Sharing the Public Profile Folder

There is a very simple way to share files and folders with other users without using a homegroup, which makes this a simple solution if your network includes computers running older versions of Windows.

The trick is to use the folder named \Users\Public on the drive that contains Windows. If you enable Public Folder Sharing, this folder will be readable and writable by everyone on the network.

To enable sharing the Public folder, follow these steps:

1. Click the network icon in the taskbar and select Open Network and Sharing Center; or click Start, Control Panel, View Network Status and Tasks (under Network and Internet).

2. Click Change Advanced Sharing Options.

3. Locate Public Folder Sharing, and select Turn On Sharing. Then click Save Changes.

This makes the folder available to anyone who can connect to your computer over the network. Next, you must make it possible for people to connect. You can do this in either of two ways:

• Leave Password Protected Sharing turned on. Each of the other users on the network will need an account on your computer. You can create individual accounts, or you can create a single account, set a password on it, and have all the other users use that name and password when they go to use your computer's shared folder Users\Public. (The folder's full UNC name is \\computername\Users\Public, with the actual name of your computer substituted in place of computername.)

• In the Change Advanced Sharing Options screen, turn Password Protected Sharing off. Now, literally anyone who can connect to your network will be able to read and write files in your computer's shared folder Users\Public.

In previous versions of Windows, the public folder was listed in the [My] Computer display as "Shared Documents." It's not this easy to get to in Windows 7, so if you use this sharing method, you might want to create a shortcut to \Users\Public on your desktop for easy access.

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  • oskari
    What is a user and public profile folder?
    9 years ago

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