In a home or office network, you need to share files, folders or the peripherals like printers with other users on a network. Microsoft offers an inbuilt utility called “File & Printer Sharing” which is helpful in managing and sharing IT resources among various groups and departments at office or home. Configuring the Network settings not rightly can lead to errors and breakdowns in the network, which affects the productivity at work. So I will be sharing with you some vital tips to configure the file and printer sharing correctly to avoid any troubles in resource sharing in a network.
Enable File & Printer Sharing
To turn on this feature, open control panel and search for “Network and sharing center”. Now from the left sidebar menu, open “change advanced sharing settings”. Next, under the File & Printer sharing heading, select the radio button that says “turn on file and printer sharing”. Also, make sure the option of “Turn on network discovery” is selected in the above section.
Computer/ Workgroup Name
For “file and printer sharing” to work correctly, make sure the computer name or Workgroup/Domain name are configured rightly. You need to provide a unique name to each computer so that the there is no replication of computer name on a network. And also make sure the Workgroup name is same for all the computers.
Among the various protocols for communication between connected devices in a network, TCP/IP works best on a Windows LAN. You have the option to either obtain the IP settings automatically or you can set it manually. In case a network is having computers with different versions of Windows OS, it is recommended to configure the IP settings manually. The chances of IP address conflict are negated in a manual setting and moreover, it is easy to PING the other IP address when you are having a list of all IP addresses with you.
So, each system or a device must have a unique IP address, but make sure that all the IP addresses belong to the same class. Open the properties of a Network adaptor and check that the “File and Printer sharing for Microsoft Networks” is there in the list and its radio button is selected.
For file and printer sharing to work perfectly, you need to check that the following windows services are running. You can open the Services Microsoft Management console by typing the command services.msc in the RUN command window.
- Computer Browser
- TCP/IP NetBIOS
File and Printer sharing tool uses certain TCP/UPD ports and sometimes Firewall can close these ports causing failure in Network communication. If you are facing some problem in sharing the files or other hardware, you need to counter-check if any of the firewall or security software is blocking these ports. You can disable the Firewall and check if the problem is resolved.
While sharing a printer or a folder make sure it is shared with appropriate users or everyone in a network with required permissions. Furthermore, any shared folder with a $ sign at the end will not be discoverable in a network. You must follow the Microsoft’s recommendation for Naming shares, directories, and files while assigning names to shared resources.