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How to set up a network share folder with multiple names on Windows 11, 10

To add multiple share names to the same folder on Windows 11 (or 10), open the shared folder “Properties” settings, click “Advanced Sharing,”...
HomeTechnologyHow to share files on Windows 11

How to share files on Windows 11


  • To share files on Windows 11, open File Explorer, select the file or folder, and click “Share.” Then select the sharing method, including email, Nearby Share, or application, and continue with the on-screen directions.
  • To share files over the network, open the file or folder “Advanced Sharing” settings, enable sharing, and set the permissions.
  • It’s also possible to configure network file sharing without a password on Windows 11.
  • If you want to share a file or folder stored in the cloud, you can use the OneDrive file-sharing option from File Explorer or from your OneDrive web account.

On Windows 11, the default system tools make sharing files with other network users easy. If you want to share a folder with documents, pictures, videos, and other types of files, you can complete this task in at least four ways. Continue reading to learn how.

The easiest way to share files over the network is to use the “Windows Share” experience. However, this feature works best as a one-time transfer since, with this option, you will be sending a copy of the file to another device or person.

The OneDrive option allows you to share files and folders that have already been uploaded to the cloud. Using this method, you will send a link to the content in your account, meaning that you won’t send the file directly to the other person. You can revoke access at any time, and if you are sharing documents from Word, Excel, or a similar application, you will also be able to collaborate with other people in real-time.

In addition, Windows 11 includes more advanced sharing capabilities, including the ability to share a folder in the network, allowing other people within the local network to access specific files. Also, depending on the configuration, other people can store additional files in this location that anyone with permission can access. 

Although you can still share content with other people over the network, if you use Windows 11 with a Microsoft account and sign in with a PIN, face recognition, or the passwordless authentication option, you may run into many issues setting up file sharing. It’s best to create a new local account to set up the sharing and avoid problems.

In this guide, I will teach you how to share files over the network using File Sharing, Nearby sharing, and OneDrive on Windows 11 using simple steps.

Share files on Windows 11 from Share

Windows Share is the default sharing interface for transferring files (documents, videos, pictures, and more) to other devices and people within the local network. This method needs the Nearby Sharing feature and Bluetooth as part of the requirements, but you don’t have to set up advanced file-sharing configurations.

To share a file with another computer or person, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.

  2. Open the folder with the file to share.

  3. Select the file to transfer.

  4. Right-click the file and choose the Share option.

    File Explorer Share option

  5. (Option 1) Click the Turn On button to enable Nearby Sharing and Bluetooth (if applicable).

    Windows 11 enable Nearby Share

    Quick note: The Neary Sharing feature has to be enabled on the source and destination computers.

  6. Select the device to transfer the file under the “Nearby Share” section.

  7. Click the Save & open or Save button on the notification to transmit the file to the destination computer.

  8. (Option 2) Select the application (including WhatsApp, Outlook, etc.) to share the file under the “Share using” section.

After you complete the steps, the file will be transferred over the network to the other computer and stored in the “Downloads” folder. The file will be sent as an email attachment if you choose Outlook or a contact. If you choose the WhatsApp app, the file will be sent as a message in the same way you send images and other files on your phone.

On Windows 11, Nearby sharing doesn’t work with OneDrive files. If you want to share a file from this location, you need to use the OneDrive sharing option.

Share files on Windows 11 from OneDrive

You can also share files across a network or worldwide using OneDrive, and the steps below will explain the process from File Explorer or the web version of OneDrive.

OneDrive share from File Explorer

To share files using OneDrive on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open OneDrive in File Explorer.

  2. Open the location with the folder to share.

  3. Right-click the folder and choose the Share option.

    OneDrive share file option on Windows 11

  4. (Option 1) Click the Copy button to copy the link to the file you want to share.

    Windows 11 OneDrive share files with link

  5. Send the link by email or text message to give anyone access to the file.

  6. (Option 2) Click the “Anyone with the link can edit” option to change the settings to share a file with a specific person or group of people.

    Windows 11 OneDrive Anyone with the link can edit option

  7. Choose the Specific people option.

    OneDrive specific people sharing

  8. Check the “Can edit” (to view and edit) or “Can view” (to view only) option.

  9. Click the Apply button.

  10. Confirm the email of the person to whom the content will be shared.

    OneDrive sharing select user

  11. Click the Send button.

Once you complete the steps, the recipient will receive a link to access the file directly from your OneDrive account, but they won’t have access to any other file on your cloud storage.

It’s important to note you can share files and folders from your OneDrive account.

OneDrive share from the web

To share OneDrive files from the web, use these steps:

  1. Open OneDrive online.

  2. Open the location with the folder to share.

  3. Right-click the item and select the Share option.

    OneDrive web share file option

  4. (Option 1) Click the Copy button to copy the link to the file you want to share.

    OneDrive web copy sharable link

  5. Send the link by email or text message to give anyone access to the file.

  6. (Option 2) Click the “Anyone with the link can edit” option to change the settings to share a file with a specific person or group of people.

    OneDrive web Anyone with the link can edit

  7. Choose the Specific people option.

    OneDrive web sharing settings

  8. Check the “Can edit” (to view and edit) or “Can view” (to view only) option.

    Quick note: The “Set expiration date” option is only available for Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscribers.

  9. Click the Apply button.

  10. Confirm the email of the person to whom the content will be shared.

  11. Click the Send button.

Once you complete the steps, the file or folder will be available to anyone who receives the link from within your account.

