One of the most powerful features available in modern computing is the use of local area networks that allow you to share movies or music files across all devices in your home or office. You can use a network to set up a media server, share printers and scanners, or simply share files between two machines. Although in principle networking your computers is quite simple, in practice it can be difficult to get it to work properly. A common problem is the inability of one machine to see shared folders on another machine. In Windows 10, this issue has been largely resolved, but it still persists.
Older versions of Windows supported LANs, until Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in 1993. Until Windows 8.1, in fact, networking in Windows could be described as a nightmare, presenting problem after problem. If you had a functioning network on those earlier operating systems, in fact, you became really reluctant to change anything, lest your precariously functioning network collapse again.
Fortunately, Windows 10 has greatly improved this process. There are still issues, but networking and sharing resources within a network isn't quite the painful experience it once was. Windows 10 simplified the process of creating a network, so now all you have to do is set up a network share and it works like a charm, in theory.
Setting up a shared network folder in Windows 10
One of the most common causes of network issues in Windows 10 is incorrect configuration. Although this is the simplest Windows network possible, it is still very easy to get confused. This is how a Windows network should be configured.
- Open Windows Explorer and right click on a folder you want to share and select Properties.
- Then select the Follow us! tongue.
- Now click on the To share… button.
- Enter the people you want to allow access to your files in the pop-up box that appears or you can select Everyone from the drop-down menu if you don't have specific users on your home network. Click on Add once you have finished.
- Change the permission level in the window if you need. Read will give users the ability to play files; Read write will let them edit or delete files.
- Click on Share Once finished.
- Take note of the links provided to shared directories, you will need them to access folders on the network. Click on Completed after finishing everything and copying the link(s).
Once the share is set up, you should be able to access it from another computer. Open Windows Explorer, select Network in the left pane, select the file and log in using your credentials. That's it!
PC cannot see shared folders in Windows 10
If you set up sharing correctly, your PC should see shared folders in Windows 10. If you can't see them, perform these checks.
- Make sure your computers are using the same network and the same IP version, i.e. IPv4 or IPv6. Most home networks use IPv4, so you'll probably want to check that.
- Make sure Network Discovery is enabled on all computers.
- Make sure File and Printer Sharing is enabled on all computers.
- To toggle Enable password protected sharing to disable and retest.
- Make sure you sign in using the same account you entered when you added users to Share with.
- If you are using Windows Defender Firewall, open the Firewall app, select Authorized applications and ensure File and Printer Sharing is allowed to pass.
If none of these work, make sure all network services are running. The following services must all be set to Automatic and be running:
- DNS Client
- Function Discovery Provider Host
- Publishing function discovery resources
- Homegroup provider
- Home group earpiece
- Peer networking group
- SSDP Discovery
- UPnP Device Host
Even though Homegroup has now been removed from Windows 10, it is still mentioned throughout the operating system.
If your PC still cannot see shared folders in Windows 10, check the credentials of the computer you are trying to access the files from.
- Open Control panel.
- Now select User accounts you menu.
- Then click Credentials Manager.
- Then select Windows Credentials > Add Windows Credential.
- Add the IP address of the PC hosting the file and the administrator username and password for that PC, then select Okay to save.
Be sure to add the IP address and the administrator username and password of the computer hosting the files. You can then theoretically access the share by typing the network address in explorer on other computers, for example 192.168.0.52AdminAdminpassword.
Failing all that, there's always the Shared Folders Troubleshooter. Select Settings, Update & Security, Troubleshoot and select Shared Folders. Run the troubleshooter from there.
Access a shared folder that is not password protected
- Type "control" in the Windows search bar and select Control Panel, or you can go to the Settings page.
- Then select Network and Internet.
- Now select Network and sharing center.
- De Network and sharing center, select Change advanced sharing settings.
- Ensure Network Discovery et File and Printer Sharing are enabled for private, guest, or public networks and all networks.
- Check the box next to Enable automatic configuration of devices connected to the network where appropriate.
- Now under All networks, to fall over Turn off password protected sharing.
- Sous All networks, be sure to enable Public Folder Sharing.
- Click it Save changes button to apply the new settings.
Shared Folders in Windows 10
Networking in Windows 10 is a lot harder than it should be. If your PC can't see shared folders in Windows 10, one of these fixes should get you up and running. They all worked for me.
We have more networking resources available for you!
Wondering what kind of router you should buy? Check out our guide to the wireless router that's right for you.
Are you having problems with your WiFi network? Here's our wireless network troubleshooting guide.
Want a more secure network? Here's how to set up WPA2 Enterprise Security on your network.
Do you have questions about network security? Here is a guide for what WPS means in your network.
We also have a tutorial on what is custom firmware.
Did the suggestions help solve your dilemma? Do you have any other suggestions or tips to help you with Windows 10 networking? Feel free to share them with the community in the comments below!