folder can be changed or deleted by anybody else. But because you made the decision to put it in the Public folder rather than in your own folder, you want that to happen: You want somebody to offer advice to your term paper, for example, or to touch up your photos and burn them to a DVD.

So, when you want to collaborate with others on a file, place that item in your library’s Public folder.

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.

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