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Configure File Sharing for Windows Vista

Windows provides two methods for sharing files directly from your computer: you can share files from any folder on your computer, or from the Public folder. Either method allows you to share files or folders with someone using your computer or another computer on the same network. Which method you use depends on where you want to store the shared files, who you want to share them with, and how much control you want to have over the files.

Share Files from the Public Folder on Your Computer

With this method of sharing, you copy or move files to your Public folder and share them from that location. If you turn on file sharing for the Public folder, anyone with a user account and password on your computer, as well as everyone on your network, will be able to see all the files in your Public folder and subfolders. You cannot restrict people to just seeing some files in the Public folder. However, you can set permissions that either restrict people from accessing the Public folder altogether, or that restrict them from changing files or creating new ones.

To Control the Level of Access to the Public Folder

  1. Click to open Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Click the arrow button next to Public folder sharing, and then click one of the following options:
    1. Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open files
    2. Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open, change, and create files
    3. Turn off sharing (people logged on to this computer can still access this folder)
  3. Click Apply.  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Note: When you share the Public folder on your computer with other people, they can open and view the files stored there just as if they were stored on their own computers. If you grant them permission to change files, any changes they make will change the files on your computer.

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Share Files from Any Folder on Your Computer

With this method of sharing, you can decide who will be able to make changes to the files you share, and what kind of changes (if any) they can make to them. You do this by setting sharing permissions. Sharing permissions can be granted to an individual or to a group of users on the same network. For example, you might allow some people to only view your shared files, while allowing others to both view and change them. People you share with will be able to see only those folders that you have shared with them.

You can also use this method of sharing as a way to access your shared files when you are using another computer, since any files you share with other people are also visible to you from another computer.

For further information on how to set up file sharing for any folder on your computer, Windows Vista has an excellent Help and Support section on file sharing. To access Help and Support for file sharing, click Start, then Help and Support. In the Search bar that is provided, enter the text string share files with someone and click the magnifying glass icon. Select the top result as provided.

Computing Services strongly recommends the following file sharing notations for the Dartmouth campus

  • File sharing should only be enabled when needed. Leaving file sharing turned on unnecessarily opens a significant security breach on your machine, and could result in a security compromise.
  • When adding Dartmouth domain users for specific files sharing access, note that accounts should be entered in the format KIEWIT\John_A_Doe.
  • Always make sure to add yourself to the list of people with access to any folder you are sharing.
  • When setting permissions for users on a shared folder, we recommend you give the user Everyone no rights at all.

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Connecting to a Windows Vista Computer from Another Windows Computer

From the Start menu, select Run, then enter two backward slashes (\\), followed by the name or the current DNS name of the target computer (such as \\ When prompted, enter your user name and password. Note that for Kiewit domain computers, you will need to add KIEWIT\ to your account name, and replace all empty spaces with underscores (e.g., KIEWIT\john_a_doe). Your password will be your DND password. The folders that were set to share will become accessible.

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Connecting to a Windows Vista Computer from a Mac OS X Computer

From the Macintosh computer, select Go from the Finder Tool bar, then Connect to Server. In the Server Address field, enter the name of the Windows computer you are trying to access, along with the protocol to use. The syntax for this would be smb:// Note the forward slashes (//) are used for the SMB address when using Macintosh OS X.

In the SMB/CIFS Filesystem Authentication window, enter your user name and password information for the Windows computer (i.e. John_A_Doe) which will not necessarily the same information that is automatically filled in in the Connect window). In the Workgroup/Domain field, enter KIEWIT. In the Username and Password fields, enter your account name and DND password, then click OK. Select the volume you want to access.

For more information or assistance with file sharing:

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Last Updated: 2/18/10