How to find out what files and folders your computer is sharing in Windows Vista?

Even though it is your computer and you are the only one using it, sometimes you forget what files and folders you are sharing with other computers on your network. For example you might share an entire drive on the network and just forget you have done this. In the meantime you have been adding files to this that you do not want anyone to see, however because you have shared it previously it can still be accessed by the other computers on your network. You must go back and Un-share files and folders to stop the sharing process. The only other way to stop the sharing process is to break the network. If everything is running smoothly on the network, your files could be shared for as long as the network is alive.

How to see what files and folders you are sharing?

  1. Click on the network icon in the notification area to get to the Network and sharing center.
  2. If you do not have an icon available there you can go to the start menu, control panel, then the Network and Sharing Center.

Network and Sharing Center

  1. The Network and Sharing Center will open. See the screenshot below.
  2. See the arrow at the bottom? If you do not see the links that these arrows are pointing to (or something similar) then you have Windows Vista Basic.
  3. If you want to see the files and folders you are sharing press on Show me all the files and folders I am sharing.
  4. If you want to see the drives you are sharing press on Show me all the shared network folders on this computer.

Network sharing - files and folders

The screenshot below appeared when I pressed on the Show me all the shared network folders on this computer. As you can see below I am sharing a printer and some main hard drives.

When I pressed on show me all the files and folders I am sharing, nothing showed because I am not sharing any individual files and folders.

Sharing folders and files on Windows Vista - computer help

Reason why you need to see what files and folders you are sharing?

One of the main reasons for wanting to see what files you are sharing is to remind yourself what you are actually sharing on your network. This is also a great way to see all shared files and folders in one go, without having to search through your computer. Maybe you want to share a file. By following the steps above you can now check to see if you are already sharing this file. Its just a great way to stay in control of your shared files and folders on your network.

Notes on seeing what files and folders you are sharing:

  • If you are sharing no individual files then nothing will show up.
  • If you are sharing an entire hard drive you will have to click on the drive to see all the files on it that are being shared.
  • If you want to share a file or folder you need to be on a network, then sharing must be enabled for the item you want to share.
  • If you are using Windows XP See what files are being shared. This is a different way to see the files being shared on the network.