How to set up file sharing in Windows 8.1

If you've got a few computers in your house that run Windows 8, and you want to share stuff between them, then you'll need to set up file sharing. There are a few ways to do it, and we take you through the different ways here. 

Turn on access to Devices and Content

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The first thing to do is to make your computers discoverable on your home network. The actual connection type doesn’t matter - they can be connected via Wi-Fi or directly connected in with an ethernet cable. But, they will need to be connected to the same router or network to see each other.

 
 
 
 
windows 8.1 device and content
1.

Open the Start Menu and type in 'PC Settings', then click on PC Settings.

2.

Click on Network.

3.

Click on the name of the network you’re currently connected to.

4.

Make sure Find Devices and Content is turned ON by clicking the switch.

pOnce it's turned on there are two options for file sharing. Either share with other users specifically, or set up a Windows Homegroup which shares Pictures, Music, Movies and Documents automatically to all computers in the group.

Sharing files through File Explorer

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To share a folder you can use the 'sharing' tab at the top.

To share a folder through File Explorer

 
 
 
 
file explorer
1.

Open up the File Explorer by clicking the folder icon on the taskbar (found at the bottom of your desktop).

2.

Browse to the folder you want to share, then click on it to highlight it.

3.

Click the Share tab on the Explorer Ribbon.

4.

Click on Specific people.

 
 
 
 
file sharing everyone
5.

Type Everyone to share it with all users and PCs on your network and press Add.

6.

OR if you only want to share with a specific user, type their name and press Add.

7.

Press the Share button.

The folder you picked will now be accessible to any other PCs on the network unless you specified only one particular user in the steps above.

To access a shared file through File Explorer

 
 
 
 
network file sharing
1.

Open up the File Explorer by clicking the folder icon at the bottom of your desktop screen.

2.

Click on Network on the left hand column.

3.

After a few seconds of loading, you should be able to see the PC the folder is shared from, so double click it.

4.

Double click the folder you shared. You will now see the shared files from the other PC.

Sharing files using Windows HomeGroup

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HomeGroups are feature that was introduced in Windows 7 to try and simplify the process of sharing files between home PCs. The idea is that you turn on a HomeGroup on one PC, connect all the other PCs to this HomeGroup and then they can all access each other’s files. Experts might find this approach a bit oversimplified, but you can always manually share files as described above.

Create a HomeGroup

 
 
 
 
windows 8 homegroup
 
 
 
 
homegroup sharing windows 8
1.

Open up the Start Menu and type homegroup.

2.

Click on HomeGroup settings from the list below the search box.

3.

Next click on HomeGroup.

4.

Your PC will search for any HomeGroups already set up. After it finishes searching, click Create.

5.

Once your HomeGroup is created you can choose which file types you want to share, such as pictures, music or videos.

 
 
 
 
create homegroup windows 8

You’ll also be given a password for the HomeGroup at this stage as well. Make a note of this somewhere as you will need it for the other PCs.

On your other PCs, follow the same steps above up to step 4, at which point rather than Create a HomeGroup you simply need to select the existing one and type in the password. You can then decide what content to share from this second PC.

This process should be repeated across all the PCs in your house so that they are all connected to the same HomeGroup and able to share files with each other.

Join an existing HomeGroup

 
 
 
 
homegroup password windows 8
1.

Open up your Start Menu and type homegroup.

2.

click on HomeGroup settings.

3.

Type in the password you noted from the steps above about creating a HomeGroup and press Join.

4.

Once joined, you can then decide which types of files to share from this second PC to the rest of your HomeGroup.

Find files in a HomeGroup

 
 
 
 
file explorer windows 8
1.

Open up the File Explorer by clicking the folder icon

2.

Click on HomeGroup on the left hand column.

3.

After a few seconds of loading, you should be able to see the other PCs in the HomeGroup, so double click this PC to see what files are being shared.

4.

Double click the Library you shared, and you'll see the shared files from the other PCs.

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