Network file sharing and mapping network drives is a secure and convenient way to provide easy access to network resources. This is especially true when different versions of Windows require access to network resources. Mapping a local drive is a useful way to access a single file, specific folders, or an entire drive between different operating systems over a network. Mapping a drive, which is done by assigning a letter (A to Z) to the resource on a remote drive, allows you to use the remote drive as if it was a local drive.
Network File Sharing
First determine which resources will be shared over the network and the type of permissions users will have to the resources. Permissions define the type of access a user has to a file or folder.
- Read - The user can view the file and subfolder names, navigate to subfolders, view data in files, and run program files.
- Change - In addition to Read permissions, the user can add files and subfolders, change the data in files, and delete subfolders and files.
- Full Control - In addition to Change and Read permissions, the user can change the permission of files and folders in an NTFS partition and take ownership of files and folders.
Copy or move the resources to a share folder.
To share resources in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, use the following path:
Right-click the folder > Properties > Advanced Sharing > select Share this folder > Permissions. Identify who has access to the folder and which permissions. Figure 1 shows the permissions window of a shared folder.
To share resources in Windows XP, use the following path:
Right-click the folder > select Sharing and Security > Share this folder. Identify who has access to the folder and which permissions.
Network Drive Mapping
To map a network drive to a shared folder, use the following path:
Start > right-click Computer > Map network drive. Locate the shared folder over the network and assign a drive letter, as shown in Figure 2.
Windows 7 is limited to a maximum of 20 simultaneous file-sharing connections. Windows Vista Business and Windows XP Professional are limited to a maximum of 10 simultaneous file-sharing connections.