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Cannot See Shared Folders in Windows 10 PC – How To Fix

Posted by Jamie on August 14, 2018

Want to share your movies or music across a network? Trying to set up a share in a media server? Getting a PC to see shared folders in Windows can be hard work, something I have had to contend with in my many years as PC Tech. If you’re facing the same issue, here’s what to do if your PC cannot see shared folders in Windows 10.

Networking in Windows used to be a nightmare. All the way up until Windows 8.1,  configuring shared folders, networking computers and file and printer sharing would present problem after problem even when using Microsoft-published techniques for setting up Homegroups.

Fortunately, Windows 10 has improved that process. It still presents issues but networking and sharing resources within a network isn’t quite the painful experience it once was. Windows 10 removed the Homegroup which is great news. It was always more trouble than it was worth. Now all you have to do is set up a network share and it works like a charm.

Setting up a network in Windows 10

One of the main issues with troubleshooting networks in Windows 10 is incorrect setup. Despite being the simplest network possible, it is still very easy to get it wrong. Here is how a Windows network should be set up.

  1. Type ‘control’ into the Windows Search bar and select Control Panel.
  2. Select Network and Internet, Network and Sharing Center and Change adapter settings.
  3. Right click your network adapter and select Properties.
  4. Ensure IPv6 is enabled.
  5. Navigate to Network and Sharing Center and select Advanced sharing settings.
  6. Ensure Network discovery and File and printer sharing are enabled for Private, Guest or Public and All Networks.
  7. Check the box next to Turn on automatic setup of network connected devices where applicable.
  8. Toggle Turn on password protected sharing to on.

Keep that window open for now as we may need it again.

Now the underlying network has been configured, we set up the folder shares.

  1. Open Windows Explorer and right click a folder you want to share.
  2. Select Share with and select Specific People.
  3. Enter the people you want to allow access to your files in the popup box that appears. This would be the people who usually log into other computers using a Microsoft account.
  4. Modify the permissions level within the window if you need to.
  5. Select Share when done.

Once the share has been set up you should be able to access it from another computer. Open Windows Explorer, select Network from the left pane, select the file and log in using your credentials. That’s it!

PC cannot see shared folders in Windows 10

If you set up sharing correctly, your PC should see shared folders in Windows 10. If you cannot see them, perform these checks.

  1. Make sure your computers are using the same network.
  2. Make sure IPv6 is enabled on all computers.
  3. Make sure Network discovery is enabled on all computers.
  4. Make sure File and printer sharing is enabled on all computers.
  5. Toggle Turn on password protected sharing to off and retest.
  6. Make sure you are logging in using the same account you entered when you added users to Share with.
  7. If you use Windows Defender Firewall, open the Firewall app, select Allowed apps and ensure File and Printer Sharing is allowed to pass.

If none of those work, make sure all networking services are running. The following services should all be set to Automatic and be currently running:

  • DNS Client
  • Function Discovery Provider Host
  • Function Discovery Resource Publication
  • HomeGroup Provider
  • HomeGroup Listener
  • Peer Networking Grouping
  • SSDP Discovery
  • UPnP Device Host

Even though Homegroup has now been removed from Windows 10, it is still mentioned throughout the operating system.

If your PC still cannot see shared folders in Windows 10, check the credentials in the computer you are trying to access files from.

  1. Open Control Panel, User Accounts and Credential Manager.
  2. Select Windows Credentials and Add a Windows credential.
  3. Add the IP address of the PC hosting the file and the admin username and password of that PC.
  4. Select OK to save.

Make sure you add the IP address and admin username and password of the computer hosting the files. You can then theoretically access the share by typing the network address in Explorer on other computers, e.g. \\192.168.0.52\Admin\Adminpassword.

Failing all of that, there is always the Shared Folders troubleshooter. Select Settings, Update & Security, Troubleshoot and select Shared Folders. Run the troubleshooter from there.

Networking in Windows 10 has always been harder than it should be. If your PC cannot see shared folders in Windows 10, one of these fixes should have you up and running. They have all worked for me.

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