How To Enable or Disable Windows File and Printer Sharing

Windows Network and Sharing Center
Windows Network and Sharing Center.

All Microsoft Windows operating systems Windows 95 and newer contain built-in support for File and Printer Sharing. This networking feature is particularly useful on home networks but can be a security concern on public networks. Follow these instructions to either enable or disable Windows file and printer sharing.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 1 minute

Here's How:

  1. Open Control Panel from the Start Menu or Windows desktop.
  1. On Windows XP or Windows 2000, open the "Network Connections" Control Panel applet. On Windows 95 | 98 | ME, open the "Network" applet.
  2. On Windows XP or Windows 2000, choose the connection on which to enable / disable sharing. View the properties for this connection by right-clicking on the icon and choosing "Properties" from the menu. If the connection is a dial-up connection, click the Networking tab to view its properties.

    On Windows 95 | 98 | ME, simply click the "File and Print Sharing" option inside the "Network" window.
  3. On Windows XP or Windows 2000, ensure the "File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Windows" checkbox is checked to enable sharing and unchecked to disable sharing for that connection. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 to check this setting for other connections.

    On Windows 95 | 98 | ME, file and printer sharing can be enabled / disabled separately. Ensure the respective checkboxes are set to enable / disable sharing as desired.
  1. Close the open properties / Network windows and Control Panel. On Windows 95 | 98 | ME, reboot the computer if prompted to do so.


  1. Consider disabling Windows File and Printer Sharing when connected to public networks for improved security.

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