~~ File Sharing Basics
While it is very important to protect your files from unauthorized viewing, you are bound to want to sharing files between computers once you start your own home network. You will want to take full advantage of an Internet connection, printer, and other resources on your network.
You can share any kind of file on your network. For example, you might keep all your music on one computer, and maintain a big library of family photos there, too. You can share files and folders no matter how many files are involved, or how many people work on them. Be aware that you always control who sees which files and folders. You can leave some available to anyone, and keep others private from all but a very few people. You can also give different people different types of permission with files. For example, you can allow some people to only view files, and allow others to also change them.
Stay away from the Network Setup Wizard. You can configure everything you want without that.
~~ Naming Computers
You may decide that renaming some of the computers on your network would make it easier to keep track of them. Names like "Office," "John PC," and similarly plainspoken names are useful choices. You can change your computer name in moments. It is suggested that you set up each computer into the same workgroup. This will help them to see each other. Right click on My Computer, select properties, and change the Computer name there.
~~ Install File and Print Sharing
Go into your Network contactions under the Local Area Connection Properties window, check that the General tab is selected. Under the This connection uses the following items: or the Components checked are used by this connection section, check that File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is listed and make sure that its checkbox is checked. If it is listed, the computer is already configured for file sharing; click Cancel. If it is not listed, then click the Install button, click on Service, click Add, select File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks and then click OK. You might need your Windows install CD and if the computer asks to restart, click Yes.
~~ Disable Simple Sharing
If you have Windows XP Pro, it is best to turn off Simple File Sharing. This will disable open file sharing and allow users to connect but not viruses and other harmful applications. To do this, go to your My Computer, Tools, Options, click the View tab, uncheck Use Simple File Sharing, and click OK.
~~ Disable Firewalls and Other Software
When setting up sharing it is best to turn off all firewalls until you get everything working. Then enable back the security settings. You also need to make sure that you allow sharing within your firewall options. Also look for programs like Norton Security that disables sharing access.
~~ Create User Accounts
A user account must be set up on the computer for each user or group of users who will have access to the shared folders. Any number of users may be allowed access your Windows computer by adding them as users. You may create one user account on your computer for sharing purposes, i.e. you may give that accounts username and password out to anyone whom you allow to access shared folders. Or you may create multiple user accounts, one for each individual or group to whom you wish to give access to different share folders on your computer. Go into Control Panels, User Accounts, and create a user. Remember the username and password. You should set this user account up on both computers.
~~ Sharing the Folder
Only folders may be shared and not individual files. For Windows 98 to access Shared Folders you need to make sure there are no spaces in the folder name. To share a folder, right click on it and select Sharing. Then give the folder a share name and select permissions. Here you set who has rights to "see" that the folder is shared. Leave it on Everyone unless you want to hide it so only certain people can see that the share is available. Next click the Security tab and set up who has rights to actually "access" the folder. Here is where you set the specific permissions as to who can read what is in the folder or right to it. This is where the user account you created comes into play. Or you have to make sure to give rights to the username that you are using when you log into the computer. For Windows 98 you need to set the computer up with a username and password that matches what you gave in the User Account.
~~ How to Check Which Folders are Shared
Go into Computer Management and under the System Tools section on the left side of the window, double-click on the Shared Folders to expand it. Click once on the Shares folder to display the list of shared folders on the computer in the right-hand side of the window. You can also see who is accessing those shares and how idle they are. If you wish to disconnect the person, just right click on their name and select disconnect.
~~ Mapping a Network Drive
One advantage of using software programs on a network is that you can access huge amounts of data with simple shortcuts from the computer you use most. You can use Windows Explorer to track multiple places on your network. If you double-click My Computer, you will see a list of drives on the right side of the window. You can add (or map) to your computer as many network drives from across your network as you like. You can also map folders, and all of these are accessible from anywhere you see a list of folders on your computer. Why map a network drive? To save time and searching. To find music on another computer on your network, you can open the media player that you use, click Open in the File menu, and find lists of music files from every networked computer around you as long as those computers are shared and you have mapped those computers.
To map a network drive go to My Computer, select Tools, and click Map Network Drive. Select a drive letter and type in the location of your shared folder which might be something like \\computername\sharename\. If you want the mapping to stay all the time, then select Reconnect at Logon.
~~ How to Remove File Sharing
Just right click on the folder, go to sharing, and disable it. I also suggest you then disable the User Account you created earlier.
~~ Sharing Printers with Others on Your Network
Install the printer of your choice and then right click and select properties. Select sharing and give it a simple name. You can even install the drivers necessary for other computer operating systems. To connect remotely just to go start, run, type: \\computername then right click on printer and say connect. You can also set specific permissions for printer sharing.
~~ Troubleshooting File and Print Sharing
One of the most common errors are computers not being able to see each other. I suggest getting the IP address from each computer ( Start, Run, Cmd, ipconfig/all ) and then see if you can ping each IP from the other computer. Then if you can ping instead of trying to connect to the share with the computer name, instead use the IP address like: \\192.168.1.3\sharename. This helps remove issues with name resolution. Another common mistake is Firewall or some software still blocking sharing. Double check and triple check. Lastly, of the most common is not providing the correct security rights. You must give access to both the "permissions" and "security" part of the share. Not to mention that the username and password must be the same.