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When most people think of having their computer on a network, they probably associate it with being connected to the Internet. While Internet access is a common and important use of a home or office network, the other major purpose of the network is to allow the computers on the network to communicate with each other in terms of sharing files and resources. So, in this movie I want to brief you go over some common tasks you might perform on your network other than accessing the Internet. Now, this is going to be fairly general overviews as there are many types of network configurations and set ups you might find yourself on. What you're allowed to do on your network is often controlled by your network administrator, so you might find that you don't have the ability to perform some of the things I am going to show you here.
Let's start with the idea of showing files between network computers. This is a really convenient feature of networks because you can transfer files without having to first copy them to a disk or some kind of portable storage device, which you then have to put into the receiving computer to copy the files to. Over a network you can simply transfer the files directly from computer to computer and this is particularly useful if the files you have to share are large and won't fit on portable drives or disks. Now, of course, it doesn't make sense to open your entire computer to your whole network. Most likely you have files and folders you don't want other people getting into. So, by default the ability for others to access your computer over a network is turned off or severely limited.
You need to allow access to your PC before others can copy files to it. Let's take a look at one way to do this. If you want to be able to share files with both PCs and Mac, you need to create a shared folders and in actuality there are already are some shared folders on your PC. I am going to click the Start menu and just select Computer, just to open a regular window. Notice on the let side of your window-- and it doesn't matter what window you have open. Under Libraries, you have shortcuts to your folders, documents, music, pictures and videos. Inside each one of these folders is a folder labeled Public: Public Documents, Public Music, Public Pictures and so on.
The idea is to place items you'd like other people on your network to have access to inside these folders. For example, if I wanted to start some vacation photos with other people on my network I could copy the photos into public pictures. We'll take a look at how to connect to someone else's public folders in just a minute. Now, you can also share any other folders you like and make them available on you network. Let me go ahead and close this window. So, for example I am just going to right-click on my Desktop and choose New > Folder to create a new empty folder on my desktop and I'll call this For Sharing.
Now, I'll right-click on that folder and notice one of the options in here is Share With. The default option is always Nobody, which protects your folder from being shared. You can also select one of the Homegroup options, which is a Windows 7 feature that let's you easily share files and folders but only with other Windows 7 computers. I am going to select Specific people. In this window I just choose which users I want to share this photo with. Essentially, I am specifying who is allowed to access the contents of this For Sharing folder I just created. In this menu I see a list of all users who have accounts on this particular computer.
If I choose one of those accounts, that user will be able to access this folder from any other computer on my network using his or her account login info. You can also choose to Create a new user to create a new account on the fly. You do have the option of choosing Everyone, but I caution against that, unless you really know everyone who has access to the network you are on, or if you're just not concerned with everyone on you network seeing whatever it is in the folder you are sharing. For this example I'll choose Producer and click Add and you can see that adds producer to the list of people who have access to this folder. Now, for each user you can specify whether that person can read or read and write to this folder.
Read means the user can only see what's in the folder and copy contents to his or her computer, but can't alter the contents of the folder by adding or deleting files. Read/Write grants the user permission to make changes to the folder, so be careful who you give Read/Write permissions to. I'll just leave Read selected. You can also select Remove if you just want to remove that person altogether. Now, you can continue to add more users at this point or just click Share when you are done. You're then given the options to send your users an email with a link to your shared network folder or you can copy the link and send it over instant message or paste it into an email yourself or just click Done when you are done.
Now, to make sure that other people on your network can get to your public or shared folders, you are going to open a window-- and again I'll just open my computer window here, and then click Network on the left-hand side. Then at the top click Network and Sharing Center, and then click Change Advanced Sharing Settings. Here, make sure Turn on network discovery is on so that other people on your network will be able to see your computer from their computers and make sure Turn on file and printer sharing is turned on, so they can see your files as well as any printers you have connected to your computer, which is kind of convenient because if you only have one printer and it's connected to your computer other people on your network will be able to print to it as long as you have printer sharing turned on and your computer is on.
The last one is to make sure that Turn on sharing so any one with network access can read and write files in public folders is checked. That again ensures that other people on your network will be able to get to your public folders many of these, folders you saw earlier like Public Documents, Public Pictures and so on. Of course only turn on these options if you want to share these folders and when you are done and here click Save changes and that's one way to set up sharing your computers. Now, to access other computers on a network that has been set up this ways, just open the window and click Network.
After a moment all the computers on your network that have sharing on will show up in here. Just double-click one of these to access it. Now, what folders you see ,whether you can open that folder or copy move files to it, depends on how sharing settings have been set up. If you recall, you maybe only have Read Permission instead of Read/Write Permissions. In some cases you might have to enter your username and password before you can access folders. But as you can see right now, I am accessing a different computer via my account over the network. That's the basics of sharing files over a network.
Again, your own network settings might vary and if you are working on an office network, you might want to check with your network administrator to see what sharing options you can use and how to set them up.
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