How To Enable File Sharing On Vista Without Any Password

Jack Cola 20-10-2009

sharing_introIf you use Windows Vista, you may notice that sharing files within your home network may be a little difficult. You get all these sorts of errors saying “˜Access Denied’ or “˜You don’t have the correct permission’ and your thinking why? How hard is it to share a simple folder?


So hopefully this tutorial will allow you to share files and folders to other computers on your network without a password. This tutorial is assuming that you do not have or use any type of user account password on your computer.  Since we will not be using a password to share our files and folders, other network users will be able to access, read or modify the contents of the files you choose to share. Only do this if you trust all computers and users that have access to your network.

The first thing to do to enable this kind of file sharing on Vista is to head over to the Network and Sharing Center. To do this, go to “˜Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network and Sharing Center‘ (you can simply paste this into a folder URL bar).

file sharing on Vista

The first step is to customize the settings under “˜Sharing and Discover‘. Under Network Discover, check “˜Turn on network discovery‘ and click apply. Under File Sharing, click “˜Turn on file sharing. It is up to you if you want to have Public Folder Sharing active or deactivated.

This simply means that any files and folders in the Public account on your computer will be accessible. If you only want to share certain files with all networked users, this is simply your easiest option to choose. However, if you want to share certain folders on your computer, continue reading.


The next thing is to ensure you select “˜Turn off password protected sharing‘. When I was testing this setting, when I had Password Protected Sharing on, I could not access my computer on another computer. When I had it set to Off, I could.

With the above settings set, you may already be able to access shared files on other computers. If you can’t, or you want to share individual folders, keep reading.

There is a folder on my hard drive that I want all users of my home network to be able to access. To share this folder, simply right click and choose Share.

file sharing on vista network


If you do not see something similar to this, you must have “˜Use Sharing Wizard‘ disabled. To enable it, type in “˜Folder Options‘ in the Start Menu search bar, select view and tick Use Sharing Wizard.


Now to share files with every computer on the network without a password, you have to add Everyone to be allowed access to the folder. So what you have to do is type the word “˜Everyone‘ in the text bar and click add. Click on the Permission Level and choose Co-owner, then click share. Everyone on the network should now be able to access and change files in that folder. If you only want to allow read access, simply choose “˜Reader‘.

If Sharing Wizard is switched off, pretty much follow the same principles. Right click on folder you want to share, and choose Share. Then click on Advance Sharing, then click on Permission, Click on Add, type in Everyone and click OK. Then set the appropriate access controls, and click OK to all the open dialog boxes.



You should now be able to access the folders on network computers without using a password. But remember, not using a password enables all networked computers to access your files, so be careful about the files you share. If you are still having problems with file sharing on Vista, make sure you ask for help in the comments.

Related topics: Computer Networks, Windows Vista.

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  1. Mark
    December 8, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    after following your steps, my message is:

    "your folder could not be shared"

    thoughts? thanks!

    • Jack Cola
      December 8, 2009 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Mark,
      Do you have "Use Advance Sharing" box ticked as shown in the second last image?

      I need more information about what type of folder you are sharing, and what method of sharing you are using.

      Some Tips:
      1. Make sure you are logged into the PC with an administrator account.

      2. Try adding a password to your user account and see if that works.

      3. Enter \\COMPUTERNAME into the folder address bar on another computer replacing COMPUTERNAME with the name of the computer that is hosting the folder. See what comes up and see if you can access it.

  2. summoner2100
    November 8, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I have had it once or twice where I've connected to the computer with password sharing turned on. I had to use and account on the machine I was connecting TO as the username/password.

    On a side note, Macs can also use this to connect to your folders but you have to have the "everyone" option under sharing. Then they can log in as "guest" when they do a connect to server.