Windows 8 has the ability to share files between computers just like its predecessors. Unfortunately, the look of Windows 8 may make setting up files sharing a little difficult. Today, I would like to show you how you can easily share files using Windows 8.
First, position your mouse in the top right corner of the screen to bring out the charm bar. At the bottom of the charm bar there is an icon that looks like a little cog. This is the “Settings” icon. Click it and you will see the menu pictured below. Click the “Network” icon that you can see highlighted in red below.
Under the “Networks” menu, find your network and right-click it. You will see a menu that says “Turn sharing on or off”. Click this option.
Click the option that says “Yes turn on sharing and connect to devices”.
Now, find the tile on the main screen labeled “Desktop”. This will take you to the traditional desktop screen.
Once you are in the desktop mode, go ahead and bring out the charm bar by positioning your mouse in the upper right corner of the screen. Choose the “Settings” icon and then choose “Control Panel” at the top of the screen. In the control panel window, you should see something similar to what I have pictured below. You will noticed I have highlighted a group and underlined an option that says “Choose homegroup and sharing options”. Let me give you a real quick overview of homegroup. Windows 7 and Windows 8 will allow you to share files using the homegroup feature. It is a very easy way to share files between computers without having to worry about user level permissions.
Pictured below, you can see the “Homegroup” screen. You have several options here. First, you can set what you want to share between computers. This is a real easy way to make an entertainment PC in your home because you can share movies and music with other devices in your house and stream them from your PC.
If you haven’t created the initial homegroup then instead of the picture above, you will see what is pictured below. At this point, you will want to click the “Create Homegroup” button and select what files you want to share. Then you will be able to see the options pictured above.
Once your group is created, you will also notice towards the bottom of the screen that there are other settings. One in particular I want to highlight is the option to “View or print the homegroup password.” Go ahead and click this option. Notice the long password at the top of the screen. This password is automatically generated for you by Windows 8. Even more cool, is they are nice enough to give you instructions at the bottom of the window so you know how to connect to shares on this computer. At this point you will want to write down the password generated by Windows 8.
Now that we have the initial homegroup created, we need to join other computers to it. Please note, only Windows 7 and Windows 8 can do homegroups. In the example below, I went to my Windows 7 PC and clicked the homegroup options as previously shown above. Notice that my Windows 7 PC sensed a homegroup had been started on the network. At this point I clicked “Join Now” at the bottom of the screen.
Remember that long password I showed you earlier? This is why you need it because when you click the “Join Now” button, you will be prompted for the password to join the homegroup. At this point, you decide what files you want accessible on the other PC and voila!, you have a homegroup.
Here’s how you can share a file using homegroups. On the Windows 8 PC, create a folder on the desktop. I called mine “Home Budget”, but you can call it whatever you wish. Now, right-click that folder and choose the “Share With” option. Notice in the picture below, you have the option to share with the ‘Homegroup” and give them “view” rights or “View and edit” rights. If you don’t want people on the other computer to be able to change files on the Windows 8 computer, choose the “view” only option.
So now the big question becomes, “how do I get this file from the other computer?” What you are looking for is a path. The easiest way to get that path is to right-click the folder, just like we did above, and choose “Properties”. You will see the window pictured below. Click the “Sharing tab” and notice the network path that is listed.
Now, go to your other computer, and click the “Start” menu. Where it says “search programs and files”, type the path that was shown to you on the properties menu exactly and hit “Enter”. This will take you directly to that folder.
Another way you can access files is to go to your “Computer” window from the start menu, and look on the left side of the screen for “Homegroup”. Under it, you will see all the computers that are members of your homegroup listed, as pictured below.
All the files that were shared by default on the Windows 8 computer will be listed in the window to the right of the homegroup list.
I hope this tutorial helps you in getting files shared across your computers. As always, feel free to comment or email me any questions you may have.