Sharing files by email is stupid. Sharing files with Dropbox is nice. But sharing files by UNC path is just plain awesome.
WINDOWS: According to Everything Guru Wikipedia, UNC “is short for Universal Naming Convention or Uniform Naming Convention, [which] specifies a common syntax to describe the location of a network resource, such as a shared file, directory, or printer.” What? Ya. Basically, in the most elementary sense, UNC is two back-slashes before a name (“\”) and is used to access shared files or folders. So, if I wanted to access some files on a friend’s computer (on my network), at the very least, I would go to Start>Run, type in \myfriendsPCname and press Enter. A window will pop up on my computer showing me what folders/files I can access. My friend has to assign Share rights on what he wants me to access. Right away, this is a ton easier than using extra software or email.
Here’s how to set it up on your PC(s) on XP Pro
To share a folder, right click it and go to properties. Go to the “Sharing” tab and select “Share this folder” then give it a name. Press apply and ok….unless you want to assign permissions on it, say if you only want a certain person to have access to it, then there are more steps included. But if you just want to share it right away and with anyone, you’re done. Do this on folders, CD drives, plugged in USBs, etc. It’s never a good idea to share your entire “C:” drive though. If you want to share just a file, you’ll have to put it in a folder, as Sharing can only be set on the folder level. One extra cool thing about sharing like this is that you CAN share a CD in your CD drive. They actually access YOUR cd on YOUR computer FROM their computer. Pretty cool. I actually did this today at work from my PC because I was too lazy to walk back to the server room to install Office on a server.
Ok, so when you press OK to accept the sharing information, look to your folder now, the folder will have a hand underneath it, signifying it’s being shared.
Now that your friend has some stuff to share with you, you’ll want to access it. Of course you’re on the same network, otherwise we’re talkin’ about a lot more steps. So on your PC, go to Start>Run and type in \yourfriendsPCname and press enter. This will take you to everything you can access on your friend’s computer. To go to a folder directly, add a backslash after the above and then the shared folder name. I should mention this: to get the name of a PC, press Windowskey+Pause/Break or Right Click My Computer>Properties>Computer Name tab>Full Computer Name.That’s it.
If you’re a Linux or Mac lover, I would love to hear your procedure for doing this. Chime in below.