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Sharing Windows Permissions in Depth, Part 3

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Eric Geier, author of 100 Things You Need to Know about Microsoft Windows Vista, continues the discussion on sharing permissions and settings. You'll discover how to configure Vista's new network settings. Plus you'll learn a few tips and tricks to improve your networking experience.

This third and final installment continues our discussion on network sharing with Windows. You already discovered the advantages of using the advanced sharing settings in Part 1.

Before we configured the sharing and NTFS file permissions in Part 2, we organized the user accounts and groups among all the PCs.

Now we'll take a look at the new sharing settings offered by Windows Vista. Plus we'll see how to change our network passwords so we can log in to shared computers with varying credentials.

Let's get started!

Configuring Vista's Sharing and Discovery Settings

Microsoft introduced new sharing settings in Windows Vista. Besides the sharing permissions we discussed in Part II, pervious versions of Windows didn't have other basic sharing preferences you could set.

Vista offers a more user-friendly networking experience with new features that offer additional functionality and more control of shared resources. Since this goes along side of sharing permissions, we'll discuss Vista's Sharing and Discovery settings.

When you right-click the network icon in Vista, you can select Network and Sharing Center. Then you can refer to the Sharing and Discovery settings, such as those shown in Figure 1.

When Network Discovery is on, you can find other computers on the network and they can find you. You should enable this when connected to your private secured network.

Additionally, you should also have File Sharing enabled. These settings simply edit the Windows Firewall, thus allowing or blocking the traffic on the associated ports.

From the Sharing and Discovery settings you can also change the way in which you want to share the Public folder, which simply edits its sharing permissions.

Then you specify whether to let others on the network use your printer. Next, you can require users accessing the computers to supply a password or not.

If you followed the advice in the earlier articles and created matching accounts across all the computers, it's best to enable password-protected sharing so any rogue users can't access resources.

The last setting, Media Sharing, lets you control the types of media you want to share, and with whom.

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