You might think that something as simple as transferring files between computers on your home network would be easy. Unfortunately, this is not so.
On corporate networks, a company’s IT department often creates a shared network drive where anyone with a computer connected to the network can place and share files over the network. On your home network, you don’t have an IT department to do this for you.
You have nothing to worry about because there are many easy ways to achieve this.
1. Nearby Sharing: File sharing in Windows 10
Before April 2018, sharing files over a home network required you to try to create a so-called “home group”. Basically, it was a group of your computers on your home network, joined to a common network group. This allowed file sharing, but was extremely difficult to set up and did not always work correctly due to security software or network firewalls.
Fortunately, Microsoft has introduced other, much easier ways to share files over the network (and over the Internet).
LAN Sharing includes a feature called Nearby Sharing.
You will need to enable the Neighbor Sharing feature on all computers from which you want to share files. To do this:
- Open “Settings” and click “System”.
- Select “General Features”.
- Scroll down and find Nearby Sharing. Set the switch to the “On” position.
- From the drop-down menu below it, select Nearby.
Once you’ve turned on Neighbor Sharing on all Windows 10 computers on your network, you can start sharing files with them.
To do this, open File Explorer, right-click on the file you want to share, and select Share.
You will now see all computers with network sharing enabled under Find Others.
When you select this remote computer system on another computer, an incoming file notification will appear.
Select “Save and Open” or “Save” to start the file transfer.
The process is much easier than Homeshare has ever been.
2. Transfer files by email
Another way to transfer files between computers, not only over a local network, but also over the Internet, is to exchange files by email.
The process is similar to network sharing. Just right-click on the file you want to transfer and choose Share.
At the top of the Share window, you’ll see a list of contacts you can choose from.
Click Find More People to open your email contacts and select them from the list.
A page with composing an email will open. You can edit the email or just click “Send” to send the file.
If you haven’t used the email service of your choice, you may need to give Windows permission to send email on your behalf.
Once you receive a file by email, you can receive it on any device — another computer or mobile device.
3. Transfer files via the cloud
Another approach you can take to transfer files from your Windows 10 PC to other devices is the cloud. You can do this by uploading the file to any Windows app that supports services such as OneDrive or Google Drive.
Just right-click on the file you want to transfer and select Share.
At the bottom of the Share window, you’ll see a list of Windows apps to choose from. At least one of them must be OneDrive.
When the app opens, simply click the Add (checkmark) button to add the file to your cloud OneDrive account.
The file will be uploaded to your OneDrive account. When it’s ready, you can open the OneDrive app on another computer (or mobile device with the OneDrive app) and upload it there.
On another computer, open the OneDrive app, right-click the file, and select Download.
This completes the file transfer to another computer on your network (or over the Internet).
4. Use a LAN file sharing program
If you want to go beyond just transferring files and instead actually view folders and files on another computer, there are many local network file sharing apps for Windows 10 that can help.
One of them is D-LAN. D-LAN is a free application that is easy to set up and use. It’s so easy that all you have to do is install the app on all the computers you want to share files from and you’re done.
Right click in the right pane to add a new folder on this computer. When viewing the D-LAN application on another computer, you will see that the new folder is displayed on the pane of the computer from which you are sending the upload.
When you see all the folders, you can open them and add or remove files just like in Explorer.
5. Using FTP server / client software
Another great solution is to use FTP for fast file transfers over your local network. Running an FTP server on one computer allows you to connect to it on port 21 using FTP client software on another computer.
The problem with many FTP server applications is that they are difficult to install and configure. Fortunately, there are some quick and easy FTP server applications. BabyFTP is one of them.
With BabyFTP, you just install the application and it starts a simple anonymous FTP server on the source computer. In the settings, you can configure the folder for transferring files from and to, and what actions you want to allow, such as adding or removing directories and files, and whether they can be changed by the remote client.
After starting the BabyFTP server, you should see “FTP server started on port 21” if everything is working correctly.
Now on another computer, you can use any FTP client like FileZilla to open a connection to that remote computer using its IP address and port 21.
This app does not require an ID or password as it only uses anonymous connections (which is normal inside your secure home network).
Once connected, you will see the remote directory that you created in the remote site location. You can right-click the files there to download them to the local computer, or right-click the files on the local computer to transfer them to the remote one.
Transfer files between Windows 10 computers
It’s amazing that a task as simple as transferring files between computers can be so difficult without third-party software and other solutions. Fortunately, there are many options to make this process as simple and easy as possible.