I will outline a typical situation: there are several computers connected to a local network. It is required to share some folders so that all users from this local network can work with them.
To do this, you need:
1. 'share' (share) the desired folder on the desired computer;
2. on computers in the local network, it is desirable to connect this folder as a network drive (so as not to look for it every time in the 'network neighborhood').
Actually, how to do all this will be described in this article (the information is relevant for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10).
1) Opening a shared access to a folder on a local network (sharing a folder)
To be able to share a folder, you must first configure Windows accordingly. To do this, go to the control panel Windows at the following address: 'Control Panel \ Network and Internet \ Network and Sharing Center' (see Fig. 1).
Then click the Change Advanced Sharing Settings tab.
Figure: 1. Network and Sharing Center
Next, 3 tabs should appear in front of you:
- private (current profile);
- all networks;
- guest or public.
You need to open each tab in turn and set the parameters as in the picture: 2, 3, 4 (see below, the pictures are 'clickable').
Figure: 2. Private (current profile).
Figure: 3. All networks
Figure: 4. Guest or public
Now it remains only to allow access to the necessary folders. This is done very simply:
- Find the required folder on the disk, right-click on it and go to its properties (see Fig. 5);
- Next, open the 'Access' tab and click the 'Share' button (as in Fig. 5);
- Then add the 'guest' user and give him the rights: either read-only or read-write (see Fig. 6).
Figure: 5. Opening a shared access to a folder (many call this procedure simply – 'sharing')
Figure: 6. Sharing files
By the way, to find out which folders are already shared on your computer, just open Explorer, then in the 'Network' tab, click on the name of your computer: then you should see everything that is open for public access (see Fig. 7).
Figure: 7. Folders open for public access (Windows 8)
2. How to map a network drive to Windows
In order not to climb into the network environment every time, not to open tabs again – you can add any folder on the network as a disk to Windows. This will slightly increase the speed of work (especially if you often use a network folder), as well as simplify the use of such a folder for novice PC users.
And so, to map a network drive – right-click on the 'My Computer (or This Computer)' icon and in the pop-up menu select the 'Map Network Drive' function (see Fig. 8. In Windows 7 it is the same, only the 'My Computer' icon will be on the desktop).
Figure: 9. Windows 8 – this computer
After that, you need to choose:
- drive letter (any free letter);
- specify the folder that should be made a network drive (click the 'Browse' button, see Fig. 10).
Figure: 10. Mapping a network drive
In fig. 11 shows the folder selection. By the way, after the selection you will only have to press 'OK' 2 times – and you can start working with the disc!
Figure: 11. Browse folders
If you have done everything correctly, then a network drive with the name of your choice will appear in 'My computer (on this computer)'. You can use it in much the same way as if it were your hard drive (see Figure 12).
The only condition is that the computer on which the shared folder is located must be turned on. And, of course, the local network should work …
Figure: 12. This computer (network drive is connected).
Very often they ask questions about what to do if the folder cannot be shared – Windows writes that access is not possible, a password is required … In this case, more often than not, the network was simply not configured accordingly (the first part of this article). After disabling password protection, problems, as a rule, do not arise.