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XP Networking Tips reviews basic home or small office network help.


Simple File Sharing

By default, simple file sharing is enabled on a Microsoft Windows XP-based computer if the computer is not a member of a domain. With simple file sharing, you can share folders with everyone on your workgroup or network and make folders in your user profile private. However, if simple file sharing is enabled, you cannot prevent specific users and groups from accessing your shared folders. If you turn off simple file sharing, you can permit specific users and groups to access a shared folder. Those users must be logged on with the credentials of user accounts that you have granted access to your shared folder.

If simple file sharing is enabled, you see the simple file sharing user interface appears instead of the Security and Sharing tabs. By default, this new user interface is implemented in Windows XP Home Edition and in Microsoft Windows XP Professional if you are working in a workgroup. If you turn off simple file sharing, the classic Security and Sharing tabs appear, and you can specify which users and groups have access to shared folders on your computer.

Note: To allow for specific users to access the share folder after the simple file sharing is disabled, you should configure both the NTFS permissions on the Security tab and the share permission on the Sharing tab of the share folder. NTFS permissions can only be set on a partition using NTFS file system. If you remove the Every Group from the NTFS permission, you cannot access the share folder over the network.



How to turn off simple file sharing (XP Pro)

To disable simple file sharing, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, and then click My Computer.
2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
3. In the Advanced Settings section, clear the Use simple file sharing (Recommended) check box.
4. Click OK.



How to check XP's Guest account for network access (All)

Go to Start and then Run and then type cmd and then click OK. Next, type net user guest and then press Enter.

If file sharing is turned on, you will see a listing of shares and a line stating: Account active  Yes. If you do not see this and you want to turn this service on, type net user guest/active:yes (with all the spaces included) which will show that the command completed successfully. 

Note: When you the Command Prompt, you MUST type everything exactly is you see it. For  complete listing of commands to use with the command prompt, please visit our Computer Commands page.



How to share a folder or a drive with other users (All)

To share a folder or a drive with other users, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, click My Computer, and then locate the folder or drive that you want to share.
2. Right-click the folder or drive, and then click Sharing and Security.
3. On the Sharing tab, click Share this folder.
4. To change the share name of the shared folder or drive, type a new name in the Share name box. Other users see the new name when they connect to this shared folder or drive. The actual name of the folder or drive does not change.
5. To add a comment about the shared folder or drive, type the text in the Comment box.
6. To limit the number of people who can connect to the shared folder or drive at the same time, click Allow under User limit, and then type the number of users.
7. To set share permissions on the shared folder or drive, click Permissions.

Note: To share folders and drives, you must be logged on as a member of any one of the following groups:
                          Server Operators
                          Power Users
8. Click OK.

Note: You must share a folder to gain access to the contents. To verify that a folder is shared, click Start and then Run and then type fsmgmt.msc and then click OK.



Problem: The Sharing tab is not visible.

Fix: Use the Services snap-in to start the Server service. To do this, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
2. Click Performance and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, expand Services and Applications, and then double-click Services.
3. Right-click the Server service, and then click Start.


Problem: The folder is already shared.

Fix: Click New Share, and then type the new share name.



Problem: You want to hide the shared folder.

Fix: To hide the shared folder, type $ as the last character of the share name. Other users cannot see this shared folder when they search by using My Computer or Windows Explorer, but they can map to the shared folder.


Problem: Other users occasionally cannot use your shared folder.

Fix: No more than 10 other users can connect to your computer at one time if you are using Windows XP Professional. In Windows XP Professional, the maximum user limit is 10, regardless of the number that you type in the Allow box.

You can use the Shared Folders snap-in to create and manage shared folders, view a list of all the users who are connected to a shared folder over a network, disconnect one or all of them, view a list of files opened by remote users, and close one or all the open files. To start the Shared Folders snap-in, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, and then right-click My Computer.
2. Click Manage, and then click Shared Folders.



Problem: Can't find the IP address for setting up network.

Fix: Click Start and then click Run and then type cmd and then OK.

Next, type ipconfig /all and hit Enter. You will see your IP address, DNS information and other important data. Write all of this down for EACH machine that you plan on networking.



Problem: Can't connect to the other computers on my local network.

Fix: You can ping another machine on your network and see if it answers. If you have a firewall installed, you should ping the machine and then open the firewall log and find the computer in the incoming log and ALLOW the address completely.

Next, click Start and then click Run and then type cmd and then OK.

Next, type ping XXX.XXX.XXX.XX (replace the X's with your IP address). You should see packets sent successfully. If you get the error Request timed out, you probably have an issue at the machine you are trying to reach. Go back to it and follow the steps again. The biggest mistake is usually a spelling/typo error. Everything must match!