Share, stream videos and music from Windows PC

There are different ways you can share movies and music on your Windows computer with other computers or mobile phones like iPhone and Android devices. You may send or share them from PC to other device using Bluetooth, email, FTP or other file transfer solutions. This however doesn’t work for those HD movies as they consume too much space. Alternatively you can choose to share the videos and music on your Windows computer, then access them from other computers or mobile phones. Windows has the built-in share feature and it is not difficult to share files and folders with other devices in the same local network. Lets see how to share movies and songs on a Windows PC and access those media files from a mobile device directly below.

Method 1. Use Public folder to share media files on Windows

You can put any media files, movies, videos, music, audio tracks, into the Public folders so other users sharing the same computer or other devices on the network can access files stored in them. These public folders are especially useful if you have non-Windows computers, like Mac, Android, iOS devices, on your network.

Windows comes with the following set of public folders:

  • C:\Users\Public\Documents
  • C:\Users\Public\Downloads
  • C:\Users\Public\Music
  • C:\Users\Public\Pictures
  • C:\Users\Public\Videos

If the public folders are disabled on your Windows computer, you can enable them from the classic Control Panel. To access the Control Panel in Windows 11 and Windows 10, you can simply click on the magnifying glass or search icon in the taskbar. Type “Control Panel” in the search bar. Click on the “Control Panel” app in the search results.

In Windows Control Panel, navigate to Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change advanced sharing settings > Public folder sharing > Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can read and write files in the Public folders.

Windows Network and Sharing Center - public folder sharing and password protection

Alternatively, click on the Start button (Windows icon), select Settings. Go to Network & Internet > Advanced Network Settings > Advanced Sharing Settings > All Networks > Public Folder Sharing. Click on the On/Off toggle to turn it on.

Method 2. Enable file sharing in Windows

You can also disable the public folders and select and share any specific folders in Windows 10 or Windows 11. To share any files and folders in Windows over the network, you have to turn on network discovery and file sharing first.

If you are using Windows 11, open File Explorer on your computer, then click on Network from the left pane. If network discovery is currently disabled, you will get the error message saying network discovery is turned off, network computers and devices are not visible, you can turn it on from network and sharing center.

network discovery is turned off error message windows 11 file explorer

Click the OK button. You will then see the banner that notifies you that network discovery and file sharing are turned Off and you can click on the banner to change the settings. Just click the banner and then select Turn on network discovery and file sharing.

turn on network discovery and file sharing from file explorer in windows 11

By default, Windows will turn on discoverability only for networks that are marked ‘private’. But if you’re connected to a network that is set as ‘public’, then you will get an additional prompt.

turn on network discovery and file sharing for public or private networks from file explorer in windows 11

You can either make the network a private network and keep the default settings unchanged. Or let it remain a public network and turn on network discovery for all public networks. It’s better to choose the former due to security reasons and make the network private rather than turn on discoverability for all public networks.

Now go to copy the movies, videos, music songs you like to share or stream to a folder on your PC hard drive. Right click on it, choose Properties from the drop-down menu. On the Properties window, switch to the Sharing tab. Click the Share button, then select the user or group to share the folder with. For the purpose of media files sharing at home, select the Everyone group.

In Windows, any file you share is by default secured with your PC username and password. You can disable the password protection to share files without a password. Also go to the Control Panel > Network and Internet >Network and Sharing Center > Advanced sharing settings > Under Password protected sharing, select the Turn off password protected sharing. However we suggest you protecting the file sharing with password for higher security.

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