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Vista's Public Folders - An Easy Way to Share Data

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 8/13/2009

You can share any data you want using Vista's built-in Public Folders. Public Folders offer a place to share pictures, videos, documents, music, and more, all from a central location, and anyone with permission to log on to the PC or network can access it.

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    Although there are lots of ways to share data, Public Folders are exceptionally easy to use, and require no familiarity of permissions, user accounts, or network shares. Anyone with an account on the computer can access data stored in these folders, and you get to decide whether or not to share files with people on your local network.

    Public folders offer more than a place to easily share data though. If make Public Folders a part of your everyday computing repertoire, you'll learn that it's also a great way to keep PCs organized by avoiding the age-old problem of multiple copies of data, especially when multiple user access the same PC. With say, Public Pictures, instead of having multiple copies of the pictures of your last vacation, you only need save one copy of them in the Public Pictures folder. Now, everyone who shares the PC can access them whenever they want. Once you get the hang of this, you can start creating subfolders in the Public Folders, and add your own touches.

    You'll have to locate the Public Folders first though, and then make sure you save data in them as the opportunity arises:

    1. Click Start, and click your personal folder to open it.

    2. If necessary, expand the Favorites and/or Folders pane so you can see Public. [See Image 1]

    3. Click Public to see the contents of the Public Folder (note in Image 1 I've added my own subfolders):

    a. Public Backups

    b. Public Documents

    c. Public Downloads

    d. Public Music

    e. Public Pictures

    f. Public Videos

    g. Recorded TV (if you have Windows Home Premium or Ultimate)

    4. Now, save data to any Public folder by browsing to it using any application's Save As dialog box.

    Note that you can also use Cut, Copy, and Paste to move data, or you can drag and drop it to move or copy.

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    Images

    Locate Public Folders