After you have built your own network, you may want to share files and printers between your computers. In this tutorial we will show you how this is done. We are assuming that you already have built your network. If that is not the case, read our tutorial How to Build a Small Network Using a Broadband Router, where we also explain how to share your Internet connection.

Before continuing, you should pay attention on how your network was built. Using a broadband router is our preferred way, since it works as a hardware firewall and will prevent people accessing your files from the Internet. If that is your case, just go ahead and share your folders and printers as described in this tutorial.

However, if you are not using a router, you should be very careful sharing folders. Depending on how your network is set up, people from outside your network can have access to your files. We have already explained about this on our tutorial Protecting Your Computer Against Invasions, so if you are not using a broadband router you must read this tutorial to learn how to prevent outside people from having access to your files.

So, what is sharing anyway? It is the ability for people from other computers besides your own to access resources located on it, like files and printers.

All tutorial is based on Windows XP. The way file and printer sharing works on previous Windows versions is just the same, however the exact name of the options is a little bit different.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.