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Windows Vista: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 26. Network Sharing and Collaboration

Whether you built the network yourself (Chapter 24) or work in an office where somebody has done that work for you (Chapter 25), all kinds of fun can come from having a network. You're now ready to share the following components among the various PCs on the network:

  • Printers. You don't need a printer for every PC; all of the PCs can share a much smaller number of printers. If several printers are on your network—say, a high-speed laser printer for one computer and a color printer on another—everyone on the network can use whichever printer is appropriate to a particular document. You'll find step-by-step instructions starting on Section 17.4.

  • Your Internet connection. Having a network means that all the PCs in your home or office can share a single connection (Chapter 24).

  • Files, folders, and disks. No matter what PC you're using on the network, you can open the files and folders on any other networked PC, as long as the other PCs' owners have made these files available for public inspection. That's where file sharing comes in, and that's what this chapter is all about. (File sharing also lets you access your files and folders on the road, using a laptop. See Chapter 27 for more information on this road-warrior trick.)

    The uses for file sharing are almost endless. At its simplest, you can use file sharing to finish writing a letter in the bedroom that you started downstairs at the kitchen table—without having to carry a flash drive around. ...

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