File sharing. Is the sharing of a disk or printer between computers . If a disk or folder is shared, everyone on the network can access it. You have the ability to set password and permissions for the shared disk or folder for security therefore Windows XP tries to protect you from some potential security risks.
Right click the disk or folder that you want to share and select Sharing and Security.

NOTE: The first time you do this the Networking wizard will appear ..CLOSE IT..:-

The Wizard automatically enables the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) to prevent other Internet users from accessing your shared disks and folders. Enabling ICF is a good idea if you connect directly to the Internet through a dial-up, DSL, or cable modem. But it's a terrible idea if you connect to the Internet through your LAN, using a software router (like Internet Connection Sharing) or a hardware router, since it will block File and Printer Sharing.

The disk or folder that you share, along with all of the folders that it contains, will be accessible by other network users. If you're sharing an entire disk, Windows XP gives a warning. The implication of the warning is that it's better to share a specific folder, since only that folder (and its subfolders) will be accessible by others, and the rest of the disk will be inaccessible. Click where indicated if you want to go ahead and share the entire disk. This screen doesn't appear if you're sharing a folder.

XP will display a warning. If you want ICF enabled, select Use the wizard to enable file sharing. Otherwise, select Just enable file sharing.
Having successfully stopped the Wizard's , you now have to specify a Share name, which users on other networked computers will use to access this disk or folder. For maximum compatibility with all versions of Windows, use 1-12 characters.

By default, users on other computers have full access: they can read, write, and delete shared files. If you only want them to be able to read files, un-check Allow network users to change my files.

Warning: If a user has full access, deleting a file doesn't put it in the Recycle Bin. Once it's deleted, it's gone for good.

Hiding a Shared Disk or Folder
What if you don't want everyone on the network to be able to access a shared disk or folder?

The answer is to create a hidden share by adding a dollar sign ('$') to the end of the share name. A hidden share doesn't appear in My Network Places or Network Neighborhood on any of the networked computers. Only people who know the share name can access it.

To create a hidden share, right click the disk or folder and select Sharing and Security.

Specify a share name that ends with a dollar sign. Once again, use 1-12 characters (1-11 before the dollar sign). If the people on your network are clever enough to guess a name like myfiles$, use a more secure name, like a combination of letters and numbers. Just make sure that you can remember it.
Mapping Hidden Drives
Accessing a Hidden Share:
A hidden share doesn't appear on any of the networked computers, so how can someone on another computer access it? The answer is to map it as a network drive, which assigns a drive letter to the hidden share. Once it has a drive letter, you access it just like a disk on the same computer.

To map a network drive, open My Computer, click Tools, and select Map Network Drive.

Specify an unused drive letter and enter the network path for the hidden share, being sure to include the dollar sign. If you check Reconnect at logon, the mapping will happen automatically every time you start your computer. Otherwise, you'll have to map it manually every time.

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Vishnu vardhan Reddy Boda is Tech Blogger and Software Engineer.

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