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Before you can share your files or your printer with other network users, you must set up a Windows File and Printer Sharing feature. Without this feature installed, your computer can be a network client but not a server. Here, you find out how to enable this feature for Windows XP.

If you’re lucky, the File and Printer Sharing feature is already set up on your computer. To find out, double-click the My Computer icon on your desktop. Select the icon for your C: drive and then click File on the menu bar to reveal the File menu.

If the menu includes a Sharing command, File and Printer Sharing is already set up. If you can’t find a Sharing command on the File menu, you have to install File and Printer Sharing before you can share a file or printer with other network users.

To enable File and Printer Sharing on a Windows XP system, follow these steps:

  1. From the Start menu, choose Settings→Control Panel.

    The Control Panel comes to life.

  2. Double-click the Network Connections icon.

    The Network Connections window appears.

  3. Right-click Local Area Connection and choose Properties.

    The Local Area Connection properties dialog box appears.

  4. Make sure the File and Print Sharing for Microsoft Networks option is checked.

  5. Click OK.

While you’re working in the Network dialog box, don’t mess around with any of the other network settings. You can safely change the File and Print Sharing options, but leave the rest of the settings in the Network dialog box alone.

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