How to Share Files With Other Computers in Windows XP

Share documents with other computers on the same network

Folder with multiple computer mice over world map
Fanatic Studio / Getty Images

Windows XP has been deprecated since 2014 and no longer receives security or feature updates. These instructions have been retained for people who cannot upgrade. The continued use of Windows XP is not recommended.

Windows XP lets you share documents, folders, and other file types with other users on the same local network, whether they use Windows XP or a different Windows operating system like Windows 10 or Windows 7.

After you enable sharing and choose what to share with other computers, you create a file server where you can transfer files between computers, share a computer with your network, copy videos, or share images.

How to Share Windows XP Files Across a Network

The XP network approach streamlines network file access:

  1. Ensure Windows XP Simple File Sharing is enabled.

  2. Find the location of the file, folder, or drive that you want to share. One easy way to do this is to open My Computer from the Start menu.

  3. Right-click the item or go to the File menu, then choose Sharing and Security.

  4. From the new window that opens, select the option called Share this folder on the network, then give the item a name for it to be recognized. If you want users to be able to change the item, select the Allow network users to change my files check box.

    If you can't select either of these options, it might mean that the file or folder is located within another folder that is set to private. You must allow access to that folder first. Go there and open the same sharing settings, but clear the Make this folder private check box.

  5. Click OK or Apply to save the changes and enable the new shared item.

Windows XP Sharing Tips

An alternative way to share files and folders entails moving or copying them to the Shared Documents folder located at C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents. In Windows XP, all files contained in the Shared Documents folder are automatically shared on the local network.

The procedure for sharing files in Windows 2000 and earlier versions of Windows can be accessed from the File > Sharing menu in Windows Explorer.

Sharing files in this way does not let you share files outside of your local network. In other words, you cannot send files to your friend who lives miles away. For that, you need a file-sharing website like WeTransfer or a cloud storage website like Dropbox that supports public links.