Share files on Windows 11 from File Explorer

The best way to share files with other users in the local network is by using the “File Sharing” feature on Windows 11. The reason is that it’s more customizable since it’s possible to use more restrictive permissions and share files with other platforms, including Mac, Android, and Linux devices.

On Windows 11, you have two ways to share files using File Explorer. You can use the basic settings to share files with minimal configuration or the advanced settings to configure custom permissions and advanced options.

Share files with basic Windows settings

To share files on a local network using the express settings on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer on Windows 11.

  2. Open the location with the folder to share.

  3. Right-click the item and select the Properties option.

    Open folder properties

  4. Click on the Sharing tab.

  5. Click the Share button.

    Open file share wizard

  6. Select the user or group to share the folder using the drop-down menu – for example, the Everyone group.

  7. Click the Add button.

  8. Select the sharing permissions for the folder’s content under the “Permission Level” section:

    • Read (default): Users can browse and open files.
    • Read/Write: Users can view, open, modify, and delete the content on the folder they are sharing.

    Windows 11 file share permissions

  9. Click the Share button.

  10. Click the “No, make the network that I am connected to a private network” option (if applicable).

  11. Confirm the folder’s network path so that other users can access the network’s content.

  12. Click the Done button.

  13. Click the Close button.

After you complete the steps, users in the network should now be able to access the files using a user and password from an account available in the destination or source computer from File Explorer > Network > Computer and open the shared folder. 

You can use these instructions to configure network discovery if it’s not enabled on the device since it’s a requirement to discover and browse devices in the local network.

Share files with advanced Windows settings

To share files in the network using the advanced sharing settings on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.

  2. Open the location with the folder to share.

  3. Right-click the item and select the Properties option.

    Open folder properties

  4. Click on the Sharing tab.

  5. Click the Advanced Sharing button.

    Open Advanced sharing

  6. Check the “Share this folder” option.

  7. Click the Permissions button.

    Windows 11 folder sharing settings

    Quick note: Windows 11 allows other users read-only access to the content you share by default, meaning they can only view files but cannot do anything else. If you want users to edit the files, delete, and create new documents in the location, you must manually select the permissions.

  8. Select the Everyone group.

  9. Check the permissions to access the contents of the folder:

    • Full Control: Enables users to read, change, and edit permissions, allowing them to take ownership of files.
    • Change: The user can read, execute, write, and delete files and folders in the share.
    • Read: Allows users to access and view the contents of the folder.

    Share file permissions

  10. Click the Apply button.

  11. Click the OK button.

  12. Click the Security tab.

  13. Click the Edit button.

    Open security edit settings

  14. Click the Add button.

    Open add users and groups

  15. Click the Advanced button.

    Open Advanced settings

  16. Click the Find now button.

  17. Select the Everyone group.

    Select share files group

  18. Click the OK button.

  19. Click the OK button again.

  20. Select the Everyone group again.

  21. Check the Full control option.

    Security folder permissions

  22. Click the Apply button.

  23. Click the OK button.

  24. Click the Close button.

Once you complete the steps, the shared content should be available on the “Network” page of File Explorer from the remote computer. Confirm the user and password for the account you configured in the shared folder when prompted for the network credentials.

If you have a device set up with a Microsoft account, you will get a prompt to sign in to access the network contents in the share, and using your email and password is likely to fail. You can get around this problem by using a local account if you configure the share with the “Everyone” group or the user and password of an account available on the remote computer.

Alternatively, you could switch your Microsoft account to a local account and then again to a Microsoft account, and then you can use the account to sign in.

Share files on Windows 11 without a password

Windows 11 protects shared content with a password, meaning that only those with the account information can access the shared folder.

If you want to set up network file sharing for people you know and trust (for example, family and friends), you can disable the option to require authentication to access the contents without a password.

Warning: Sharing files without authentication isn’t recommended, as it poses a security risk. You should only use this method if you understand how to use the feature.

To disable password protection for file sharing on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings

  2. Click on Network & internet.

  3. Click the Advanced networks settings page.

  4. Click on Advanced sharing settings under the “More settings” section.

    Advanced sharing settings

  5. Click the All networks setting.

  6. Turn off the “Password protected sharing” toggle switch.

    Disable password protected sharing

  7. Open File Explorer.

  8. Open the location with the folder to share.

  9. Right-click the item and select the Properties option.

    Open folder properties

  10. Click on the Sharing tab.

  11. Click the Share button.

    Open file share wizard

  12. Select the user or group to share the folder using the drop-down menu – for example, the Everyone group.

  13. Click the Add button.

  14. Under the “Permission Level” section, select the sharing permissions for the folder’s content:

    • Read (default): Users can browse and open files.
    • Read/Write: Users can view, open, modify, and delete the content on the folder they are sharing.

    Windows 11 file share permissions

  15. Click the Share button.

  16. Click the “No, make the network that I am connected to a private network” option (if applicable).

  17. Confirm the folder’s network path so that other users can access the network’s content.

  18. Click the Done button.

  19. Click the Close button.

After you complete the steps, users should be able to access the shared folder without a password.

This process will only work for devices using a local account. You will always need to sign in if you have a device configured with a Microsoft account unless you use Credential Manager to store the shared folder credential information on the remote computer.

Files you share will only be available to users if your computer is turned on and accessible, except for the OneDrive sharing method. However, using OneDrive, users must have an internet connection to access the shared content.

Update July 8, 2024: This guide has been updated to ensure accuracy and reflect changes to the process.



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