Windows networking how to view & access what’s shared on the network

Jul 21, 2020

Computers, regardless if they’re Macs or PCs, can all connect to the same network. Once two systems are on the same network, they can easily communicate with each other i.e., they can send and receive files from each other, and a user on one computer can access the files on the other computer over the network.

There are some conditions that apply; for one, the computer must allow files to be shared and for it to be accessible over a network. Second, the computer that is trying to access the other one must have the required credentials i.e., password, to access it.

Access other computers on the network

In order to access other computers on the network, you need to make sure;

  • The other computer has allowed/enabled network sharing.
  • You have a valid username and password that you can enter in order to authenticate access.
  • The computer, and your Windows 10 system are connected to the same network.

Enable network discovery

In order to access other computers on a network, your own Windows 10 system must also be visible on the network.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Paste the following in the location bar, and tap Enter.
  1. Click Change advanced sharing settings in the column on the left.
  2. Under ‘Network discovery’, enable ‘Turn on Network discovery’.
  3. Click Save Changes at the bottom.

Windows networking how to view & access what’s shared on the network

Access other computers

Now that your own system is visible on the network, you can access other computers that are on it.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. In the Navigation pane on the left, click ‘Network’.
  3. You will see all devices that are connected to the network. Double-click the computer you want to connect to.
  4. If prompted, enter the username and password that will grant you access to the system.
  5. You will see the Users folder and have access to select files. If the system that you’re accessing is also a Windows 10 system, you will be able to access public files and files inside the user’s folder. You will not be able to access anything that is on other, non-Windows drives.

Windows networking how to view & access what’s shared on the network


Generally speaking, this is safe as long as you know which computers are on the network and who is using it. You should never enable network discovery if you frequently connect to a public network or an unprotected one. Your system’s own password will still keep intruders out but a persistent and skilled hacker could still get in. Use this feature over small, private networks where you trust all the other devices/systems on it.

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Windows 10 allows the user to share his or her locally connected printers and stored files with other users over the network. Shared files can be accessible for reading and writing to others. Shared printers can be used for printing on the remote computer. Let’s see how to view all network shares available on a computer in your network.

It is easy to share a folder over a network in Windows 10 using the built-in file sharing feature. No third-party apps required. The procedure is covered in detail in the following article:

There are several ways to see network shares available on computers running on your network. Let’s review them.

To view network shares in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Press the Win + R keys on the keyboard.
  2. Type fsmgmt.msc into the Run box.
  3. This will open the Shared Folders MMC snap-in.
  4. On the left, click on Shares.
  5. You will see the list of shares, sessions and files open over a network, including administrative shares (C$, IPC$, etc).

View Network Shares in File Explorer

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. On the left, click on the Network item.
  3. There, you will see the list of network computers available on your network. Tip: See Network Computers are Not Visible in Windows 10 Version 1803.
  4. Double-click on the computer icon to see its shared folders, files and printers.

View Network Shares Using The Command Prompt

  1. Open a new command prompt.
  2. To view all shares of the current PC, type the following command: net share . Its output is as follows.
  3. To view all shares of a remote computer, type the command net view \\computername /all . Substitute the computername portion with the actual computer name running on your network.

The output of the commands above includes administrative shares. It is possible to exclude them from the net view command output. Just remove the /all argument and you are done. You will see only the user shares.

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About Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer from Russia who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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I recently upgraded my laptop from Win 7 to Win 10 and it is my work laptop.

I work at Client location so the domain of the network I connect to is different from the default domain configured on my laptop. I am not sure if this is a problem or not but want to state it because I think it might help in providing the solution to my problem.

Problem: –

Since I upgraded to Win 10, I am not able to access the network shared locations on our network. We have a Windows machine(not sure if it is Server) which is shared on our private network and access to it is governed by DOMAIN/username & password. It is available on both Wifi & Ethernet.

I connect to Wifi and access that Server using \\SEREVR_NAME from Run. When prompted, I provide the username & password including the DOMAIN name(different from default domain configured on my laptop). I can see all the folders available on that machine but am not able to access any of it. Not even a single one.

When double clicking on any of the folder opens a ‘Open Folder’ dialog box which says-

\\. \. is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.

The parameter is incorrect.

I double checked with our IT team and they confirmed I still have access to all the folders and nothing changed in recent past.

I was able to access them without any issues before upgraded to Windows 10. It never worked after Windows 10 upgrade.

I also confirmed that I have all permissions by accessing the same from a different Windows 7 machine on the same network(Wifi).

So there is some setting or something is blocking me accessing them from my laptop.

Any suggestions on how this can be resolved ?

Both McAfee & Windows firewalls are turned off at the moment so I don’t think it is firewall issue.

I enabled ‘Network Discovery and File sharing’ under Private Network and my connection type is Private Network.

