Now that we’ve spent a few weeks getting our home network up and running, it’s time for the important stuff. Last week we began by sharing the printer. Sharing such resources for you is the real reason we have come this far and now it is going to all pay off.
File sharing is probably the most sought after service networks offer; not only in a home network, but in a business network as well. Proof of that claim is far more apparent when we realize just how many file types are capable of being shared.
Sure, word processing documents are the first thing that comes to mind, and they are very important indeed. But when you realize that music, pictures, and movies are also files, and can also be shared, a whole new level of file-sharing appreciation becomes apparent; particularly if you are sharing among a variety of different computerized devices.
Many HDTVs are now being fitted with processors and memory, just like a computer. These can be added to the network. Your smartphone can also be programmed to access network resources. Even your gaming console can be networked.
Probably the simplest file sharing occurs between computers running the Windows operating system (OS). We will limit this discussion, as we have in previous articles, to Windows XP because it is still the most prevalent OS being used in homes. Once you have connected everything the way we’ve described over the past few weeks, it is a simple matter of right-clicking the folder you wish to share over the network and select “Sharing and security…” from the drop-down menu. Make sure the Sharing tab is selected in the “My Pictures Properties” box and click “Share this folder on the network.” Your screen should look something like this.
Click OK (you may have to reboot your computers) and that’s all there is to it. Your My Pictures folder will now be accessible from every computer on your network. If you program your computerized HDTV according to manufacturer’s recommendations, it will also be able to access your pictures. When family and friends come over for the holidays, you can display a big screen slideshow of all your family photos! Similarly, many smartphone, tablet, and gaming console devices can be shared on the network; however, each of these devices has its own specific directions on how to do so and you will have to refer to the manual for each for specific intructions.
Remember, it is you who matters most when designing your network and sharing files; not the installer or the mobile geek guy! Make sure you insist on a pre-installation discussion before having someone else set it up for you. Like any other complex technology, the more energy and knowledge you put into it, the more enjoyment and satisfaction you will get out of it.