Windows XP Basic File and Printer Sharing Setup Guide
(for wired and wireless home networks)

First version: 12.12.2004 | This revision: 12.14.2004 (GMT+8)


Force NetBIOS To Enable On Each Computer
Go to Control Panel and double click Network Connections.

Right click your Local Area Connection or Wireless Network Connection, and select Properties.

Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click [Properties] button, then click [Advanced].

Go to WINS and select "Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP".

Identify Each Computer On The Network
Check the Computer Name for each computer is unique on your network, i.e., no two computer name is the same.


Go to Control Panel and double click System.

Click Computer Name tab.

Ideally, the entry for Workgroup on all computers should also be the same, but on Windows XP, this isn't necessary (still recommended).  In any case, the default Workgroup entry created during setup is typically called WORKGROUP (how original!).  This is the same on any Windows 2000/XP computer unless it has been changed.  On Windows 9x/Me, the default Workgroup name is MSHOME.

To change either Computer Name or Workgroup, click [Change].  Reboot computer when prompted for the change to take effect.

Configure Firewall To Permit Sharing
If you are using Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) on pre-SP2 Windows XP machines, the easiest is to disable ICF. If you wish to leave ICF on, you need to open the following ports to IP address
  • UDP 137
  • UDP 138
  • UDP 445
  • TCP 139
  • TCP 445
If you are using Windows Firewall (Windows XP SP2), you can simply enable File and Printer Sharing in the Exception section of the firewall configuration.

Go to Control Panel and double click Windows Firewall.

Click Exceptions tab and tick File and Printer Sharing.


For ZoneAlarm, place your adapter in Trusted zone. The default Internet zone can block File and Printer Sharing.
You will need to consult the software's help file on configuring other firewall applications.
Share Folders/Printers Over The Network
Turn on Simple File Sharing on Windows XP Professional.
(Home Edition do not need to do this as it uses Simple File Sharing by default)

Go to Control Panel and double click Folder Options.

Click View tab and scroll down and tick "Use simple file sharing (Recommended)" option.


Follow this example to enable file sharing (you actually share a folder or drive).



Follow this example to share a printer over a network.  
Creating Network Drives For Easy Access (Map Network Drive)

This part is optional - only if you want network folders on another computer to appear as a drive on your computer for easier access.

Open My Computer or Windows Explorer.

From the menu, click Tools, then Map Network Drive.

Choose a drive letter.

  • System drives will not be available for selection.
  • Network paths appear next to drive letters already assigned to a network folder

Click [Browse].

Locate the network folder and click [OK] to map to drive letter.
  • You can find computers that are connected to the same Workgroup and their network folders in Microsoft Windows Network under respective Workgroup.  If you have more than one Workgroup on the same network, they will also appear under this location.
A new drive with your chosen drive letter will now appear in My Computer as a network drive.  Notice the icon is somewhat different to that of a physical or hard drive.

Right click the new drive and select Rename if you wish to change the name given by the default naming convention.




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Disclaimer :
This is an online self help guide created for my family and friends.  It remains under construction and will be modified, refined, and updated continually (when time permits).  While tweaks and applications have been tried and tested extensively on different systems to ensure compatibility and stability, Spymac Network, Inc. and I accept no responsibility for any loss of data as a result of computer failure, so
use at your own risk please.
Remember: Always backup your important data before any modification!