Share Files among Windows 8 Account Holders - dummies

Share Files among Windows 8 Account Holders

By Andy Rathbone

Normally, the Windows 8 user account system keeps everybody’s files separate, effectively thwarting Jack’s attempts to read Jill’s diary. But what if you’re co-writing a report with somebody, and you both want access to the same file? Sure, you can e-mail the file back and forth to each other, or you can store the file on a flash drive and carry the flash drive from PC to PC.

But for an easier way, head to the Windows desktop and use the Library system. Place a copy of that file in a Public folder in one of your libraries. When placed in a Public folder, that file then shows up in everybody’s library, where anybody can view, change, or delete it. (Even visitors signing in with the Guest account can view, change, or delete items in a Public folder.)

Items placed in a Public folder even show up in the other computers connected through a Homegroup, a simple networking system.

Here’s how to find the Public folders living in your libraries and copy files into them for sharing with others:

  1. From the desktop, open File Explorer.

    If you’re on the Start screen, click the Desktop tile. When on the desktop, click the File Explorer icon, which is shown in the margin.

    File Explorer appears, displaying your four libraries in its left pane: Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

  2. Double-click the library where you want to share your files.

    Double-click the Music library, for example, and the Music library reveals the two folders living inside it: My Music and Public Music.

    To double-click on a touchscreen, tap twice in rapid succession.


    Every one of your four libraries constantly displays the contents of a Public folder, as well as the contents of your personal folder.

    The beauty of Public folders is that their contents appear in everybody’s library. If Nicole puts a music file into her Public Music folder, it automatically appears in Virginia’s Public Music folder, as well.

  3. Copy the file or folder you want to share to the appropriate library’s Public folder.

    You can drag and drop the item directly into the Public folder’s icon on the Navigation Pane along the folder’s left edge. As soon as the item is in the Public folder, it automatically appears in everybody’s library, where they can open, change, or even delete it. (Because it can be deleted, it’s sometimes wiser to copy items into the Public folder rather than move them.)

Here are some other Public folder tips:

  • To see exactly what items you’re sharing, examine your own libraries, displayed in every folder’s Navigation Pane. For example, to see what music you’re sharing publicly, double-click the word Music in your library and then click Public Music. The contents of that folder can be accessed, changed, or deleted by anybody.

  • If you find some things in your Public folder you don’t want to share anymore, move them back into your own folder. For example, move that Beatles album from your Music library’s Public Music folder to your Music library’s My Music folder.

  • If you connect your PCs through a network, you can create a Homegroup — a simple way of sharing files between PCs in the home or small office. After you create a Homegroup, everybody on any PC in your network can share everything in the libraries you choose. It’s a simple and convenient way to share all your photos, music, and videos.

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