I’ve received a number of requests for an article on how to share a folder. I know for many of you this is a very simple operation, but I finally realized there’s a reason for the confusion users are having.

Windows Vista includes a “Share” button on the explorer toolbar, but it doesn’t work the way people used to XP/Win2k expect it to. Instead it pops up a wizard to make things “easier”.

By default, this share button will not let you choose the name of the shared folder. Even more annoying, sharing a folder within your user directory will have a weird share name like \\computer\Users\geek\Contacts, which is much more difficult to remember.

If you want to share folders the way you used to on Windows XP, simply right-click the folder, and choose the Properties option.

Now choose the Advanced Sharing button.


Now you should be able to check the box “Share this folder”, and choose a share name, which will be accessible from \\computer\myshare, for example.

You can also click the Permissions button if you want to allow write access to this share, or allow access to only a particular user.

Profile Photo for Lowell Heddings Lowell Heddings
Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
Read Full Bio »