What else I can try to get this working again on Windows 10 ?

Show all the shared folders on Windows-10, this example is also for Windows 8.1 and MS Server 2019!

Content / Solution / Tip:

1.) . Show all shared folders on Windows 10!
2.) . Prevent automatically adding shared folders to the Windows 10 Search index!

In this Windows 10 FAQ “Show All Shares” is a solution / simple explain how you can view all the shared directories (folders) that exist on your computer at once! However, anyone who is new to Microsoft’s Windows OS or just starting to build a home network may not know what releases are and what shares can be used for.

1.) Show all shared folders on Windows 10!

If you want to see all shared folder on Windows 10, please use the command : fsmgmt.msc via WINDOWS+R Run-Dialog

(Image-1) All shared folders on Windows!
Windows networking how to view & access what’s shared on the network

If you have set up your own home network, you have many functions at your disposal and you can share the files saved on your PC with your home network group for other devices. To learn how to share files, folders, and drives on the home network, read this part: ► Command to open Advanced sharing settings in Windows 10?

Useful info (c) Microsoft:

You can use in Windows 10 the Shared Folders Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in to centrally manage file shares on a computer. Shared Folders enables you to create file shares and set permissions, as well as view and manage open files and users connected to file shares on the Windows 10 computer.

The maximum number of users allowed to connect to a shared folder is limited by software licensing terms.

You can disconnect users from a shared folder by using the Shared Folders MMC snap-in or by using the command prompt. You cannot disconnect users through Windows 10 Explorer.

Share permissions apply to users who connect to a shared folder over the network. Share permissions do not affect users who log on locally, or log on using Remote Desktop.

View all shared folders on example is usable on: Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, Home, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows-Server 2019, 2016, 2012, Windows 7 Basic, Professional, Starter, Ultimate

2.) Prevent automatically adding shared folders to the Windows 10 Search index!

For this action you need Admin Privileges on Windows 10

Please Run the command gpedit.msc and open the Sub Folder:
Computer Configuration ► Administrative Template ► Windows Components ►Search

Select in List View Prevent automatically adding shared folders to the Windows Search index do Right Click

(Image-2) Shared folders Windows-10 Search Index!
Windows networking how to view & access what’s shared on the network

Over time, you lose track: which of your own folders are actually given free? Windows has just the right tool for this purpose, which clearly shows you all important information about releases.

Info about this policy:

If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, Windows 10 Search monitors which folders are shared or not shared on this computer, and automatically adds them to or removes them from the index.

Windows 10 home: have discovery turned on: private, public, all. Not sure what is going on.

I can access from my windows 10 pro system by entering “\\computer\sharedfolder” at that “network” page, but cannot see the computer there. Trying to run synctoy but it cannot browse to network\computer and if I type in \\computer\sharedfolder it is rejected.

So why can I access the remote folder using windows file manager but cannot see it in “network”

Turning off the firewall did not help and the shared & connection troubleshooter did not see a problem.

On both systems, the accounts are the same username, both verified, both ask if I want to use a local login.

I can map the remote drive to “X” or something available but there should be no reason why I cannot see the computer from the network page. I see other computers, but not this one.

Thanks for looking!

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Home Group networking has been removed from Windows 10 as a networking option. For instruction on setting up your home network please see the following guides

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any further assistance.

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Hi Beemer, this may be caused by the latest Windows 10 Update, if you were using the Homegroup functionality . ..

Click your Start Button, type winver and hit Enter

On the resulting dialog, what version of Windows 10 is reported?

If it is version 1803, Microsoft removed the Homegroup functionality in that version from Windows 10, without any warning

Click the link below for an alternative to Homegroup, written by Kapil

Standard Disclaimer: This is a non-Microsoft website. The page appears to be providing accurate, safe information. Watch out for ads on the site that may advertise products frequently classified as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Products). Thoroughly research any product advertised on the site before you decide to download and install it.

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I would like to share files between Windows and Ubuntu.

In Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, I could access shared folder on a Windows machine on my local network my navigating to Other locations in Files (Nautilus), accessing the Windows network, and browse. After upgrading to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, this no longer works for me.

How can I get access to folder shared in Windows 10 from Ubuntu 18.04?

Windows networking how to view & access what’s shared on the network

3 Answers 3

There was a change in both Windows 10 and Samba. Some of the details are explained here.

The browse by just clicking isn’t working, but you can get there by entering the shared folder link in the address field. Use the server’s IP address or the computer name for the share. In the example I’m using the IP address of the Windows 10 server:

Use Keyboard shortcut Ctrl + L to type in pathname:

Typing that in the file browser will bring up authorization prompt. Use the credentials from your Windows 10 server. This will display all the available shares. You can then click on the share you want access to.

