You have to put the computers in the same workgroup then choose the folders on each machine that are to be shared. Repeat this on all PCs, use the same workgroup name but, of course, a different computer name for each of the computers. This procedure will make the computer a little less secure but it works because no passwords are used and everyone is allowed access.
1. Add a Vista computer to a workgroup by right-clicking Computer > Properties > Change Settings then change Computer Name and Workgroup Name. Make the computer name meaningful to aid recognition. The computer should restart.
2. To share folders, first of all, go to Control Panel > Classic View > Network and Sharing Center and make sure you have Network Discovery, File Sharing and Public Folder Sharing all set to ‘On’ and Password Protected Sharing to ‘Off’. If you want to use passwords, you have to set up identical usernames and passwords on all computers in your network.
To share a Vista folder, click it > Share on the Toolbar > Advanced Sharing, click ‘Share this folder’ > Apply > OK, etc. You only need to share the highest level folder, e.g. not every sub-folder. Two little people should appear on the icons of the folders that are shared. An alternative way of sharing is to drag the folders you want to share to the Public folder.
As you don’t have Password Protected Sharing turned on, you have to change the security permissions on your folder(s) to allow Everyone access. Right-click the shared folder > Properties > Security Tab > Edit > Add and type ‘Everyone’ (not the quotes) into the box and OK. Tick the boxes next to the permissions you want to allow (e.g. Read or Write, etc.) then Apply > OK, etc. You may see some screens coming up with message 'Error Applying ……..'. This is not unusual and can be ignored by clicking Continue.
3. Windows firewall is normally set to allow file and printer sharing but if you have a third-party firewall make sure file and printer sharing is enabled so that each machine can talk to the other(s). Don’t disable the Windows firewall if it’s the only one you’re running.
4. To see or copy files, click the Windows Orb (Start) > Network (My Network Places in XP) and the computers/folders/files should appear. Using two Windows Explorer windows, drag them from one PC to the other.