August 21, 2008

Files Can Be Shared on Wireless Network

By Heather Hamilton

Abby recently received a desktop computer. In her household, the setup was strictly wireless with a laptop and a router. The router wasn't positioned in close proximity to her new desktop computer.

She was curious as to whether there was a better way to set up the home, and were there any security risks in sharing sensitive financial data over the network.

To answer the first question, you can connect your desktop to a wireless network from any location in the house. There is a great device that got me through a number of on-location events in the past without running cables everywhere. Buy a USB wireless modem for about $50.

They are easy to connect to a computer and will activate your wireless networks just like a built-in wireless modem on a laptop. Installation is often as easy as plugging in the modem to the USB port (just like you would with one of those USB jump drives) and inserting the CD to install the drivers.

File sharing

Sharing the files across the network will be a bit tougher. On the computer with the files, you'll need to share the drive. Find the folder (or create a new one), right-click to expand the menu and click on "Sharing and Security." Choose to "Share this Folder" and enter a share name.

While on the screen, double check that there are read permissions for "Everyone" by clicking on the "Permissions" button.

Before leaving the host computer, find the IP address and computer name. The computer name can be found by right-clicking on "My Computer" and going to "Properties." The "Computer Name" will be on the second tab.

To find the IP address, right-click on "My Network Places" and go to "Properties." When you select the active network in the window, the lower left-hand side should pop up the details, which include the IP address. Jot down the computer name and the IP address.

Next, on the other computer, right-click on "My Network Places" and choose "Search for Computers." In the next screen you can try entering the "Computer Name." If that doesn't work, you always have the IP address.

File security

As for security, there are a few simple things that can ensure your files stay private. First, put a password on the wireless network. You can do this by consulting the manual for the router. Pick a good password, too. I encourage people to write it down and tape it to the underside of the router.

Second, rather than sharing wide open your finances folder, create a drop folder. This is a folder that is only used for temporary transfer of files. Don't keep anything in the shared folder for too long.

Reach Heather Hamilton at [email protected]

Originally published by Heather Hamilton Morris News Service.

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