Windows XP Tutorials

This tutorial explains how to share files and folders in Windows XP workgroup network step by step with practical examples including how enable advance sharing.

Sharing files and folders in Windows XP is much easier than the earlier version of Windows. Windows XP allows us to share a file and folder with two different access levels; Read only and Read and write.

For this tutorial I assume that Workgroup is properly setup in network. To learn how to setup a Windows XP workgroup network step by step, please see the following tutorial.

How to setup and join Workgroup Network in Windows XP

Sharing Files and Folders in Windows XP Workgroup Network

We can share any existing folder or can create a new folder for sharing. In both conditions steps are same.

Let’s create a new folder named Shared_folder.

create new folder

Create a test file in this folder with some dummy content and save it

create test file

To share this folder, select it and do right click. From right click context menu click Sharing and Security

share folder right click context menu

In opened window, switch to Sharing tab.

In Network and Sharing section, select Share this folder on the network.

This option is used to share folder with read only access. We can use a separate share name for the folder or can use the actual name. If we change the name here, network users will see the updated name instead of its actual name.

A file or folder can be shared with two access levels: -

Access Level Folder File
Read Only If folder is shared with this permission, network users will be allowed to navigate through the folder. They can view the files and folders stored in this folder but they cannot change them. If file is shared with this permission, network users can only view the content of file. They are not allowed to modify the content of file.
Full Access If folder is shared with this permission, network users are allowed to do what they want to do. It means network users have full permission on the folder. If file is shared with this permission, network users can edit, update and remove the file.

If we select the Allow network user to change my files option, file or folder will be shared with full access otherwise it will be shared with read only access.

To understand access level practically, let’s keep this option unchecked, and click OK.

read only sharing windows xp

Once folder is shared, an indicating icon will appear under the folder.

shared folder

How to access shared files and folders in workgroup

To access a shared resource in workgroup network, open My Network Places.

My network place

All shared resources are by default available in My Network Places. If you don't see any recently shared resources, press F5 key to refresh the My Network Places. Alternatively you can see, what is shared by members individually by clicking View workgroup computers from left pane.

My network palces Windows XP

Open test file from shared folder

access shared file windows XP

Try to append the test file. What happened?

Windows is not letting us to edit. This is what read only permission do. We are allowed to navigate the shared folder. We are also allowed to view the file. But we are not allowed to edit the file.

read only file edit error windows xp

Switch back to PC1 and change the permission.

Select Allow network users to change my file and click OK.

share folder with full permission windows xp

Switch back to member computer and save the same file again.

Bingo! This time we are allowed to save the file.

edit shared files windows xp

Switch back to PC1 and verify that file is updated.

shared file updated

How to enable / disable advance file sharing in windows XP

Usually we never need to enable advance file sharing in workgroup network. But if we need if for any specific reason, we can enable it from Folder options.

Open My Computer and in menu click Tools and click Folder Options

folder option windows xp

Switch to View tab and scroll Advance settings option to bottom. In the end of Advance settings we have an option Use simple sharing (Recommended).

If this option is selected, simple file sharing will be used. By default it is selected.

simple sharing enable windows xp

If this option is un-selected, advance file sharing will be used.

simple sharing disable windows xp

If we disable the simple file sharing, advance files sharing option will be revealed in Sharing and Security option. Following figure illustrates advance sharing options.

advance sharing option windows xp

Simple file sharing cannot be disabled in Windows XP Home edition.

That’s all for this tutorial. In next tutorial we will learn how share internet in workgroup network.