How to Access Files on the Host Computer Through VPN

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A VPN, or virtual private network, allows you to remotely network computers and share files between the systems using the Internet. A VPN consists of a host computer -- the computer that has the files and folders saved locally, and a client computer -- a computer that remotely accesses the files on the host computer. In order to access files on the host computer through a VPN you must first enable file sharing on the folder or folders you want to share on the host computer, then configure the shared folders to allow access from specified users on the VPN.

Enable File Sharing

  • Turn on the host computer and log into Windows using an administrator account. You can not enable file sharing without access to an administrator account.

  • Click "Start," then select "Control Panel." Select "Network and Internet," then click "Network and Sharing Center."

  • Locate "File Sharing" in the "Sharing and Discovery" section. Click the down arrow to the right to expand the selection.

  • Choose the radio button that says "Turn on file sharing." Click "Apply" to save your settings. Exit the "Network and Sharing Center" window.

Configure Shared Folders

  • Right click an empty spot on on the host computer's desktop, hover on "New" and select "Folder." You will configure this folder as a shared folder. Name the folder so that you can easily recognize it on the network, such as "Shared VPN."

  • Right click the "Shared VPN" folder and click "Properties." Click the "Sharing" tab and then click the "Share" button. Click the "Advanced Sharing" button.

  • Place a check mark next to "Share this folder." Change the number of users who can simultaneously access the folder, if you wish to do so.

  • Click the "Permissions" button. The "Advanced Sharing" window will appear.

  • Click "Add" and enter the user name of the network account that you want to grant host computer file access to. Click "OK."

  • Highlight the network account that you just added and place a check mark next to "Read" in the "Allow" column. Optionally, you can give the user the ability to change the contents of the folder by placing a check mark next to "Change" in the "Allow" column as well.

  • Click "OK" to save your settings and exit the window.

  • Copy files to the "Shared VPN" folder. These files are available as shared files on the host computer and you can access them with any client computer set up on the VPN network.

Access Shared Folders

  • Click "Start" on the remote computer that you wish to access files with. Click "Network." The "Network" window will appear.

  • Double click the host computer that contains the files you wish to access.

  • Browse through the contents of the shared folders. Note that you only have access to host computer folders that you enabled file sharing for.

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