The “File Sharing” wizard starts. At first, you will see the user that is set as the owner for that resource and the user accounts or groups with whom it is already shared. If you have not shared this resource with anybody, then you will only see the owner being listed.
To share the resource, click or tap the drop-down list near the “Add” button. You will see a list with all the user accounts that exist on your Windows device, an entry for the Homegroup and an entry named “Everyone”.
If you select a user account and then click or tap “Add”, the resource will be shared with that user account. If you select “Homegroup” then, obviously, the resource will be shared with others in the Homegroup.
When you select “Everyone” this means that you want to share the resource with anyone with or without a user account on the computer that is sharing.
Select whom you want to share the resource you selected and click or tap “Add”.
A new entry is added in the list of users and groups having access to this shared resource. By default, you are giving others read-only permissions to what you are sharing.
To change the permission-level assigned, click or tap the arrow near Read, in the “Permission Level” column. You can change the permission-level to “Read/Write” or you can select “Remove” and remove the user account or user group from the list of people with whom you share the resource.
You can continue adding others to the list of people you share the resource with, using the same procedure. When done adding user accounts or user groups, click or tap “Share”.
Windows takes a while to share the resource you have selected. When done, you are informed. Click or tap “Done” to close the “File Sharing” wizard.
Note, this last step won’t be displayed at all times. For example, in our testing we didn’t see it when sharing libraries but we did see it when sharing most folders. It is unclear why this last step is not shown at all times and we haven’t found any Microsoft documentation that explains why this happens.
Share with Non-Microsoft Operating Systems
The steps required for sharing with other computers that do not have Windows are the same as shown above. The only thing that we advise you to do differently, is to select the “Everyone” entry. This will ensure that it is easier for other operating systems to access the resources you are sharing with the network.
It’s as simple as that. If all operating systems use the same Workgroup (see Lesson 2 for a refresher), you have correctly set the sharing settings in Windows (see Lesson 3 for a refresher) and you have shared folders or libraries using the “Everyone” user group, then the Linux PCs or the Macs on your home network should be able to access what you are sharing from your Windows computers.
How to Stop Sharing a Folder or a Library
If you want to stop sharing a folder or a library with the network, then right-click on it. In Windows 8.x, in the “Share with” menu, select “Stop sharing”.
The selected resource is no longer shared.
You also have the “Stop Sharing” option in the ribbon. In File Explorer, select the resource that you no longer wish to share and expand the “Share” tab. In the “Share with” section you will find the “Stop Sharing” button, then click or tap on it.
In Windows 7, in the “Share with” menu, select “Nobody” and the selected resource is no longer shared with the network.
Another way is to select the resource you no longer wish to share and in Windows Explorer, click the “Share with” item on the top toolbar, then click “Nobody”.
When you stop sharing a resource, this is the equivalent of manually removing all the user groups and user accounts you have shared the resource with. If you then open the “Sharing Wizard” for that resource, you will see only the owner listed as having access to it.
What if You Want to Stop Sharing Only with A Specific User or Group?
If you follow the instructions shared in the previous section, you stop sharing the selected folder or library with everyone on the network. But, you may want to stop sharing a resource only with the Homegroup or with a specific user account.
To do that, use the “File Sharing” wizard as shown earlier. At the step when you add user accounts or user groups to share with and set their permissions, select the user or the group you want to remove. Then, click or tap the assigned permission level and select “Remove”. This removes it from the list of people the resource is shared with.
To finish, click or tap “Share” and wait for Windows to share it only with the remaining users and groups. If you receive a confirmation of the changes that were performed, click or tap “Done” to close the wizard.
What About Sharing Printers or Other Devices?
Unfortunately, the “Sharing Wizard” cannot be used to share devices like external hard drives or printers that are attached to your Windows computer. For example, if you right-click on an external hard drive that you want to share with the network, in the “Share with” menu you will see only “Advanced sharing” as an option.
That is because devices cannot be shared using the “Sharing Wizard”. Some devices like external hard drives or your PC’s Blu-Ray or DVD drive can be shared only through Advanced Sharing. This will be covered in the next lesson.
Other devices like printers are shared differently without using the “Sharing Wizard” or “Advanced Sharing”.
We know this is confusing and that’s why we have created this series – to help you understand all the different ways of sharing resources in Windows!
Coming up Next …
In the next lesson we will work in detail with advanced sharing, so that you learn how to use it for sharing folders with others and gain more control on how they are shared.