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Recipe 23.4. Enabling File Sharing on Windows PCs

23.4.1 Problem

You need to know how to set up file sharing on Windows PCs, so that other users on your LAN can access your shared files.

23.4.2 Solution

Follow this summary to learn how to enable file sharing on the various incarnations of Windows.

To enable file-sharing on Windows 95/98/ME, go to Control Panel Network. Make sure that network cards are configured, TCP/IP Networking is installed, Client for Microsoft Networks is installed, and File and Printer Sharing are installed. It should look like Figure 23-1.

Figure 23-1. Check that network cards are configured and the appropriate items are installed (Windows 95/98/ME)

Click the "File and Print Sharing" button, and check the "share files" box.

Next, confirm that the hostname and workgroup are correctly configured, as in Figure 23-2. Finally, set "Share Level" access, as in Figure 23-3.

Figure 23-2. Check the hostname and workgroup

Figure 23-3. Set "Share Level" access

To create a shared directory, open Windows Explorer and right-click on the directory to be shared, then left-click "Sharing." "Sharing" will appear in this menu only when file and printer sharing are enabled.

For Windows NT/2000, go to Settings Network and Dial-up Connections to verify that TCP/IP Networking, Client for Microsoft Networks, and File and Printer Sharing For Microsoft Networks are all installed and configured. Right-click on "Local Area Connection," then left-click "Properties" to see this (Figure 23-4).

Figure 23-4. Check the Network and Dial-up Connections settings (Windows NT/2000)

Confirm the workgroup name in Advanced Network Identification. Then go to Control Panel Administrative Tools Computer Management Local User and Groups Users. Double-click on "Guest," and make sure the account is enabled (Figure 23-5).

Figure 23-5. Check that the "Guest" account is enabled

Windows XP is different from the others. File sharing is disabled by default. To enable it, go to My Network Places Set Up a Home or Small Office Network. This brings up the Network Setup Wizard. Follow the wizard to set up the workgroup name and file sharing. This enables Simple File Sharing, which is like Share-Level access in Windows 9x, except that the Windows system folders and program files cannot be shared.

To share files, the easiest way is to copy them to Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents. This is the default shareable folder.

23.4.3 Discussion

Users who grew up in the casual, carefree days of Windows 95 often find NT/2000/XP to be rather stifling and restrictive, and miss the ease of simply sharing an entire hard drive. This can still be done on NT/2000/XP; you just have to work at it a little harder. In Windows Explorer, right-click the drive you want to share. Select "Sharing," then click the New Share button. Give the drive you want to share a meaningful name, like "Fred C drive," and a descriptive comment. These comments appear in Network Neighborhood and in Linux LAN browsers, so make them helpful.

Of course, sharing your entire drive is completely insecure. But for folks who like to do it, there it is.

23.4.4 See Also

  • Recipe 23.17, and 23.28, Recipe 23.18, for information on LAN browsing with Linux hosts

  • Chapter 3 of Using Samba

  • Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 307874, for how to disable simplified sharing and set permissions on a shared folder in Windows XP; this also describes how to share a folder or a drive with other users

  • Windows 95 Networking How-To Guide, a series of howtos that also apply to Windows 98 and ME (search for it on Google or

  • Home and Small Office Networking with Windows XP, an excellent resource for users who need some Windows networking howtos (search for it on Google or

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