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How to Access Public Folders in a Windows 7 Home Network

Each Windows 7 library has a Public folder that allows you to share documents, pictures, videos, and music with anyone on your computer or network. Anyone with a user account on your computer or network can view, change, or delete files and folders in the Windows 7 Public folders, regardless of whether they have a Standard User or Administrator account.

To browse to the Public folders, follow these steps:

  1. Open Windows Explorer.

  2. In the left pane, click the gray arrow to the left of Libraries, then click the gray arrow to the left of Documents, Music, Pictures, or Videos to expand the folder list and view the Public folders.

    You can drag and drop files or folders to the Public folders or browse to these folders when copying and pasting, or saving files.

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  3. Open the individual library folders to access the Public folders.

    In order for others to access the Public folders on your computer, they will need to have their own user account on your computer. Each person using your network should have his own unique username and password, but that username and password should be the same on each computer on the network.

    This allows a user to log onto one computer and access the public folders on another computer on the network, without having to log in again on that computer.

Having the same username and password on all computers on your network can be risky. If your username and password is discovered by a virus or malicious user on one computer, they will potentially be able to access your account on all computers on your network.

You will have to decide whether the convenience of logging in only once is worth the tradeoff of some additional risk. Arguably, having a different username and password on each computer will slow you down more than it will a virus or attacker (because all of your usernames and passwords are likely to be variations of one username and password — it’s human nature).

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