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Published on 04.10.07 by Brent Trahan

Share Your Public Folder

Share your public folder so that people can access it across a network.


This guide shows you everything you need to know about sharing files in your public folder with other people on a network.


Before you can share your public folder you need to make sure a few things are set up.

  • Make sure all computers on the network are on the same workgroup. If you need help checking your workgroup see my Change the Workgroup Name guide.
  • Make sure all the computers on your network have their network locations set to Private. For help with this see my Change the Network Location Type guide.
  • Make sure Network Discovery is turned on. Changing your network location type to private does this by default but it’s always a good idea to double-check. If you need help with this see my Turn Network Discovery On guide.
  • I’m assuming you’re using the Windows Vista firewall. If you’re using a 3rd party firewall you might have to change its settings to allow file sharing.
  • You need to decide if you want the public folder password protected or not. This guide shows you how to change this setting below.

Share the Public Folder

  1. Open the Control Panel, and then open Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Click the down arrow to the right of Public Folder Sharing to expand it.
  3. You have a choice between three options on how you want to share your public folder.

    Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open files: Anyone who can browse to your computer can view the files and folders in your public folder only.

    Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open, change, and create files: Anyone who can browse to your computer can view, change, and create new files. This is only for a very trusted private network like your home.

    Turn off sharing: This turns public folder sharing off.

  4. Make your choice on how you want to share the public folder then click Apply.


Password Protect or Not

By default password protected sharing is turned on. Password protected sharing prompts a user browsing to your computer for a username and password of your computer. If they don’t know it, they can’t get in.

If you turn password protected sharing off anyone who browses to your computer gets access to your public folder with no questions asked.

Turn Password Protected Sharing On or Off

  1. Open the Network and Sharing Center just like you did above.
  2. Click the down arrow to the right of Password Protected Sharing and check off on or off.

Manage Your Public Folder

All you have to do now is place files you want others to access in your public folder. The public folder is located at C:\Users\Public.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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2 Responses to “Share Your Public Folder”

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  1. leeroy says:

    I need to T H A N K Y O U !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for this information!! It solved my final dilemma in setting up my home network! I think Vista is Seattleese for interfere, confound, and complicate the user’s efforts every step of the way!!

    Thank you again; I’m now “on the network”!


  2. Brent Trahan says:

    I’m gald I could help Leeroy. Thanks for taking the time to tell me your story.

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