How to share files between Windows 7 and Windows XP

Our Helproom Editor explains how to share a new Windows 7 laptop with an existing Windows XP computer and wireless network.

Compatibility is not always what it should be when you have multiple Windows computers running operating systems of different vintage. In this case a PC Advisor reader wrote to us to ask how his existing Windows XP system would fare when paired with a new Windows 7 system. As our Helproom Editor was able to explain, the critical thing is to use the sharing method favoured by the older version of Windows. This works for all modern Windows operating systems from XP right up to Windows 8. (See also: How to create a HomeGroup network in Windows 7 and Windows 8.)

QUESTION I have a six-year-old desktop PC and a laptop, both running Windows XP, on my home wireless network. The Laptop needs replacing and I would like to purchase a new one with Windows 7 installed. Will a new Windows 7 Laptop be compatible with my existing Windows XP Desktop through the wireless network?

HELPROOM ANSWER Yes it will. XP doesn’t support some of the newer Windows 7 features, such as HomeGroups, but you’ll still be able to connect them and share all the usual things such as files and printers. Just make sure you use the old sharing method rather than a HomeGroup and everything should work as before. See also: How to share folders without homegroups in Windows 7.

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