Share Folders Between Windows 7/8 and Windows 10 (Step by Step)

In Windows 10, the option of File and Folder Settings has changed. The reason behind it is the removal of the HomeGroup Icon. This HomeGroup Icon was available in Windows 7 and Windows 8. Therefore, it is difficult for users to navigate the correct options of sharing Files and Folders in Windows 10. A lot of options are present for sharing files and folders in Windows 10 over a network.

However, Sharing files and folders on Windows 8 is similar to sharing files and folders on or between Windows 7 computers with one exception which is the password protected option located within the “File and Printer Sharing

To demonstrate file sharing between Windows 7 and Windows 8 – I will be using 1 x Windows 7 and 1 x Windows 8 running on my VMWare Workstation.

1. Setting up Sharing in Windows 7 

1.  On your Windows 7 computer/laptop go to Control Panel -> Network & Internet -> Network & Sharing Center -> Advanced Sharing Settings



Enable “Turn on network discovery” and “Turn on file and printer sharing“.

If you want to password protect your folders then Turn on the password protected sharing which is the last option within the Advanced Sharing Settings. Only users with access on this computer will be able to access the shared folders, when accessing  files on other computers you will need to use the username for the Windows 7 computer to access shared folders.

Now since we have enabled the required options, Click on the Save Changes button at the bottom.

2. Select a Folder or Folders to be shared from Windows 7 computer.

Right click on the folder that you want to be shared and select Share With then select Specific People. You will get the Sharing option  on all folders you right-click.

You will now be given a field to type in the username or select one from the list available in the pane below. Either select a username here, or create a username and assign a password to the username. When you’ll try to access the folder from the other computer/computers you will be prompted to provide this username and it’s password in order to access this folder.

Under the Permission Level, chose what permission the user should have.

Windows 7 Folders

Copy the path shown here (eg:\\computername\users\username\desktop\folder) and keep a note of it since you will need this to access the folder on the other computer. Now the folder is shared, click Done.

That’s it. You have now shared the folder on this computer.

2. Setting up Sharing in Windows 8

Sharing in Windows 8 is similar to sharing in Windows 7.

Go to the Control Panel > Network & Internet -> Network & Sharing Center -> Advanced Sharing Settings and turn the sharing on as you did for windows 7 above. (This is required if you wish to share folders from windows 8), but not if you wish to access shared folders from Windows 7.

You may also do a short cut to skip steps and automatically locate other computers on the network such as the Windows 7 one above from where we shared the folder.

To  do this exit out of the tiles mode to the Desktop mode on Windows 8.  Hold the Windows key and Press E.

Then select Network from the left menu. You will see a notification on top to turn on “Network Discovery and File Sharing” click on it and turn it on.

Within 2-3 seconds, other computers connected to the network will appear. (See screen below)

Now simply double click the computer name where the files are shared to view the shared files. If asked for the username and password for the PC where the files are shared, provide it. (This is the username for the PC where the folder is shared) If there  is no password setup for the user on Windows 7, then you will be required to set one up.

However, this will display everything that is shared. If you only want to access the shared folder then copy the path from the folder which is shared by right clicking on that folder and selecting Properties -> Sharing and then copying the path from under Network Path: in this case it is \\WIN-5PJGMAMN7OH\Users\HIDDEN\Desktop\appuals.

In the Windows 7 sharing, i also explained how you would copy the path immediately after the folder is shared.

Windows 8 Shared Folders

To access shared on Windows 7 simply repeat the same steps as shown above on accessing folders on Windows 8.

3. Setting up a Sharing in Windows 10

3.1 Sharing the Files using File Explorer

Windows 10 provides a built-in feature to share files. This is visible from the context menu; any file/folder you click will the option to Share Files. You can also define read and write permissions when sharing files or folders. It is important that any devices within which files are being shared are on the same network (Wired LAN) or (Wireless Lan).