There are two changes steps you may have to do. Set client max protocol = NT1 for the downward compatibility in the /etc/samba/smb.conf file. Place the entry just below the workgroup = WORKGROUP line.

It should look like this:

Once you have manually accessed the desired share, you can make it easily accessible in the future by bookmarking it. You can do this with the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl + D .

You can easily rename your bookmarks to something friend and meaningful by right-clicking the name that appears in the File Browser’s sidebar.

Install necessary packages:

You may have to install smbclient , which will ensure you have the necessary dependents such as the cifs-utils and the actual /etc/samba/smb.conf file.

On 18.04, I have just had success with the following:

On Ubuntu: Install smbclient and add client max protocol = NT1 to /etc/samba/smb.conf as per L.D. James’ answer (see this post for more info).

On Windows: Create a folder in Windows to share, e.g. named shared . Make sure the folder is shared: I created a new user on Windows, keeping the NewUser name and selected a simple password (I first tried changing the name, but found that change was apparently only skin deep. Perhaps if I had rebooted. ). I logged in with NewUser , then logged back in with my admin account. I activated network sharing on my private network and for the folder specifically (see e.g. this post). Then I right clicked the folder and chose Give access to. , choosing NewUser (you may want additional permissions: see the just linked to post). Under the Sharing tab, the folder now has a network path: //COMPUTERNAME/shared .

Still on Windows: To gain access to the shared folder, I used the IP of the Windows machine instead of the COMPUTERNAME , cf. this.

To find the IP of your Windows machine, right click the network logo, open Network and Sharing Settings and choose Change connection properties . Take note of the IPv4 near the bottom.

In Ubuntu: Finally, open a terminal on you Ubuntu machine and execute

and provide the password for NewUser when prompted.

This mounts the shared Windows shared folder as a folder shared in your Ubuntu user’s home directory.

The command is based on suggestions from here, where there are also suggestions for storing login credentials.

I hope it works. Good luck!


Can I access a network share on the domain with a non-domain computer? I would connect the computer directly to the corporate network.

For what reasons could this be blocked (firewall? policy? settings on server-side?) and what configuration is needed to make sure it is possible to access a network share with a non-domain computer?

Thanks already for your help!


You need a domain account (of course) and with that account you can access shares from a non-domain joined computer with the following syntax:

Net Use Z: Domain\Share (credentials)

Best regards, George

  • Marked as answer by NoNamez92 Tuesday, June 14, 2016 9:06 AM

According to your description, if you want to access domain share from a non-domain computer, please enable Guest account, assign Everyone group the permission to access the sharing folder and then add the Anonymous SID to the Everyone access token.

To enable anonymous access on a local workstation or server computer

  1. Open Local Security Settings. Click Start, click Control Panel, double-click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Local Security Policy.
  2. In the console tree, double-click Local Policies, and then click Security Options.
  3. In the details pane, right-click Network access: Let Everyone permissions apply to anonymous users, and then click Properties.
  4. On the Local Security Settings tab, click Enabled, and then click OK.

Also I find a similar post with your problem, please refer to the link below.

Please Note: Since the website is not hosted by Microsoft, the link may change without notice. Microsoft does not guarantee the accuracy of this information.

Hope it will be helpful to you.

Please mark the reply as an answer if you find it is helpful.

Access shared folders with other networked PCs

Windows networking how to view & access what’s shared on the network

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With Microsoft Windows, folders can be shared on a network so that desktops and laptops can access the files in these folders without physical access to the computer where the folders are stored. When a folder of documents or videos is shared, anyone with access can open, edit, save, and possibly delete the files and folders if the permissions allow it.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Where Do Shared Folders Go?

The easiest way to find a list of network shares is to use Windows Explorer.

Go to Windows Search and search for Network. Or, open Windows File Explorer, go to the Folders pane, and select Network.

Windows networking how to view & access what’s shared on the network

Select the computer that has the shared folders you want to browse. In older versions of Windows, open Entire Network and select Microsoft Windows Network to see shares.

Any non-administrative Windows shares that are set on that computer appear in the left pane. If no items are shown, then nothing is shared. Folders that are shown in this window are linked to the shared folders.

The folder contents are the same as on the shared computer. However, the folder paths may differ if the person who shared the data chose a unique share name. For example, the path MYPC\Files\ with double backslashes points to the folder on the MYPC computer, but the actual folder path on that computer is C:\Backup\2018\Files\.

Use the Net Share Command

Use the net command to find the location of file shares, including administrative shares. In Command Prompt, enter the net share command to display the Share name that can be used to access the share plus the Resource, which is the share’s true location.

Shares with a dollar sign ($) at the end of the name are the administrative shares, which should not be modified. The root of every hard drive, the print driver folder, and C:\Windows\ are shared by default as administrative shares. You can open administrative shares only through the name+$ syntax with admin credentials, such as MYPC\C$ or MYPC\ADMIN$.

