File sharing is all about distributing data that is stored digitally. This data can be music, video, documents, photos and electronic books. There are file-hosting services to share files. These services use email, blogs or other Internet collaboration means that will allow them to insert links for downloading. Windows7 has come up with a straightforward solution for file sharing. By using this technique you can share files with anyone at home or office; procedure will be different though.

File sharing on home network

Firstly, you must create a homegroup or be a part of it. In homegroup, computers, which are members of it, share documents, videos, music and other files. Printers are even shared among homegroup. Windows7 PC is as major requisite for homegroup participation. While linking up with homegroup or creating one, it asks for libraries or folders that you want to share. You must specify folders that are to be shared and files that you want to keep private. Fastening of appropriate settings is the thing of Windows’ concern. Exception of yourself, no one has any authority to change settings customized by you. By using password of your choice, you can protect your homegroup from any strangers. This password is changeable at any time.

As we talk about compatibility of Windows7 editions, all editions of it such as Ultimate, Enterprise or Professional, support homegroup. You can join or create homegroup in all editions except Starter and Home Basic editions; in them you can only join homegroup cannot create one. On joining homegroup, computers working on domain can access files that are shared by others but cannot share any.

File sharing with anyone of your choice

Homegroup is the best way to share files automatically among that particular group. But what if you want to share files with others that are not from homegroup? Windows7 offers solution for it by serving ‘Share with’ menu. This menu allows you to select preferred files or folders and share them with others. Options of this menu vary with the type of network in use and type of file that is being selected. Generally there are following options.

  • First option is ‘Nobody’. By selecting this option you can make a particular file private. Nobody can access it except you.
  • Second is ‘Homegroup (Read)’ that enables you to share file with homegroup; but read-only permission is must for this sharing. This read-only permission allows recipient only to read file; he cannot make any changes in that file. Recipient is not allowed to delete that file even.
  • Third is ‘Homegroup (Read/Write)’ which is same as ‘Homegroup (Read)’; but in this case, read/write permission will be sufficient for sharing. With this read/write permission, recipient can do anything with that file. File can be read, modified or deleted even.
  • Lastly, there is ‘Specific people’ with which you can select people precisely in File Sharing Wizard. Sharing is done with these specified people only.

Shared documents

You can easily check files or folders that you have shared. In Windows7, these details are given in Windows Explorer. You can go to Windows Explorer by clicking on ‘Start’ button and then user name specified by you. On selecting any folder, you will see all the information at the bottom of screen. It will tell you if that file is shared and if it is shared, it will also provide information about recipient.

Public Folders

As a ‘Share with’ option makes sharing effortless, there is one more option named ‘Public folders’. Like drop boxes, this Public folder makes all files or folders available to other people when you copy them to this folder. These Public folders are present in each of your libraries for instance Public Videos, Public Documents, Public music etc. Sharing on Public folders must be turned on before sharing since it is off by default. It is a useful technique for sharing some documents with several people as it holds record of shared files. Unfortunately, these folders do not allow you to protect some files in them. Either you have to hide all files or none of them. But if that much flaws are considered, option of Public folders is not that bad for sharing.

There are various ways to share a file between different users and to use them effectively you must be aware of basic knowledge required for it.