  1. Open the File Explorer in Windows 10. Go to the folder that you want to share.
  2. Right Click on the folder and then select the PROPERTIES.
    Properties option in Windows 10
  3. In the next step, click the SHARING tab.
    Sharing Tab in Windows 10
  4. Click the Share Button.
    Share option in Windows 10
  5. You will get a dropdown menu for selecting the user or group to share the file or folder.
    Selecting a user or group for sharing files
  6. You can also add other users for sharing the folder by clicking the Add Button.
  7. By using the permission level section, you can select different types of sharing permissions. The different sharing permissions include read, read, or write, and remove options. Select your appropriate option.

    Customizing Sharing Permissions in Windows 10
  8. You have to remember the network path for your folder or file that you are sharing with the users.
  9. This network path is essential for other users to access the content by using the network. 

After following the above-mentioned points, just click the “Close” button and your file will be shared among your target audience by using File Explorer.

3.2 Using Advanced Settings for sharing the files 

Advanced settings in Windows 10 allow the users to set custom permissions for any file or folder.  For sharing the files by using the “Advanced settings”, use the following steps:

  1. Open File Explorer by holding the Windows Key and Press E.
  2. Go to the File or Folder that you want to share with other people. 
  3. Click on the item that you want to share and select the PROPERTIES.
  4. Select the SHARING TAB.
    Sharing tab in Windows 10.
  5. Select the option of Advanced sharing.
    Advanced sharing option in Windows 10.
  6. Click the option of Share This Folder.
    Folder Sharing Options in Windows 10.
  7. In Windows 10, by default, the only access given to the users with which you share your content is the read-only access. It means that whenever you will share your files or photos with other users, by default they will only be able to read the document and they will not be able to modify the content. If you want to grant certain permissions to the other users such as deleting, creating new documents, etc then you have to click the Permissions button.
  8. By using the Permissions Options, you will see the different options that are given to you for customizing permissions with different users regarding shared folders and files. You will customize the permissions for different users or groups with which you are sharing the file or folder. Depending upon your choice, you can give certain permissions to the other users and these permissions include open, delete, create new files, and edit the files. 
  9. Select that Apply button after finalizing the permissions.
  10. Select the OK Button to ensure that all the changes that you made to the permission section are saved.

3.3 Sharing files and folders in Windows 10 with a Particular User

Sometimes, there is a need that different files and folders are to be shared not among a group but with a particular user. Follow the following steps if you want to share your files and folders with a particular user in Windows 10:

  1. All the initial steps are the same. These steps include opening the file or folder in File Explorer that you want to share. Then going to the properties section. After selecting the sharing tab, follow the next steps for sharing the file or folder with a particular user.
  2. Select the Add button to add a new user with whom you want to share the file or folder. 
    Creating a new User for Sharing Files or Folders.
  3. Enter the name of the user with which you will share the file or folder. 
  4. Click the option of Check names.
  5. Select the Permissions that you want to give to this user accordingly.
    Customizing permissions for the users.
  6. Click the OK button at the end to save your choices.

3.4 Sharing Files Over the Network without using a Password

In Windows 10, the file-sharing is protected by the use of a username and password by default.  Sometimes, if you are sharing the file on your local network and you do not want people to access the information by using passwords, then you can disable this option. For disabling this option, follow the following steps:

  1. Go to the Control Panel
  2. Navigate the Network and Sharing Center option.
  3. Select the Network and Sharing Center option.
    Network and Sharing center in Windows 10.
  4. Select the option of Change advanced sharing settings.
    Advanced sharing options in Windows 10.
  5.  Navigate to the option of Password protection sharing. Select the option of “turning off password sharing protection”.
    Customizing Password Protection Settings in Windows 10.
  6. Select the Save button to save all the changes. 
  7. After following the above-mentioned steps, all the users with whom you will share your files and folders will not require any password to access the required materials.

In this way, by using the different methods mentioned in this tutorial, you can easily share your files and folders by using a network in Windows 10.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.
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Share Folders Between Windows 7/8 and Windows 10 (Step by Step)

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