How to Share My Documents

By Tammy Clevenger

i Microsoft

With all versions of the Windows XP and Vista operating systems, a default folder to contain user documents named My Documents (XP) or Documents (Vista) is created upon installation of the operating system software. This folder may be shared, meaning that the folder may be configured to enable authenticated users with other accounts and/or on other computers to access the documents in the My Documents or Documents folder. Prior to sharing the folder, user accounts must be created for each sharing user on the computer containing the folder to be shared.

Create User Accounts for Shared Folder

Create accounts for each of the users who will be accessing the documents on the computer where the My Documents or Documents folder is located. To do this, click the Start button and select the Control Panel option.

Double-click the User Accounts icon in the Control Panel.

Select the "Manage Another Account" option. A new Manage Accounts screen will appear.

Double-click the Create New Account option on the Manage Accounts screen.

Define the user as a Standard user or Administrator by selecting the radio button next to the desired option. Best practices for Windows suggest user accounts contain the least permissions necessary for the user. Be sure to create user accounts as Standard users unless you are certain the user account will need administrative privileges.

Type in the user ID log-in name.

Click "Create Account." The new user account will be created and the page will refresh to display all user accounts for the computer.

Click on the newly created user name to set a password or further configure the account. To set the password for the account, double-click on the Create Password option.

Enter the password into the first input box. Confirm the password in the second input box.

Click "OK." The user account and password are now defined.

Share the My Documents or Documents Folder

Right-click on the "Start" button.

Select "Explorer" from the context menu.

Navigate to the My Documents or Documents folder, depending on the operating system version. This folder will be located under the directory named with the user's user ID. For example, if the user ID is TEST, the My Documents or Documents folder will be under the /TEST/ directory under the Desktop directory.

Right-click on the My Documents or Documents folder.

Select "Properties" from the context menu.

Click the "Sharing" tab on the Properties dialog box.

Click the "Share..." button in the first section of the Sharing screen.

Select user to provide access to the My Documents or Documents folder.

Select level of permissions for each user from the drop-down box on the right side of the user name. Standard users may have Reader, Contributor or Co-Owner privileges for the shared folder.

Click the "Share" button.

Repeat for each user who will access the shared folder.