Finding Shared Windows Folders

Access shared folders with other networked PCs

What to Know

  • Open File Explorer > go to Network > select arrow or double-click Network.
  • You can also view shares using the Command Prompt by typing net share > Enter.

This article explains how to find a shared folder in Windows. Instructions apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

How to Find Shared Windows Folders

With Microsoft Windows, folders can be shared on a network so that desktops and laptops can access the files in these folders without physical access to the computer where the folders are stored. When a folder of documents or videos is shared, anyone with access can open, edit, save, and delete the files and folders if the permissions allow it.

The easiest way to find a list of network shared folders is to use File Explorer (Windows 10) or Windows Explorer (Windows 8 and Windows 7).

  1. Open Windows File Explorer, go to the Folders pane, and select Network.

    Network icon in the left pane of a Windows Explorer window
  2. Select the computer that has the shared folders you want to browse. In older versions of Windows, open Entire Network and select Microsoft Windows Network to see shares.

    Selecting the computer with a network shared folder.
  3. If shares are available, view them by either expanding the view by selecting the arrow in the left pane or by selecting the computer and viewing any shares in the right pane. If nothing appears, then nothing is shared. Folders that appear in this window are linked to the shared folders.

    Expanding the computer share in File Explorer.

The folder contents are the same as on the shared computer. However, the folder paths may differ if the person who shared the data chose a unique share name. For example, the path MYPC\Files\ with double backslashes points to the folder on the MYPC computer, but the actual folder path on that computer is C:\Backup\2018\Files\.

Use the Net Share Command

Use the net command to find the location of file shares, including administrative shares. In Command Prompt, enter the net share command to display the Share name that can be used to access the share plus the Resource, which is the share's true location.

Viewing the net share command in the Command Prompt.

Shares with a dollar sign ($) at the end of the name are the administrative shares, which should not be modified. The root of every hard drive, the print driver folder, and C:\Windows\ are shared by default as administrative shares. You can open administrative shares only through the name+$ syntax with admin credentials, such as MYPC\C$ or MYPC\ADMIN$.

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