Though sharing files and other resources on Windows Vista is very easy, but you need to set it up once before you could use it. Unlike Windows XP the simple file sharing is turned Off in Windows Vista by default. You need to enable it manually. Another key point to be remembered is that the name of the workgroup in Windows Vista has been changed to Workgroup. In Windows XP it used to be MSHOME. Now if you have upgraded any Windows XP computer to Windows Vista than please make sure that you change the name of the workgroup to Workgroup other wise it wont be able to see or share resource with other computers on the network.
The workgroup name can be checked or changed by Clicking the Start Menu and then Right Clicking on the Computer and then selecting Properties. Once you have the Properties window open click on Advance System Properties and under first tab “Computer Name” you will find the Workgroup name. If you wish to change it click on Change button, change the name and then restart the computer. Once you are done with the Workgroup name you can find all the settings for File Sharing in Windows Vista in the Window called Network and Sharing Center. The Network and Sharing Center window can be opened by opening the Control Panel and then clicking on Network and Sharing Center.
In Network and sharing Center Window you will see that the top portion of the window is displaying you the connectivity status of your computer and the bottom half has all the Sharing related settings. First and the foremost you have to enable the Network Discovery and only then your computer would be visible by other computers. After turning ON the network Discovery expand the File Sharing options and you will find options for Enabling or Disabling the File Sharing. This is the place from where you can turn the File Sharing ON. After enabling the File Sharing make sure that you select appropriate setting for Password Protected Sharing. If Password Protected Sharing is ON then other computers would be asked for entering password before they could access your computers shared data.
The Shared Documents folder of Windows XP has been renamed as Public folder in Windows Vista and it is shared by default. If your computer is discoverable on the workgroup then its public folder can be accessed easily. There are three options under the option called Public Folder Sharing and one is for turning it OFF and the other two decide the level of success rights on the public folder.
Windows Vista’s Network and Sharing center has really simplified the concept of sharing and it can be used/modified by any user who doesn’t even have sound knowledge of networking. Everything required is to have your computer in the same domain as that of other computers, and to turn ON the file sharing pr the Public folder sharing appropriately. Using Network and Sharing Center you can even Enable or Disable the Printer Sharing the same way you enable or disable the File Sharing.