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How To Setup and Configure Vista File Sharing

If you made it this far you have probably already setup and configured Vista for networking, if not please read how to setup and configure a home or business network in Vista.

When I setup networks I like to use the control userpasswords2 applet supplied by Microsoft. In order to use the applet you will have to download a .reg file and add the information to your registry. You can download the control userpasswords2 applet here. Save the file to your documents folder. After saving doubleclick the file to add the information to your registry.

Before we go any further, launch the Network and Sharing center by clicking Start and then right click Network and choose properties. Make sure Network discovery – File sharing – Printer sharing and Password protected sharing are enabled. If you want simple file sharing enabled then you have to disable password protected file sharing. For this how to article we will be using password protected file sharing.

Next, we need to setup and configure the user accounts that we want to have access to the files we will be sharing. Launch the control userpasswords2 applet from the control panel or while holding down the WinLogo key on your keyboard press R on your keyboard. In the run box type control userpasswords2 and press Enter. You should now see an applet like the one illustrated below.

control  userpasswords2 applet

Next, click on Add, fill in the name, full name and description fields and click Next. Give the new user a secure password and click Next. Make the new user a Standard user and click Finish. Repeat the step for every user on your network that you would like to have access to the files you will be sharing.

Create User Groups. For administrative purposes it would be easier to group every user together by creating user groups, this way you can apply permissions to the group which would automatically affect every user in the group instead of assigning permissions to every user separately. For example you may want to create a group called Salesman and another group called Accounting and another group called Managers. To create a group launch the control userpasswords2 applet and select Advanced and then click Advanced again. Next, right click Groups and select New Group as illustrated below.

user groups

Start adding the groups you would like to use, and add the users to the groups. To add a user to the group click Add then in the box labeled Enter the object names to select type in a user you created and then click Create as illustrated below.

adding a user  to the group

Now that we have completed adding users and groups we can share folders by groups instead of individual user accounts. Create a folder on your hard drive and label it Managers, or give it a name that only managers will have access to. Drop all the files you would like the managers to have access to in the folder. Now that you have all the files in the folder that you would like the managers to have access to we need to set permissions on the folder so only the managers group will have access.

To configure folder permissions do the following:

  • Right click the Managers folder you created and select Properties.
  • Next, click Sharing and then click Advanced Sharing.
  • Select the radio check box labeled Share this folder. Give the folder a name and then click Apply and then click Ok as illustrated below.

advanced  sharing

Next, we need to setup and configure the access control lists. To setup the ACL’s do the following:

  • Right click the managers folder and choose properties.
  • Click on Sharing and then click Advanced Sharing. Next click on Permissions.
  • Highlight the Everyone group and choose Remove.
  • Next click on Add, in the Enter object names to select box type in Managers or a group that you want to have access to the files and then click Ok.
  • Next, give the group Full Control and then click Apply and OK, as illustrated below.
  • Now only Managers have access to the Managers folder on the network. Repeat the above steps for every folder you wish to share on the network.

permissions

Ok, we are now setup, configured and ready to go with our network. I will give you a special tip however before ending this document. Any folders that you share on the network should be on the root of the hard drive, do not share any folders that are in the Documents folder. Keep your shared files away from your personal folders. I always keep shared folders on a separate hard drive, they are easier to manage and never get destroyed by rookies formatting drives before data backup.

You may also be interested in reading:
How To Setup and Configure a Home or Business Network in Vista
How To Setup and Configure Remote Desktop
How To Setup and Configure Port Forwarding
How To Troubleshoot Networking Issues In Vista

Happy Computing!