Windows 7 has made sharing files and folders on a network even easier with its HomeGroups function. However, if you think your Vista and XP PCs can't share the same network, you'd be wrong. We show you how to get all your PCs to play nicely on the network, including Macs.
Share a Mac printer from Windows 7
Windows 7 can also connect to a Mac OS X printer over the network. On the Mac, open the Sharing System Preference, and pick Printer Sharing. Select your printer.
On the Windows 7 PC, pick Start, Devices and Printers, and click Add a printer. Click The printer that I want isn't listed. Enter the pathname back to your Mac and printer.
In my case, my Mac is named 'Felix', and the printer is an Epson Stylus Photo R1800. So I entered \\Felix\Epson Stylus Photo R1800 and clicked Next.
Follow the prompts to finish the installation; this should be just like installing a network printer connected to a Windows system.
Set Up Windows 7 to share and connect to files
Windows 7 lets you share files through a combination of its public folders and manual selection.
If you want to share files with everyone on your network, just move them to the public location within any of the Libraries in the left pane of a window.
You can also share files or folders wherever they reside. Select an item to share, and pick the Share with menu at the top of the window.
Pick Homegroup (Read) to let people on your home network open, but not modify files. Pick Homegroup (Read/Write) to let people open and edit files.
Pick Specific people if you want to restrict access to certain user accounts.
If you hadn't earlier, you'll need to create a new login and password for people who can access these files.
Go to the User Accounts and Family Safety Control Panel, then pick Add or remove user accounts. Click Manage another account, and pick Create a new account.
Follow the prompts to create a Standard user, pick the account, and click Create a password. Now if you pick Share with: Specific people, click the drop-down arrow, and add the new account to the list.
Next, try connecting to files. If you're on the same HomeGroup as another Windows 7 PC, just open a new window, and look in the Homegroup area on the left.
Pick the PC, and browse the shared libraries inside. (Learn more about setting up a HomeGroup here.)
If the other PC isn't connected through a Windows 7 HomeGroup, you can browse through the Network tab a little lower on the left pane to find it.
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