Two Roads to File Sharing
But enough about accessing the shared folders on other computers. Half the fun is sharing your own folders, making them available to other people on the network. This can be a much more complex proposition, which is why the rest of this chapter covers only this part of the equation.
First, however, a word of warning: As with so many other features, Windows XP Pro has two different personalities, depending on where you’re using it (see Figure 20-8). In this case, Microsoft has created two different file-sharing systems:
Simple file sharing. If you’re working on a home network, and you have nothing to hide from the other people in the house, you may appreciate Windows XP’s new Simple file sharing feature. It lets you share certain folders with a minimum of red tape and complexity. If you need a peek at the spreadsheet that Harold was working on yesterday, no big deal—you just open up his My Documents folder from across the network.
If it’s just you and your spouse, or you and a co-worker, this scenario is almost ideal: maximum convenience and minimum barriers. On the other hand, when you share a folder this way, anybody on the network can not only read your files, but also change or delete them. In other words, Simple file sharing isn’t especially secure. Kids horsing around on the computer, young geniuses experimenting with your data, or a disgruntled co-worker could, in theory, send important data to Never-Never Land.
Simple file sharing is the only