One of the ways that you can better protect shared files on your PC running Windows Vista is to enable password protected sharing. When this security feature is enabled, only those users who have a user account and password on your computer can access your shared folders and files, including the Public folder. When this option is disabled, and Public folder sharing is enabled, all users on your network have access to your Public folder.

By default, password protected sharing is disabled password protected sharing in Windows Vista is disabled. To enable it:

  1. Open the Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Under the Sharing and Discovery section, click the down arrow beside Password protected sharing.
  3. Click the option labeled Turn on password protected sharing.
  4. Click Apply.

Now when a user attempts to access a shared object on your computer, they will be prompted to enter a user name and password (assuming that the user name they are logged on with does not match their user account name on your computer).

You can probably see how this can be difficult to administer. For example, if a user is logged into how own computer as “Bob” but has a user account on your computer named “BSmith”, he will have to remember a different user name and password to access shared objects on your computer. If you are using password protected sharing, it is recommended that add all user accounts to all computers with shared folders and files on your network. This way each user only has to remember one user name and password.