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Old December 11, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Default Guide To Setting up file sharing in Windows XP

Setting up file sharing in Windows XP

Step 1: Make sure both machines are turned on and connected to the network.

Step 2: Make sure both machines have different machine names. You can see your machine name by right clicking on the 'My Computer" icon and selecting "Properties"

Step 3: Make sure both machines are on the same workgroup. This can be what ever you want, just make sure this is the same on all machines on your LAN. You can configure this from the computer name tab accessed in Step 2, or by using the Network Wizard that comes with Windows XP.

Step 4: Enable file sharing. Windows XP disables this by default on some versions. You will need to enable it. When you do (either by hand by right clicking on a directory or hard drive, selecting Properties and then 'Sharing and Security', or by running the Network Wizard), you might be asked if you want to use "Simple File Sharing" or more advanced file sharing. Windows XP Home only supports simple file sharing normally. XP Pro supports both kinds, but recommends the Simple File Sharing. Simple sharing is less secure but easier to manage. It simplifies security by letting you say that anyone on your network can either read the share or have 'full access' to the share. Generally you want read-only.

Some notes: Windows XP will try to enable the 'Internet Connection Firewall'. You do not need to let it do this if you have a router, as this will actually block file sharing from working. Only do this IF you are directly connected to the Internet without going through a router/firewall. (All modern cable/dsl routers from e.g. Linksys, DLink, and others come with built in firewalls).

Simple file sharing is the easiest for a simple home LAN. If you have a more complicated LAN with multiple users, you can turn it off on Windows XP Pro, and instead use 'Access Control List' based file sharing. This requires that you set up user accounts on machines and manage files on a per user, or user-group basis.

Step 5: To share a file, printer, folder, or drive, right click on it and select 'Sharing...'. This will let you enter the name for the share. To test the share, open an explorer window and type in \\localhost\sharename where 'sharename' is the name you specified for the file share. Then, go to another machine on your LAN, open an explorer window and type a similar test: \\computername\sharename where 'computername' is the name of the computer (configured when you set up your network), and 'sharename' is the name you gave the share.

Step 6: On another computer on the LAN besides the one you're sharing, go to "Network Neighbourhood" and browse your workgroup. You should be able to see the share there.

Step 7: Mounting a network drive: You can mount a network drive by selecting "Map Network Drive..." under the "Tools" menu in an explorer window (not Internet Explorer, normal Windows Explorer). This will let you set up a drive letter, give you a place to enter the network path, and a checkbox to have it automatically connect on bootup if you prefer. This just makes a shortcut so you don't have to type \\computername\sharename all the time instead
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Old December 11, 2006, 07:30 PM
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Just a quick note.....

I've found that file sharing can be problematic on wireless computers.

Not sure what the issue is, but I'm thinking that file sharing isn't as forgiving of missed packets (or whatever they call it for files over a network).
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Old March 19, 2007, 10:16 PM
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one other thing i have found is that windows netbios is flaky at times. For me when the netbios names aren't working i try using the machines ip instead cause if that doesn't work then something is blocking the connection.
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