Windows File Sharing Howto

Discussion in 'Windows OS's' started by Anti-Trend, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. Anti-Trend

    Anti-Trend Nonconformist Geek

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    Howto set up simple Windows file sharing on Windows XP, Windows 2000 and NT4:

    1.) Create a new user group on each machine which will be sharing files to other computers. Call this group something like "Network Clients".

    2.) Create new users on each machine which will be sharing files to other computers, one for each user which will have access to your network share. Remove them from any standard Windows groups which they will automatically belong to, i.e. "Users", or "Administrators", unless they will need to actually physically log into the computer. Once they have been removed from any built-in groups, add them to your newly created group, e.g. "Network Clients".

    3.) Create a folder on each machine which will be sharing files to other computers. Naming it something like "Shared", "Network" or "Export" will suffice. Alternate-click on the new folder, and click "Sharing". Allow the folder to act as a network share. Remove all built-in Windows groups from the access group. Instead, add only your new "Network Clients" group (or whatever you named it). Assign the privileges you want your network group to have, in other words whether they can write to files or only read them.

    4.) On each computer which will be connecting to the systems which are sharing files, add a new user account which corresponds with the user(s) you added in step 2 (that is, if they don't already exist on that machine). To make things as simple as possible, make sure that the passwords match on both ends.

    5.) OPTIONAL STEP: If you desire to make things even simpler, you can either map your network shares as a drive letter (alternate-click on My Network Places, Map Network Drive) or create a shortcut on the desktop which will point to the shared resources. Otherwise, you can access the system(s) which are sharing files by entering \\NETBIOSNAME or \\ in Windows Explorer's address bar (where NETBIOSNAME = the PC which is sharing files' NetBIOS name and = its IP address).


    This is the simplest way to set up proper Windows file-sharing on any version of NT -- that is, NT4, Windows 2000, or Windows XP. This assumes you do not have a domain controller and that you only want one access group (I.E. everyone has more or less the same network privileges). It also makes the assumption that your network is located securely behind a router or over VPN -- never allow Windows File & Print Sharing over the internet! If you find that you do want more than one access group, e.g. a group with read-only privileges and one with R/W privileges, you would simply reproduce the same effects garnered by following steps 1-3, applying changes where suiting to your needs. I realize that the Networking Wizard tools in Windows XP are a less thought-provoking way of doing almost the same thing, but manually setting up file sharing allows for more flexibility, security, and reliability in the long run. Besides, once you know how to do it, it's not hard at all! :) If you would like to run your own centralized Windows-compatible server without needing to pay for licenses, take a look at SME Server. It's easier than sharing files with Windows anyway, faster, and much more secure.
    Addis likes this.
  2. RetirednPoor

    RetirednPoor Geek Trainee

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    I can use this type of concise information right now. Lost some short-term memory a few years ago, so the reference books are dull. If you know of or have any more pearls of wisdom like this, please advise. Very professional.
  3. DaRuSsIaMaN

    DaRuSsIaMaN Geek Comrade

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    Hi AT. How do you create this user group? Do you mean the same thing as creating a "user account" (on XP)? As in, I go to control panel and click on "User Accounts"? Or are you talking about something else? Haha what a n00b question... sorry :p

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