The objective for this lesson is to explain in detail what the “Sharing Wizard” in Windows is, how it works, and how to use it in network sharing.
You will first learn how to tell whether the “Sharing Wizard” is enabled, and how to turn it on if it is off on your Windows PC or device. Obviously, you will also learn how to disable it if you do not wish to use it.
Then, you will learn the options that are provided by Windows for quick network sharing, so that you don’t have to go through an actual wizard with many steps.
Next, you will use the “Sharing Wizard” to share resources and assign detailed permissions to different user accounts and user groups. You will also learn how to set a shared resource so that it is easily accessible from computers with operating systems other than Windows.
At the end of this lesson you will learn how to stop sharing a folder or library with the whole network or only with a specific user account or group.
How to Enable or Disable the Sharing Wizard
The Sharing Wizard is enabled by default in Windows. To double-check that it is enabled, 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 click or tap the “Options” button on the far right.
This opens the “Folder Options” window where you can enable or disable the Sharing Wizard.
In Windows 7, click the “Organize” button on the Explorer toolbar and then “Folder and search options”.
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.
Scroll to the bottom of the list and you will find an option that says “Use Sharing Wizard (Recommended)”. To enable the “Sharing Wizard”, check this option and click or tap “OK”. Then, close the “Folder Options” window.
If you would like to disable the “Sharing Wizard” and use advanced sharing instead, uncheck “Use Sharing Wizard (Recommended)” and click or tap “OK”. Then, close the “Folder Options” window.
To learn more about advanced sharing and how to use it, read lesson 7.
How to Quickly Share Libraries or Folders in Windows
Enabling the sharing wizard doesn’t mean that you will always share things using a wizard in the true sense of the word but that you will have access to quick sharing tools. The fastest way that works in both Windows 7 and Windows 8.x is to right click on the library or folder that you want to share. In the right-click menu, click “Share with” and then a menu expands, displaying several options for sharing.
Here, Windows 8.x operating systems provide lots of sharing options:
- Stop sharing – stops sharing the selected item.
- Homegroup (view) – shares the item with others in the Homegroup, giving them read-only permissions.
- Homegroup (view & edit) – shares the item with others in the Homegroup, giving them read and write permissions.
- User accounts existing on your computer – shares the selected item with the select user account that exists on your computer. That user account is given read-only permissions.
- Specific people – starts the Sharing Wizard, as you will see in the next section of this lesson.
In Windows 7, the list of “Share with” options is smaller and it includes the following options:
- Nobody – the equivalent of not sharing the selected item.
- Homegroup (Read) – shares the item with others in the Homegroup, giving them read-only permissions.
- Homegroup (Read/Write) – shares the item with others in the Homegroup, giving them read and write permissions.
- Specific people – starts the Sharing Wizard which will be explained in detail in the next section.
If you need a refresher on permissions, go back to Lesson 1 to learn more.
The same sharing options are displayed also on the ribbon of File Explorer, in Windows 8.x. Select the item that you want to share and expand the Share tab on the ribbon. In the “Share with” section you will see the sharing options that are available when you right click that item.
Press the small arrow pointing downwards, to expand the list.
Now you will see all the available sharing options.
Windows 7 also provides another method for accessing sharing options. In Windows Explorer, select the folder or library that you want to share. Then, click “Share with” in the top toolbar.
You will then see a menu with all the available sharing options.
How to Share Libraries or Folders with the Sharing Wizard
The “Share with” options shared earlier are useful in most network sharing scenarios. However, you may want to set also the permission levels for the user accounts you are sharing with and give them read-write permissions, not just read-only. If you want to have control over the permissions you assign when sharing, then it is a good idea to use the “Sharing Wizard”.
First of all, pick a library or a folder that you want to share with others on the network. Right-click on it and select “Share with > Specific people”.