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What is the Public Folder in Windows?

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Public Folder and Sub-folders

Question: What is the Public Folder in Windows?
Answer: The Public Folder is a Windows folder that you can use to share files with other people that either use the same computer, or connect to it over a network. The Public folder is located in the Users folder of your root directory (for example, C:\Users\Public).

Everyone with a user account and password on your computer can access the Public folder. However, you may decide whether anyone on the network can access the Public folder. (By default, network access is turned off).

Public Folder Contents

The Public Folder contains no files until someone adds those. It does have default folders, named for content type, to make it easier for organizing files:

  • Public Documents

  • Public Downloads

  • Public Music

  • Public Pictures

  • Public Videos

Network Access to the Public Folder

  • It’s on or off - Network access to this folder is either turned on (everyone can see it) or it is turned off.

  • You can restrict user action - You can set the permission level for the public folder – controls for those that have access, what they can do with files in it.

  • You can restrict user access - If you enable password-protected sharing, you can limit network access to the Public folder to only those people with a user account and password on your computer – in the case of a home network, you might leave this feature disabled.

To setup a Public Folder for your use, read "What is the Easiest Way to Share Files on a Vista Computer?"

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