Sharing Files and Printers

One of the main reasons you might want to set up a workgroup between two or more computers in your home or office is to share files and printers between them, eliminating the need to “walk” a disk from one computer to another.

Once you’ve established a working network connection with another Windows computer, as described in Chapter 7, you can start sharing resources on your computer so that they can be accessed by other computers on the network.

A shared folder, for example, would allow anyone on your network to read and (optionally) write files to it, as though the folder were on their own hard disks. This effectively eliminates the need for multiple versions of documents on which more than one person is collaborating, since any number of people can open and edit the same document (sometimes even simultaneously). The primary limitation is that the computer hosting the file must be turned on for anyone to access it.

A printer physically connected to your computer can be shared on your network so any computer can print to it. Note that this is not the same as a network printer, which is connected directly to your network (and not through a computer).

Warning

Whenever you share a folder, you are essentially opening a “back door” to your computer, allowing access to potentially sensitive data. It’s important to keep security in mind at all times, especially if you’re connected to the Internet. Otherwise, you may be unwittingly exposing your personal data to ...

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