How to Share a Folder in Windows XP - dummies

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.

You share a folder in Windows XP by obeying these steps:

  1. Find the folder you want to share.

  2. Right-click the folder’s icon.

  3. Choose Sharing and Security from the shortcut menu.

    The folder’s Properties dialog box appears with the Sharing tab upfront.

  4. Choose the option Share the Folder On the Network.

  5. (Optional) Type a share name.

    Windows automatically sets the share name to the folder name. Although the folder name might make sense on your PC, you may need something more descriptive for network users.

  6. Click OK to share the folder.

After the folder is shared, it appears with a Serving Hand 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.

  • 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.