How To Share A Folder Over Your Network

Nowadays it isn’t uncommon to have more than one computer in a home, even if the owners aren’t tech savvy. Transferring files between these machines is a simple process, but not everyone knows how to do it. If you or someone you know has yet to learn how to share a folder over your local network, this beginner’s guide will show you how.

To see a demonstration and hear an explanation of the process for both Windows 7 and Mac OS Xv 10.6, be sure to watch the video above. The text below will help you through the rest of it.


Here’s how to share a folder on your Windows machine:

  1. Locate the folder you want to share and right click on it..
  2. Choose “Share with…” and then select “Specific People”.
  3. A sharing panel will appear with the option to share with any users on the computer or your homegroup. You can also choose to share with “Everyone”, which means the files will be accessible on your local network (basically just in your home) to anyone even if they don’t have a password. This is convenient but not secure. If you want to choose this option, you can find it by click on the drop down menu towards the top of the panel.
  4. After making your selection, click Share.

After you’ve clicked Share, Windows will take a moment to set up your new shared folder and it’ll be accessible from other computers on your local network. To access it, simply look for your computer’s name in the Network section on your other computer. When you choose it, you’ll have a new option to connect to this folder.

Mac OS X

Sharing a folder on Mac OS X isn’t as straightforward as it is with Windows, but it’s still pretty easy to do. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”.
  2. From the System Preferences panel, choose “Sharing”.
  3. On the left you’ll have a few options. Towards the top should be “File Sharing”, which is what you want. Click on it and make sure the box next to its name is checked off.
  4. When the File Sharing section loads, you’ll see two boxes. The left box will contain shared folders and the right box will contain the users that can access them. To add a folder, click the + sign underneath the Shared Folders box. Select the folder you want and press the Choose button.
  5. This folder is now shared, but to the right of it you’ll see what users can access this folder over the network and what they can do. For example, if you want them to be able to only read the files in the folder but not make any changes you would choose the “Read Only” option. Whatever you choose, this folder will now be shared across the local network.

To access this new shared folder from another computer, simply make a new Finder window in the Finder (by press Command + N on your keyboard or choosing “New Finder Window” from the File menu). In the bar on the left side of the window will be a section called SHARED. Beneath it will be a list of shared computers. Click on the name of the computer that has the folder you just shared and want to access. After a moment, a list of shared folders will load. Double click on the shared folder you want to access and you will be able to access it (possibly after entering your username and password, if you didn’t allow access to “Everyone”).

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