If you want to share files between two desktop computers, using built-in Windows functions is a good way to go. Thus, if you add another computer to your network, you can easily exchange files with that computer without the need to install any additional software.
If you have two computers, each with wireless cards installed, then you can read my post on how to create a peer-to-peer network to exchange files between two computers wirelessly.
In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through a simple process to set up file sharing between two computers in Windows XP. Windows Vista has a completely different way of sharing files, so this is a separate article.
Network of two Windows XP computers
The first step in networking two computers together is to make sure they are in the same domain or workgroup. You can’t network two Windows computers if they don’t have one in common.
To do this, right-click on “My Computer”, select “Properties” and go to the “Computer Name” tab.
As you can see, my computer is joined to a workgroup called WORKGROUP. If I want to make sure another computer can communicate with this computer, I have to make sure it is also in a workgroup called WORKGROUP. To do this, just click the “Change” button.
When both computers are in the same domain or workgroup, you can set up file sharing. Navigate to the folder you want to share in File Explorer, right-click it and select Properties. Now go to the Sharing tab.
Click “If you understand the security risks but want to share files without starting the wizard, click here.” Now just select “Just turn on file sharing” when you have two options.
The wizard will just activate the firewall, but all SP2 and SP3 XP installations will automatically activate the firewall, so you don’t have to worry about that. You should now see the “Share this folder online” checkbox. Go ahead, check this out and check the box below if you want others to be able to edit shared files.
Now go to another computer on the network, open “My Computer” and click “Network Neighborhood”.
Now click on View Workgroup Computers to get a list of all computers in the workgroup. If you don’t see other computers in My Network Places, read my previous post to find solutions.
You should see the name of the computer on which you are installing the shared folder. Go ahead and double click on it and you should see a shared folder!
That’s all! If you have any issues such as “Access Denied” or “You do not have permission,” make sure File and Printer Sharing is added as an exception to Windows Firewall.
If you are having trouble networking two computers, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to help! Enjoy!