How to Share Folders Using Advanced Sharing in Windows

Sometimes you may need to disable the sharing wizard in Windows 7 or Windows 8, in order to gain more control over how libraries and folders are shared. It shouldn’t happen often though. Using Advanced Sharing is more complex but it provides additional control over what gets shared, with whom and how. That’s why, in this article, I will cover the following: how to disable the sharing wizard, how to share folders with specific people or with the Homegroup and how to stop sharing a folder.

How to Disable the Sharing Wizard in Windows 7 & Windows 8

Both in in Windows 7 and Windows 8, the sharing wizard is enabled by default. If you are the old-school type who would rather skip using wizards, then you can disable it.

First, open Windows Explorer (in Windows 7) or File Explorer (in Windows 8). Then, go Folder Options: Organize -> Folder and search options in Windows 7 or View -> Options in Windows 8.

In the Folder Options window, go to the View tab. Then, scroll down until you find the box that says 'Use Sharing Wizard (Recommended)'. Uncheck it.

Click or tap OK. The sharing wizard is now disabled and you will be able to follow the steps below to share folders with other computers and devices on the network.

NOTE: when you disable the sharing wizard, sharing libraries is no longer possible. You can share only folders.

How to Share Folders with Specific People in Windows 7 & Windows 8

If you want to share a folder with a specific user, right click or press and hold on it. Then, from the right-click menu, select 'Share with -> Advanced sharing'.

An alternative is to right click (or press and hold) the folder, select Properties and then go to the Sharing tab in the 'Folder Properties' window.

In the Sharing tab you view if the folder is already shared or not. If it is not shared, the Network Path entry will state ”Not Shared”.

Click or tap 'Advanced Sharing'.

The 'Advanced Sharing' window is opened.

First, check the 'Share this folder' box. If you want to use a different share name from the default one, type the preferred name in the 'Share name' text box.

Then, you need to set the permissions for the folder you are sharing. Click or tap Permissions.

In the Permissions window you will see the users or groups that have permissions to access the folder you are sharing. By default, any folder is shared with the user Everyone. On the bottom you have the permissions given to the selected user or group.

Before modifying the permissions assigned to each user or group, let’s add another user account that will receive access to the folder. Click or tap Add.

The Select Users or Groups window opens. In the text-box on the bottom, type the name of the user or group you want to give permissions to. If you are not sure which users/groups are registered on your PC, click or tap Advanced. If you know the exact user name or user group, click or tap Check Names to verify yourself, then OK and skip the next step.

Clicking or tapping Advanced, extends the Select Users or Groups window with new options and buttons.

Click or tap 'Find Now' and Windows shows a list with all user accounts and user groups registered on your PC. Select the one you want to share with and click or tap OK to get back to the previous window.

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There, click or tap OK one more time.

Now it is time to pick the access you want to give to each user or group. Select each user or group and check the permissions level you wish to assign:

  • Full Control - this is self-explanatory. When assigned, users or groups who have access to the shared folder can do anything with it: view it, modify it, delete it, etc.
  • Change - users or groups can change the contents of the shared folder but cannot delete its content.
  • Read - users or groups can only view the existing content without being able to perform any changes to it.

To remove a user or group, select it and click or tap Remove.

When done setting things up, click or tap OK. Then, click or tap Close in the Properties window.

The folder is shared with the user accounts or groups you selected, using the permissions you have set.

How to Share Folders with the HomeGroup Using Advanced Sharing

To share a folder with the HomeGroup, you need to follow the same steps as above. The only difference is that you need to give permissions to the HomeUsers group.

Once the HomeUsers group is added to the list of users and groups which have access to the shared folder, set the permissions you want to assign and you are done.

How to Stop Sharing a Folder Using Advanced Sharing

To stop sharing a folder, right click or press and hold on it. In the right-click menu, select 'Share with -> Advanced sharing'.

An alternative is to right click (or press and hold) the folder, select Properties and then go to the Sharing tab in the 'Folder Properties' window.

In the Sharing tab, click or tap 'Advanced Sharing' to open the 'Advanced Sharing' window.

Deselect the 'Share this folder' box and click or tap OK. Then, click or tap Close in the Properties window.

NOTE: If you only want to remove access for certain user or group to a shared folder, follow the instructions from the first section.

Conclusion

Sharing content over the network without using the sharing wizard is not as easy and straightforward as when using it. Also, it introduces a few limitations like not being able to share libraries. But you can control what user accounts and user groups access a folder, the permissions assigned to each and the share name of the folder.