The Network and Sharing Centre is one of the most useful system settings in Windows 10. It allows users to view network connections, modify settings and manage access to various network resources. In this article we will explore how to access and use the Network and Sharing Center to enhance your productivity.

How to Access the Network & Sharing Center in Windows 10

There are multiple ways you can access Network and Sharing Center in Windows 10.

  • Open the Windows Settings app by pressing “Win + I” keys on your keyboard. And navigate to “Network and Internet” settings.
  • Scroll down the status and click the “Network and Sharing Center” link. It will open on a new window.

Alternatively, you can type, “network sharing” in Windows search box and open Network and Sharing Center. Otherwise you can open “Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network and Sharing Center” in File Explorer to open the settings in Control Panel.

Details on Network and Sharing Center

The first thing you see on the Network and Sharing window is a list of your active network(s) connection status, as well as access and network type.

You can view many options to change the network settings below your active connection and on the left sidebar.

Customize Private and Public Network Profiles

Under the name of the active network, you can see the type of the network as “Private” or “Public”. For example, in the above screenshot it shows as a public network. Windows 10 allows you to customize the settings for the two profiles depending on the level of the privacy you want. For instance, you can allow device visibility and sharing when you are connected to your home network (private) and disable sharing on a public network.

On the left pane, go to “Change advanced sharing settings”. You will see three groups for private, guest or public and all networks profile. Expand the profile you want to change the settings and choose the available options.

Private Network Profile Settings

Let us expand the “Private” settings by clicking the down-facing arrow. You can check the “Turn on network discovery” to allow your PC to find other computers and devices on the network. This will also make your computer visible to other computers in the network. Check the “Turn on file and printer sharing” option to allow access to shared resources.

Public Network Profile Settings

To enhance privacy on public networks, expand the “Public” settings and turn off both the network discovery and file & printer sharing.

All Network Profile Settings

Click on the “All Network” option to expand the section. You will see bunch of options related to sharing of the resources that will affect both private and public network profiles.

  • Turn on public folder sharing to allow read and write access to public files.
  • Turn off the option to limit the access to users logged on to your computer.
  • Click the link under the “Media streaming” option where you can turn on/off the feature to allow users to control access to multimedia files on your computer.
  • Under the “File sharing connection”, pick a file encryption option to protect the sharing connection.
  • Finally, set “Password protected sharing” to allow resources sharing with only authenticated users.
  • After changing the settings, click the “Save changes” button at the bottom of the window.

Customizing the Current Connection

Now, let’s check how to customize the current active network connection. Go back to main screen of “Network and Sharing Center” and click on your current connection. It will be the name of your Wi-Fi name showing as a link against “Connections:” option.

  • This opens a “Wi-Fi Status” dialog, displaying information about the current connection. You can check the details including connection duration, connection speed and signal strength for wireless connections among other details.
  • Additionally, you can use the “Disable” button to disconnect your PC from the network and “Diagnose” button to troubleshoot and fix connection issues.
  • To enable/disable connection sharing, go to “Properties” and then select the “Sharing” tab.
  • Under the “Internet Connections Sharing”, you may tick the boxes to allow other users to connect to the internet through your PC, as well as to control the shared connection. Click “Ok” to confirm the changes.
  • Close the network status dialog.

Setting Up New Network or Connection

Go back to the main screen of the Network and Sharing Center. Click on the “Set up a new connection or network” link under the “Change your network settings” section. This gives you the option to configure an access point or a router and to manually set up a dial-up or VPN connections.

From the resulting set-up wizard select the “Connect to a workplace” option and click “Next”. On the next screen, choose an option to create a new connection. This will give you two options to connect to a workplace network remotely:

  • Either through a VPN over the internet or
  • Directly through a dial-up connection.

Select one of the options and follow the wizard to finish creating a new network connection.

For the other options:

  • “Connect to the internet” – To manually connect to the internet via a dial-up or broadband network.
  • “Set up a new network” – Used to view and configure routers and access points.
  • “Manually connect to a wireless network” to add and connect to a new wireless network.

Troubleshooting Network Problems

The simplest way to identify a network problem is by clicking the “Change adapter settings” option. This displays all your “Network connections” and their status.

  • If a network has an issue, you will notice a red “X” mark attached. To diagnose the problem, click on the network and click “Diagnose this connection” from the menu above the list.
  • This will open Windows Network Diagnostics dialog. Windows will check for errors and suggest a solution. Follow the instructions to fix the network adapters error.


Windows 10 Network and Sharing Center gives you full control over your network connections. It also helps to enhance resource sharing and privacy. The list above is not exhaustive. You can do much more by tweaking these settings to achieve the best performance.