XP lets you share a computer's disks and folders with other
computers on the network, using a method called Simple File
Sharing. And it really is simple. If a disk or folder is
shared, everyone on the network can access it. There are no user
permissions and no passwords. Because sharing in this way is so
wide open, Windows XP tries to protect you from some potential
Windows XP Professional has a much more powerful way to
file sharing. For full details, see our article on Windows
XP Professional File Sharing.
click the disk or folder that you want to share and select Sharing
disk or folder that you share, along with all of the folders that
it contains, will be accessible by other network users. If you're
sharing an entire disk, Windows XP gives a warning. The
implication of the warning is that it's better to share a specific
folder, since only that folder (and its subfolders) will be
accessible by others, and the rest of the disk will be
inaccessible. Click where indicated if you want to go ahead and
share the entire disk. This screen doesn't appear if you're
sharing a folder.
first time that you set up sharing, Windows XP displays a warning,
urging you to use the Network
Setup Wizard for safety. Click where indicated to either run
the Wizard or to do it yourself.
great secret does the Wizard know that XP thinks you don't? The
Wizard automatically enables the Internet
Connection Firewall (ICF) to prevent other Internet users from
accessing your shared disks and folders. If you have Service Pack
2 installed, the built-in Windows Firewall should already be
running automatically, unless you turned it off.
displays another warning. If you want the firewall enabled, select
Use the wizard to enable file sharing. Otherwise, select
Just enable file sharing.
successfully run the Wizard's obstacle course, you may now specify
a Share name, which users on other networked computers will
use to access this disk or folder. For maximum compatibility with
all versions of Windows, use 1-12 characters.
default, users on other computers have full access: they can read,
write, and delete shared files. If you only want them to be able
to read files, un-check Allow network users to change my files.
If a user has full access, deleting a file doesn't put it in the
Recycle Bin. Once it's deleted, it's gone for good.
a Shared Disk or Folder
if you don't want everyone on the network to be able to access a
shared disk or folder? For example:
Dad, and Junior each have a computer.
computers are networked so that everyone can share a cable modem
and Dad share a folder that stores the family's financial data.
don't want Junior to see the folder or the data.
answer is to create a hidden share by adding a dollar sign
('$') to the end of the share name. A hidden share doesn't appear
in My Network Places or Network Neighborhood on any
of the networked computers. In order to access a hidden share you
need to already know the name of it.
Using hidden shares is a good way to keep their contents out of
the hands of casual users, but a determined individual using
certain techniques and/or utilities will be able to detect them.
Therefore, you should not rely on hidden shares to provide
security for any truly sensitive data.
create a hidden share, right click the disk or folder and select
Sharing and Security.
a share name that ends with a dollar sign. Once again, use 1-12
characters (1-11 before the dollar sign). If Junior is clever
enough to guess a name like Finances$, use a more secure name,
like a combination of letters and numbers. Just make sure that Mom
and Dad can remember it, and don't write it on a yellow sticky
note attached to the monitor!
a Hidden Share
hidden share doesn't appear on any of the networked computers, so
how can someone on another computer access it? The answer is to
map it as a network drive, which assigns a drive letter to the
hidden share. Once it has a drive letter, you access it just like
a disk on the same computer.
map a network drive, open My Computer, click Tools,
and select Map Network Drive.
an unused drive letter and enter the network path for the hidden
share, being sure to include the dollar sign. If you check
Reconnect at logon, the mapping will happen automatically
every time you start your computer. Otherwise, you'll have to map
it manually every time.
Finish. The mapped drive is connected and appears in a new
window. It's also available in My Computer.