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KarlM 07-20-2009 03:38 PM

Shared Windows Folders and File and Printer Sharing
The Microsoft Windows operating system permits the sharing of files and folders within networks. The OS also supports the File and Printer Sharing feature, which is quite useful for home networks and some public networks (although it may present a security issue on the latter). This article is a quick guide for finding Shared Windows Folders and disabling / enabling the Windows File and Printer Sharing feature.

Finding Shared Windows Folders

1. Go to your desktop’s ‘Start’ menu and access ‘My Network Places’. Alternately, go to ‘Desktop’.

2. Access the ‘Entire Network’ in the left window of ‘My Network Places’.

3. Open ‘Microsoft Windows Network’.

4. After the previous step, access the new item displayed. This shows the workgroup or domain name of the computer.

5. Mouse over and click on the item that displays the computer name.

6. Any shared Windows sets (not covered by the Administrator account) will emerge in the panel on the right. No items will become visible if none have been appointed for sharing.

The folders that are displayed in the window are linked to the shared folders. Accessing any of these items will display the actual folder contents. Users are not allowed to delete or rename files through this linked location. Folder contents, but not folder location, are disclosed here.

7. Open the command prompt to browse through shared administrative items, as well as identify the real location of any shared items. Go to the ‘Start’ button on your desktop, select the option for ‘Accessories’, and choose ‘Command Prompt’. The user may also click on ‘Start’, go to ‘Run’, and type [cmd] in the resulting entry box.

8. Enter this command string: [net share]. Press ‘Enter’ within the command prompt window. This command will display the name and location of the shared folders in the computer. The names with the ‘$’ symbol appended to them are shared administrative sets. Note that the OS automatically creates many administrative shared sets. Do not alter these items.

Enable / Disable Windows File and Printer Sharing

1. Go to the Windows desktop and click on ‘Start’. Access the Control Panel here. Locate the Control Panel applet for ‘Network Connections’.

2. Select the connection wherein sharing will be enabled or disabled. Right-click on the item and select the ‘Properties’ option to display the connection’s properties. Use the ‘Networking’ tab to view the properties of a dial-up connection.

3. Activate the ‘File and Printer Sharing’ feature by clicking on the checkbox (thus placing a checkmark within). Leave the box unchecked to turn off the associated connection’s file sharing option. Employ the same procedure for other connections.

4. Close the windows for ‘Properties’ and ‘Control Panel’.

Note that Windows File and Printer Sharing may be disabled to strengthen security for computers in public networks.

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