5 Simple Steps for Sharing

5 Simple Steps for Sharing

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    Step 1: Create a Workgroup

    Before you can interact with the other computers in your home or office, you need to create a workgroup. To do this, go to Start > Settings > Control Panel > Network Connections > "Set up a home or small office network." You will then be asked to choose a connection method. Select "This computer connects to the Internet through another computer on my network or through a residential gateway."


    Unless you are working with only XP systems in your home or office, choose "Create a network setup disk" when prompted. This will create a floppy disk that you can use to run the wizard on any non-XP system.

    Now just run the wizard on all the other systems in your home or office. On non-XP systems, browse the floppy disk and run the file NETSETUP.EXE. When configuring each system, assign each computer a different name, but use the same workgroup name every time. Congrats, you've created a workgroup and you can now begin sharing files and folders among the computers.

    Step 2: Allow file sharing

    You are able to choose specifically what you want to share. Whether it be a folders, or just single files on each computer, but only the individual user who has administrator priveleges can apply the settings. If you are the only user, then you are the Administrator. Yet, if you are unsure, you can check who has these priviliges, by going to Start > Settings > Control Panel > User Accounts.


    To share a specific folder, first right-click its icon and select "Sharing and Security." Click the Sharing tab and select "Share this folder." After you give the folder a name, all the computers in your workgroup can see its contents.
    By default, users will just have read-only access to the files, so no need to worry about files being edited or deleted. To let users have this access, go back into the Sharing tab, and this time hit Permissions. In the new window, check Full Control, Change or Read.

    Step 3: Share a network printer

    Enable printer sharing can be very easy, but it depends on your hardware. If you have a network printer, just follow the network setup instructions that came with your printer.

    If your printer is network-capable, yet you never bought its print server, just browse the manufacturer's for an external or internal print server for your model. If you can't find a compatible print server, dont worry because most third party print servers work with any printer, as long as both devices share either a USB port or a parallel port. Now just connect the print server between your router's Ethernet port and your printer.

    Step 4: Share a stand-alone printer

    Unless your home doubles as an office, it's doubtful you have a network printer, and that is ok too, because you can share a stand-alone printer across a network, as long as it's connected to one of the computers that is part of the workgroup you set up a few steps earlier. The best part about this is you don't need to spend any extra cash on equipment to make this work. Just head to Control Panel > Printers and Faxes, select the printer you want to share, and on the File menu, click Sharing.


    You don't have to change the name of the printer, as long as it's different from the names of the other devices in the workgroup and the workgroup name itself. If you do change it, give it a name that makes sense, for easy identification of location or manufacture. Keep in mind that you'll now see both names listed when you print from the computer it's attached to, but both will work.

    Step 5: Add the printer to other PCs

    Now all that is left is to give the other computers in the workgroup access to the shared printer. First, make sure the printer and the PC it's attached to are on. Then start the Add Printers wizard, whicl you'll find under Printer Tasks in Printers and Faxes. Within the wizard, select "A network printer, or a printer attached to another computer," then browse to the shared printer and select it. When your done, you'll be able to print to the shared printer from any of the computers in the workgroup, just the same way you would a local printer.