Share Files and Folders and Printers Over a Network

If you have more than one computer, and the computers are networked, you probably want to share resources like files, folders, and printers over the network. As a rule of thumb it makes no difference if the network is wired, wireless, or both, or even if the computers connect through a router or access point, the computers only see network devices.
There are now printers that have an ethernet port, or a radio to wirelessly connect to an access point, but you may also have an old fashioned printer that connects directly to your computer through a USB or some other cable connection. Sharing a printer is simple.

Click the Windows Start button -> Printers, then right click the printer you want to share, and choose Properties as seen in the screenshot above.
Click the Sharing tab, and check the boxes next to Share this printer, and Render print jobs on client computers. In the Share name field give the printer a name that will make it easy to identify by other users on the network. Now click OK and you’re done.

Sharing files and folder is just as easy. Right click on any folder you wish to share, and choose Properties. On the Sharing tab click the Share button under Network File and Folder Sharing.

On the File Sharing dialog window click the pull down menu arrow to choose a user account on this local computer to use, so that other computers can login and share the files in this folder. If you own all the computers on the network you can login to each with the same username and password, so that you won’t have to type in a username and password when accessing files on your other computers. Otherwise, use a secure account with the proper limitations to keep your network secure.

Now just click the Share button, and you’re done.

If you are unable to connect, or cannot see the shared folders or printers, you might need to open ports in your firewall. Click here to learn more.
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