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How to Share Folders and Documents on a Windows 8 Network

Sharing something across the network allows other computers to see it when browsing. Windows 8 takes the safe and conservative approach by default: Nothing is shared across a network until specifically set. However, you can share a folder and all its contents by following these steps:

  1. Click the File Explorer icon on your Desktop taskbar to open the Explorer window; then navigate to the folder’s location.

  2. Right-click the folder and then choose Share With from the menu that appears.

  3. To share a folder — allowing full read/write access with your Homegroup — choose the Homegroup (View and Edit) entry.

    You can choose the Homegroup (View) entry from the menu if you want to allow others in your Homegroup to open and read files, but not make any changes to them.

  4. To share the folder with only certain users (instead of everyone in your Homegroup), choose the Specific People entry.

    Type the username to select an individual user to whom you’re granting sharing privileges. You can click the Permission Level pop-up menu to set the read or read/write access to the folder and its contents. Then click the Share button to return to the Explorer window.

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    Windows 8 provides convenient links for e-mailing the location of your shared files and folders, or you can choose to copy the links into the Clipboard for pasting later into a document (like a Word document).

You can also share a drive in the same fashion, but Microsoft cautions against it. You should assign only one shared folder on each drive on each computer in your network.

When you share a folder, you place everything in that folder on the network. Therefore, if there’s even one item (either a document or a subfolder) that you don’t want to distribute with others inside a folder, do not share that folder!

After a folder is enabled with read/write access, its contents can be opened, saved, moved, or copied, including from within the File Open, Save, and Browse dialog boxes, which are common throughout Windows 8 and your applications.

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