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Setup a Multiple User PC: Using Shared & Public Folders to Your Advantage

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Christian Cawley•updated: 6/16/2009

Do you have multiple users with multiple accounts on your Windows PC? Use the Shared and/or Public folders to decrease how much data is stored on your hard drive. This will eliminate duplicate data because multiple users won't have a need to copy music, videos, or pictures to the hard drive.

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    Windows XP offered Shared folders, and Windows Vista offers Public folders. If you have a multiple user PC, you should take advantage of these.

    There are lots of ways to use these folders, for instance, you can move all music to the Shared or Public Music folder and then everyone who accesses the PC can listen to it. Additionally, you can save all Movie Maker files to the Shared or Public Video folder and all pictures to the Shared or Public Pictures folder. [See Image 1] Then, instead of each person storing the vacation photos and videos in their own personal folders, they'll be stored in the shared folders (and only once). You can even create subfolders inside the shared folders to personalize it for your family or your workplace.

    When you move data around like this though, you have to tell your applications where to look for the data the next time it's required. In Windows Media Player 10 for example, you'd use Tools>Options and the Library tab to tell Media Player 10 to search for media in your Shared Music folder. In Movie Maker 2, you'd need to browse to the new folder to save and retrieve files.

    Consider the following for subfolders to further personalize your shared folders:

    * A Homework subfolder where junior can save his homework and you can check it.

    * A Team Project subfolder so every employee on a project team can access and edit data stored there.

    * A Family First folder where everyone has access to a shared calendar, address book, events schedule, wills, important documents, and other pertinent information.

    * An Internet Downloads folder where downloads can be stored and accessed by everyone.

    * A Zipped folder where zipped or compressed files can be stored and universally managed.

    * An Attachments folder so users can save e-mail attachments they would otherwise email to a user on the same machine.

    * A Recipes folder with subfolders for each member of the family; Junior can find out here how long to put a hot dog in the microwave or a pizza in the pizza oven, while the hubby can learn how to boil water.

    * A Teams folder that holds schedules, team rosters, rankings, and phone numbers.

    By using Shared and Public folders, you can share data with anyone how has access to the computer.

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