How to Share a Folder in Windows 7 and Windows Vista - dummies

How to Share a Folder in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

By Dan Gookin

The key to accessing information on a peer-to-peer Windows network is to share folders between computers. After a folder is shared, any other user on the network can access it, using its files just like any folder on their own computer.

To share a folder in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the folder you want to share.

    You have to see the folder, not be “in” the folder.

  2. Choose Properties from the shortcut menu.

    The shortcut menu has sharing commands. But that type of sharing refers to sharing the folder between users on the same computer, not on the network.

  3. Click the Sharing tab in the folder’s Properties dialog box.

  4. Click the Advanced Sharing button.

  5. In Windows Vista, type the administrator’s password or click the Continue button.

    The Advanced Sharing dialog box appears.


  6. Place a check mark by the option Share This Folder.

  7. If necessary, type a more descriptive share name.

    The folder name already appears in the Shared Name box. Additionally, when other users see this folder available on the network, they also see your computer’s name after the folder’s name.

  8. Click OK to close the Advanced Sharing dialog box, and then click the Close button to discharge the folder’s Properties dialog box.

After the folder is shared, it appears with a sharing buddies tag on its icon.


Other computers can access the shared folder on your computer. At this point, they have read-only access, which means that they can open files or copy them from your PC but cannot add files to the folder, delete files already in the folder, or modify the folder. In order for them to do those function, set folder permissions accordingly.

  • No, you cannot share individual files — only folders.

  • Because a compressed folder is really a file, you cannot share it unless it’s inside a shared folder.

  • Share a folder within your personal area, or your “home” folder. Do not share any other folder, such as one in the Program Files or Windows folders.

  • Do not share your account folder. Doing so is a security risk.

  • Although, technically, you can share an entire hard drive by sharing its root folder, don’t. Sharing an entire drive is a security risk because it gives everyone on the network access to everything on that drive.

  • Sharing a folder doesn’t allow someone on the Internet to use that folder on your PC. Sharing works only with computers on the local network.