In other words, the hardware part is done, the computers are connected, but how to get the network into action? Sharing files between computers is not a difficult task. Let us go through various considerations and steps that are required to undertake this task.
Here it is assumed that you have already completed the hardware part for creating your network. Now, let us proceed to the other prerequisites. You need to first consider if the IP address in all the systems is set up in the same scheme.
Each IP address should be different from the other, but the scheme should be same. It implies that, the IP address of the computers in a network should be in the same class. It has basically four classes: Class A, B, C, and D. In general, Class C is the most used scheme for the local area networks or home networks.
It will be something like 192.168.254.x, where x can be any number. The x is the only number that you can vary and it can be anything from 1 to 255. Once you have assigned a unique IP address to all the computers, your next step is to provide a unique name to each of them.
The process is very simple for all the systems running on the Windows operating system. Just right click on the My Computer icon and select Properties. For Windows Vista, just click on the settings tab and then on 'change' and for Windows XP, click on the computer name tab and then on 'change'.
You also need to have the same workgroup to get your file sharing task done. Go to My Network Places and from options on the right side, select 'Set up a small home or office network'. Now follow the steps and when you get the option for entering the workgroup name, type a common name in all the computers.
Once you are done with this, your network is ready to share files between its units. If one of the computers is connected to the Internet, then you can type in the IP address of that machine in the default gateway option and all the devices can access Internet through it. However, our primary concern here is to share files, hence let's explore further.
How to Share Files
It is very easy to share files once you have completed your network. Go to network places and double click on the workgroup name you have created. It will contain the name of different computers. Double click on your computer name. Here you can store all the files that you want to share.
Another way is to simply right click on the folder which contains the files you want to share and click on 'Share'. However, how would you access the files that other units in the network are sharing with you?
You can simply follow the same steps as in the previous case, but instead of double clicking on your own computer name, simply click on the name of the computer from which you want to access the resources.
Also, if you want users to access your files, but do not want them to make any changes to, then what would you do? The process is simple. Simply right click on the file and select properties. Click on the sharing tab and set the option for not allowing users to modify any content.