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How to access other computers on the network on Windows 10

Computers, regardless if they’re Macs or PCs, can all connect to the same network. Once two systems are on the same network, they can easily communicate with each other i.e., they can send and receive files from each other, and a user on one computer can access the files on the other computer over the network.

There are some conditions that apply; for one, the computer must allow files to be shared and for it to be accessible over a network. Second, the computer that is trying to access the other one must have the required credentials i.e., password, to access it.

Access other computers on the network

In order to access other computers on the network, you need to make sure;

  • The other computer has allowed/enabled network sharing.
  • You have a valid username and password that you can enter in order to authenticate access.
  • The computer, and your Windows 10 system are connected to the same network.

Enable network discovery

In order to access other computers on a network, your own Windows 10 system must also be visible on the network.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Paste the following in the location bar, and tap Enter.
Control Panel\Network and Internet\Network and Sharing Center
  1. Click Change advanced sharing settings in the column on the left.
  2. Under ‘Network discovery’, enable ‘Turn on Network discovery’.
  3. Click Save Changes at the bottom.

Access other computers

Now that your own system is visible on the network, you can access other computers that are on it.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. In the Navigation pane on the left, click ‘Network’.
  3. You will see all devices that are connected to the network. Double-click the computer you want to connect to.
  4. If prompted, enter the username and password that will grant you access to the system.
  5. You will see the Users folder and have access to select files. If the system that you’re accessing is also a Windows 10 system, you will be able to access public files and files inside the user’s folder. You will not be able to access anything that is on other, non-Windows drives.


Generally speaking, this is safe as long as you know which computers are on the network and who is using it. You should never enable network discovery if you frequently connect to a public network or an unprotected one. Your system’s own password will still keep intruders out but a persistent and skilled hacker could still get in. Use this feature over small, private networks where you trust all the other devices/systems on it.


  1. I have four Windows 10 computers. One is used as a file server. I can access folders and files on the server from one of the peripheral computers, but not from the other two. This seems to happen randomly as I sometimes may connect from the other two.
    I cannot find a solution to the problem

  2. When I get to step 4, I get a “network error”.
    “Windows cannot access \\{computer name}. Contact your network administrator to request access.

    How do I grant access?

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