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Windows 7 - Using the Public Folders

You may have noticed the public folders on your computer. They are always installed with Windows 7. You'll find them in the "C:/Users/Public" directory, assuming that Windows is installed on your primary hard drive. The public folder can be very useful for sharing files with multiple users of the same computer or over a local area network. For a single computer only used by one person, the public folder is, however, something you'll never use. By default, networked file sharing is turned off in Windows 7, so you won't be able to see the public folders of a remote computer.

For your convenience, the public folder already contains five subfolders for storing documents, downloads, music, pictures and video. The contents of these folders are, by default, also accessible by their respective libraries. Once you have configured network access, you'll be able to place any files into these folders to share them with any other users of the network or other user accounts on your computer.

1 – Turning on Public Folder Sharing
Open the "Network and Sharing Center" underneath the "Network and Internet" section of the Control Panel. You can access the Control Panel by clicking on the link in the right-hand pane of the start menu. In the left-hand side of the window, click "Change advanced sharing settings."
Scroll down the page to find the section entitled "Public folder sharing." By default, it is turned off. If you have the setting turned off, only people logged in on the local computer will be able to access the public folders. Turning it on will make the public folders accessible to anyone on the network. Click on the "Save changes" button at the bottom.

2 –Accessing the Files from a Remote Computer
Go to any other Windows computer on your network and open "Computer" from the right-hand side of the start menu. In the explorer window which appears, click on the "Network" icon to the left. You'll see a list of the computers connected to the network. Double-click on the computer you were just using. You should now see the public folder appear in that computer, allowing you to access and use the files just as if they were stored on the computer you're now using.

3 – Adding a Network Location to Explorer
Conveniently, you can easily add a network location to Windows Explorer or to your desktop, taskbar or start menu by creating a network shortcut. To do this, click on "Computer" in the left hand side of the window you were just using. In the right-hand side, right-click anywhere in the unoccupied area and choose "Add a network location."

Click the "Next" button and then again on the next page. Click the "Browse" button. Browse to the public folder on the computer connected to the network. Click "OK" and then click "Next." Type in a name for the shortcut and click "Next" again. Click "Finish" and your new network location will now appear in Windows Explorer. You can copy the shortcut to your taskbar, start menu or desktop simply by dragging it to the location you want to copy it to.


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