How to Setup a Small Business – Home Office File Sharing Network in Windows 7
A small business, home office file sharing network is a group of computers within the same network (Subnet), capable of sharing files with one another.
There are two methods of setting up a small business, home office network. The first method is to have one main computer as the share point for files and printers. This is usually the computer that will be powered on the most. Method two, each computer has its own share point. This is where every computer can connect to every other computer that has a share file or printer enabled. Either method works, but method one is easier to manage and setup.
Windows 7 can feel cumbersome when it comes to setting up share files. I'll try and break it down very easy. Let's start with making a share folder in your C: Drive. Open you're "My Computer" and double click your Local C: Drive. Create a new folder called ShareFolder_A (For my examples I will end my folder names with A and B. You can change yours to make more sense, for example ShareFolder_TomsPC, or ShareFolder_WendysPC). Great, so we now have a folder.
After a folder has been created, we must enable sharing and set its permissions. To enable sharing, right click ShareFolder_A and go to properties. Click the "Sharing" Tab, then click "Advanced Sharing …". Checkmark "Share this folder", then click "Permissions". Allow "Full Control" to Everyone. Click "OK" twice to close the sharing windows.
To setup permissions, click the "Security" tab. You will see "Groups or user names:". These are the users that are able to use the folder by default. We want to add "Everyone" to this list. Click "Advanced", then click "Change Permissions …". Click "Add …" then "Advanced …". Click "Find Now" then scroll down to (RDN) "Everyone" and highlight it, click Ok. Checkmark Allow "Full control" then click Ok. Next, Checkmark "Replace all child object permissions with inheritable permissions from this object" and click Ok. This last checkmark is not necessary unless you have occupied the folder but is generally necessary. Click OK three times to close all of the windows.
We now have a shared folder, customized, so everyone has read and write permissions. Before Windows 7 allows other user to access share folders and without a password, we need to change advanced sharing setting. Navigate to "Network and Sharing Center" and click "Advanced sharing settings" or type "Advanced sharing settings" into the Start search bar. You will notice there are two groups, "Home or Work" and "Public". We want to change settings in the "Home or Work" profile. Start by Turning on network discovery to allow other computers to see your computer. Scroll down to "Password protected sharing". Turn off password protected sharing to enable other user access without a password. If this option is not enabled, any other computer attempting to access this folder will need to be logged in with the same user name and password credentials as the computer sharing the folder.
We are all setup to allow other computers to find and share a file on your PC. Now we will setup the second computer (Computer B) that will access the share file on computer A (the computer with the share folder). One of the best places to add a remote share folder is "My Computer". Open "My Computer" and click "Map network drive". Choose a drive letter. This letter does not matter much, but usually starts at "Z" and works backwards though the alphabet as you add more drives or share folders. Now click "Browse". Navigate to the computer name of Computer A. If you do not know the name of Computer A, you can find this by right clicking my computer (on Computer A) and going to Properties. You will find the computer name in this menu. After navigating to the computer name of Computer A on Computer B, click ShareFolder_A and click Ok. Make sure to uncheck "Connect using different credentials" then click "Finish" to add the Folder. You have now added a share file to your My Computer. Consequently, it is also a great idea to "Map a network drive" on Computer A. This will allow easy access to the share point from My Computer. To accomplish this, simply perform the same steps to Computer A. For that matter, repeat this procedure to any computer which you would like to add the share folder.
File sharing can now be performed. If there is a file that needs to be shared, simply drag the file into the share folder located in the "My Computer", "Network Location" tab, of either computer. This will place the file on Computer A's hard disk in C: Sharefolder_A.
You may have specific folders on your hard drive you would like to share, like your pictures folder. The same concepts can be applied to sharing that folder as well. You do not always need to create a folder from scratch. Simply right click the file you want to share and go to properties. From there you will see the share tab and security tab.
If you would like to make a folder sharable to just one computer (Computer B) in a network, this is possible. What you will need to do is add the user name and password credentials of Computer B, to the User Account of Computer A. You can add a new user to Windows 7 by opening the control panel and navigating to User Accounts. Click "Manage another account" then click "Create a new account". Type the same User name and password that you use to login to Computer B. Now, remember back in this guide, where I mentioned adding Everyone in (RDC)? Instead of adding Everyone, scroll down to the new user you just created and add that name instead. Now, only Computer B has access to the share folder.
Sharing files and folders in Windows 7 can be done with just a few clicks. It can be very useful for productivity, and can save hours over traditional ways of sharing media. For instance, sharing via CD's or memory sticks. By using the Share tab and Security tab, you can set any folder on your computer as a share folder. Mapping a network drive in My Computer is a great place to keep all of your share folders. This is an easy location to remember and an easy icon to click at. When you drop a file in the share folder, it is saved on one computer, but either computer may manage and edit that file from the share folder.