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Lesson 7: Sharing with the Network Using Advanced Sharing

Networking 7

The objective for this lesson is to explain the concept of “Advanced Sharing” and how it works in Windows.

As you will see, this way of sharing is rather old-school but also very powerful. It allows for detailed customization of what you are sharing, but it does have limitations in what you can share. Those limitations will also be covered in this lesson.

But first you will learn how to enable “Advanced Sharing” and then learn how to use it to share resources with the network and the Homegroup. During this process you will also learn how to limit the number of users that can connect to what you are sharing.

Next, you will see how to change the share name of a shared folder or drive and use multiple share names for the same resource.

Last, but not least, we will explain how to stop sharing a folder or a drive with “Advanced Sharing” and how to limit access to a specific user account or group while still sharing it with others.

What is Advanced Sharing in Windows?

Advanced Sharing is one way of sharing resources in Windows. It allows for detailed customization of the way you are sharing and it has the following characteristics:

  • You can use it to share folders, external hard drives and internal drives (your partitions, Blu-Ray or DVD drives).
  • You can use it to deny access to a specific resource for a specific user account or user group.
  • You can use it to limit the number of simultaneous users accessing a shared resource.
  • You can use it to share resources with one or more share names.
  • You cannot use “Advanced Sharing” for sharing libraries or printers.

How to Enable Advanced Sharing in Windows

“Advanced Sharing” is enabled by default when you share devices like external hard drives or your computer’s Blu-Ray or DVD drive. It is disabled by default when you share folders. If you want to use it for sharing folders as a replacement for the “Sharing Wizard”, then you need to disable the “Sharing Wizard”.

Open File Explorer in Windows 8.x or Windows Explorer in Windows 7. In Windows 8.x, expand the “View” tab on the ribbon and press the “Options” button on the far right.

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The “Folder Options” window, where you can enable “Advanced Sharing”, is now open.

In Windows 7, click the “Organize” button on the Explorer toolbar and then “Folder and search options”.

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In the “Folder Options” window, go to the “View” tab. In the “Advanced Settings” section you will find lots of configuration options for Windows/File Explorer.

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Scroll to the bottom of the list and you will find an option that says “Use Sharing Wizard (Recommended)”. To enable the “Advanced Sharing”, clear this option and press “OK”. Then, close the “Folder Options” window.

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“Advanced Sharing” is now enabled also for sharing folders.

How to Access Advanced Sharing for a Folder or Drive

After “Advanced Sharing” is enabled in Windows, you can start using it for sharing folders and drives. In order to start using “Advanced Sharing” for sharing a folder, you need to first select it in File Explorer (in Windows 8.x) or Windows Explorer (in Windows 7).

Once you select the folder in Windows 8, expand the “Share” tab on the ribbon. In the “Share with” section you will find only one option which says “Advanced Sharing”.

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A click or tap on it opens the folder’s Properties window, directly at the “Sharing” tab. There you have two sections:

  • Network File and Folder Sharing – this indicates whether the folder is shared or not. If the folder is shared, you will also see the network path to that folder. The network path is the path used by other computers or devices to access that folder.
  • Advanced Sharing – this section only includes the “Advanced Sharing” button that starts the wizard for sharing with the network.
  • Password Protection – this informs you whether others need to have a user account and password for your computer in order to access the folders you are sharing with the network.

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To start sharing with others, press the “Advanced Sharing” button.

Once you select the folder in Windows 7, click “Share with” on the toolbar and then “Advanced sharing settings”. This opens the folder’s Properties window, directly at the “Sharing” tab, just like in Windows 8.x. The sections and options displayed are the same in Windows 7 and Windows 8.x.

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Another way to start “Advanced Sharing” is to right-click the folder that you want to share with the network. On the menu, select “Share with” and then “Advanced sharing”.

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The folder’s Properties window is opened as shown above.

How to Share Folders or Drives with Advanced Sharing

Let’s continue with the actual steps involved in sharing with “Advanced Sharing”. To give you an example of how this is done, we are sharing a folder on one of our network computers with Windows 8.x.

The “Advanced Sharing” window is empty at first and unappealing.

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To share the selected folder, check the box that says “Share this folder”. If you stop here and click “OK”, the folder is shared on the network with everyone. However, the beauty of “Advanced Sharing” is that you can customize in detail how the folder is shared.

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Ciprian Adrian Rusen is an experienced technology writer and author with several titles published internationally by Microsoft Press. You can connect with him on 7 Tutorials, Twitter, and Google+ or even buy his books on Amazon.

  • Published 04/15/14

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