Problem In File Sharing Between Windows 7 and Windows Vista / XP

by Abhishek Bhatnagar on December 13, 2009



Have you been facing issues in file sharing between Windows 7 and Windows Vista ? Or issues in file sharing between windows 7 and Windows XP ?





We have already shared a tutorial on – Problem In File Sharing Between Windows Vista And XP

In this tutorial I will focus on sharing the tips to enable File sharing between Windows 7 and Windows Vista, also for File sharing between Windows 7 and Window XP. After you follow this tutorial, you will be able to share files among Windows 7 , Windows Vista and Windows XP on same LAN or Wifi Network.


To enable File sharing between windows computers you need to take care of two key things:

1. All the Windows computers should have a unique computer name

2. All the Windows computers should have Same Workgroup ID


Computer Name and Workgroup ID Settings for Windows 7



1. Right Click on Computer icon in Windows 7 and click Properties


2. This will open System Window as seen below, on this screen you can see the Computer Name and Workgroup name as highlighted in yellow below. To change the name and workgroup ID, click the Change settings button


3. This will open the System Properties Window, on Computer Name Tab, you can see two buttons named Network ID and Change Computer Name.


4. Click on the Network ID button and this will open Network ID configuration wizard. Select the radio button which says “This computer is a part of a business network; I use it to connect to other computers at work.” Click Next 


5. On next screen you will see Domain / Workgroup options, select the option which says “My computer uses a network without a domain”  and click Next.



6. On next screen , Ensure that the Workgroup name is “WORKGROUP” Click Next


7. On next screen you will see option to Finish the Wizard.


8. Now Click on the Change button on the System Properties Window you opened in the Step 3, and ensure that there is a unique computer name used for each computer on your network. If the name is not unique, change it to some unique name and press OK.



9. You will have to restart the computer to make these changes come into effect.


Computer Name and Workgroup ID Settings for Windows 7




To change the Network ID and Computer Name for Windows Vista and Windows XP, follow this tutorial – Problem In File Sharing Between Windows Vista And Windows XP


Accessing Files On Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows XP



After you change all the Workgroup ID on all computers to “WORKGROUP” and giving a unique computer name to all computers, just restart all the computers and open the Network.


You may find the Windows Login Window for the Windows PC you are accessing, just use the login and password of the Windows PC you want to access and you will get the access as seen below:


Example : To Access Windows Vista PC from Windows 7 PC, you need to login into the file sharing using the username and password of Windows Vista PC as seen below:


This windows below shows Windows Vista Shared files/ folders and drives opened from Windows 7 PC.


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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason February 26, 2010 at 3:10 am

Thanks, this gave me some ideas but I am still having problems.
Here’s the setup:
A. I have my MainPC – named as such
B. I have my wife’s laptop known as JLaptop on our network.
C. They are both on the same workgroup. (did the steps mentioned in your blog.)
D. I am sharing a folder from MainPC that has read access for everyone and read/write access for administrators.
E. There is an account on both JLaptop and MainPC named Janelle (my wife’s name). They have different passwords. Both are in the administrators group.

The problem:
Using Jlaptop, logged in as Janelle, I find the MainPC under network. Opening the shared folder, it prompts for a login and password. We used the login Janelle with the password for her account on MainPC. Everything then opens up and we can read the files but is unable to write files to the folder over the network.

Any thoughts? I’m dumbfounded, the only thing that I can think of is that using the same user name for an account on both computers is causing problems. I’ve worked with network and file sharing for 15+ years and I can’t figure this one out.

dexter June 3, 2010 at 10:53 pm

xactly the same problems i am facing…..

Krystal June 6, 2010 at 7:55 am

Actually I stop at step 3!!! I can click on the “Network ID” button. So what should I do?

Kate July 31, 2010 at 12:59 pm

I have the same problem as Krystal, the radio button for Network ID is grayed out. Does this mean my settings are out somewhere?

Jason Suttmeier August 24, 2010 at 10:11 pm

The following step will not “STICK” in terms of this fix… please advise.

5. On next screen you will see Domain / Workgroup options, select the option which says “My computer uses a network without a domain” and click Next.

It keeps reverting to the choice above that option.

Michael September 15, 2010 at 11:10 pm

I have a desktop computer running Windows 7 and a laptop running Windows Vista. I have a wireless router that my laptop is connected through and my desktop is connected through that same router via a wired connection.

I have a specific folder within my documents that I would like to be identical on both computers. I use it for work and always want the files within this folder to be identical on the two computers. This was working before but for some reason it isn’t anymore. I’m using a program called Allway Sync to sync the files within this folder and it works great when I have access to the other computer.

The problem is that the other computer will usually show up when I am looking at the network. But when I click on it to access the files it says:

“Windows cannot access \\computername Check the spelling of the name. Otherwise, there might be a problem with your network. To try to identify and resolve network problems, click diagnose.”

I’ve tried clicking diagnose but that gets me nowhere.

Help please!

Rez November 24, 2010 at 11:03 pm

I have the exact same problem as Michael just that my laptop is Win 7 & desktop is Vista.

all my configurations were same was your blog shows BUT i just used STEP 4 & 5 from here, but still the same error message. “Windows cannot access \\computername Check the spelling of the name. Otherwise, there might be a problem with your network. To try to identify and resolve network problems, click diagnose.” and the weird fact is i am able to use my desktop pc from the laptop via remote desktop connection.

I tried:
* disabling my ZoneAlarm Firewall (although both are set to allowing connections inside home network) {windows firewall is off}

* turning off built-in router firewall

im hating it alot… please help us out :(

Brandon February 8, 2011 at 1:24 am

I’m having the same problem as Michael and I’m getting the same error. My setup is exactly the same except I’m not trying to mirror a folder, just trying to access files across the LAN. Please Help.

Greg February 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Tried to follow this tutorial but on my PC with Windows 7 the Network ID under system properties is greyed out

Ivan July 5, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Same issue… Network ID is greyed out and cannot click it? What is the deal?

Felix Lynx July 31, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Windows 7 home editions (or any home) do not support joining domains. Thus the button is grayed out.

Catherine August 22, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I had no problem sharing files between two comps running Vista but when i upgraded to Win 7, the Vista comp couldn’t see the Win 7 one …. until I rebooted the router then all worked fine. BUT every time I re-start the laptop (running Vista) although the internet is fine, I lose the network, so re-boot the laptop, get an error message on network connection (so can’t connect to the internet); re-boot router and all is fine. I’m going to have to not shut down laptop, or get Win 7 for it …

vhal September 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm

very helpfull for those self studying person tnx

David November 28, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Great tutorial, I have a laptop running 7 that exists on a work domain (it is primarily a work laptop). My personal laptop is running Vista and needless to say I would like to keep it off of the domain. Is there a possible work-around for this case? Thanks for any help you might have.

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