If you share a lot of files in between devices, setting up a network shared folder can save you a lot of time. It’s really easy to do, and really satisfying to see files automatically pop-up on multiple devices that have access to the shared folder. If you’re tired of emailing yourself files, digging your flash drive out of your miscellaneous drawer in your office, and don’t like using Google Cloud, OneDrive, or Dropbox, you can easily set up a home network server for your office or home. 

Note:

This is for your home network. Meaning, if you are on-the-go and not connected to your home Wifi, you won’t be able to access these files. However, if you have documents or folders that you use across multiple devices at home, this is a perfect solution. It is much more convenient then logging into the cloud every time you need to exchange a file.

Part A:

Creating a shared folder on your network

  1. Your first step is to partition off a section of your hard drive to use for the shared folder. Open up the start menu and type “Disk Management,” click on “Create and format hard disk partitions.” 
  1. Right click on the hard drive you want to subtract space from, and select “shrink volume”. You will be specifying this in megabytes(Mb) so in terms of gigabytes(Gb), there are 1,000 MB in a GB, so if you want a 50 gigabyte shared folder, type 50000 in the shrink volume space.
  1. Once you have finished shrinking the volume, right click on the new unallocated partition, and select “new simple volume”.
  1. The New Simple Volume Wizard appears, and make sure to leave the settings on default, aside from volume label, and volume drive letter. Pick a letter to represent your drive, (i.e., C drive a.k.a C:/) and then pick a name for your shared folder, such as, “Network Share,” which is what goes in the volume label field.
  1. Go to file explorer, and locate the new drive on the left panel. Right click and open up properties and go to the sharing tab., and click on advancing sharing.
  1. Click the checkmark (Share this folder), and give it a share name. (It may be better to keep the share name the same as the volume label name.
  1. Click on permissions, and select the audience (everyone), and give them full control. This will make it so anyone on your wifi can read, edit, and change the contents of the shared folder. If your home WiFi is secure this should not be a problem. Just keep in mind that other people in your home can see these shared files, so if that is a concern you can selectively choose who has access to what in the permissions tab.
  1. Click on the Security tab, and then click edit, and then add. In the window that pops up type “Everyone,” and then click find names. If you are setting this up for a specific user or user group, you would enter that here instead of everyone. However, if you are not worried about other people on your home network accessing this folder, “Everyone” is fine. Click Ok
  1. In the permissions panel, which should still be open, “Everyone” should not be visible. Click everyone, and change it’s permissions to the desired permission level based off of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Now you’ve created a shared folder that anyone on your home network can access.

Part B: Connecting to a shared folder on your network

  1.  On the computer that you created the shared folder with, open up file browser. On the left column, below the C drive, you should see your newly created network drive. Right-click and go to properties. Click the “Sharing” tab and identify the network path. It should look something like this:

You will need that network path to access the folder from your other computer. You can take a picture of it with your phone, write it down, or email it to yourself.

  1. On your computer that you’re connecting to the shared drive, go to file browser, and right click the “Network” icon. From this drop down menu, select map network drive.
  1. In the window that pops-up, you will need to enter the network path that you copied from step 10 in the “Folder:” field.
    Click Finish

Next, it will ask you for credentials. Log-in with your credentials from the computer that you used to create the folder. Alternatively, you can create a “guest” account that anyone can log-in with so you don’t have to share your username and password if you want to give someone else access to the folder. Any login on the computer hosting the shared drive will work.

You’re done!

Now create a text file in that folder on one computer, and go watch it magically appear on your other computer.