How to Share Files Between User Accounts on Windows, Linux, or OS X

Whether it is Windows, Linux, or OS X, each operating system (OS) has its own set of tools and features that allow it to work efficiently and trouble-free on your devices. Developed with an aim to simplify the mainstream computing experience, these operating software hold a balanced segment of sections, apps, programs, and software that helps you cater work, entertainment, gaming, browsing and other requirements. Creating a folder, encrypting it, and adding an additional layer of security to it is essential to safeguard your personal data from prying eyes of the malware authors. But sometimes, you need to share some of the files and data with other users, having account on the same system.

Each OS lets you create your own folders when you set up several user accounts on the same computer, hence, you can easily have more than two user accounts. The items that have been added to the ‘Shared’ folders will allow you to share files across all the user accounts maintained on that particular system. The process works similarly on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X as all of them follow a multi-user approach with similar folder and file permission systems.

In this article, you will read about how to share files between user accounts on Windows, Linux, and OS X.

How to share files between user different user accounts on Windows?

Windows, a Microsoft product, is a graphical user interface (GUIs) operating system which presently holds more than 90% (source Net Applications, March 2014) of the total market share of the world’s personal computer market. On Windows OS, the ‘Public’ user’ folders are accessible to all the user accounts that have been created on the device. The ‘Public’ folder is located under C:UsersPublic, by default and it is one of the most prominent ways to share music, videos, and other types of files between users on the same computer.

Apart from this, Windows also adds these folders to each user’s Libraries, by default, which can be easily accessed by navigating to C:UsersNAME. To make a particular file public, you can easily drag and drop a file from the user-specific folder to the public folder. Always remember that ‘Libraries’ exist in a hidden form by default on Windows 8.1, hence, you’ll have to unhide them before attempting to make your files public.

Additionally, you can also share Public folders across the local network by clicking Control Panel > Network and Sharing > Advanced sharing settings > and finally clicking the Public folder sharing option. You can also choose to make any folder shared between users, but you need to have administrator access to do this.

To seek folder permissions in Windows, right-click anywhere on the desired folder located in the file system, and then select the ‘Properties’ option. Navigate to the ‘Security’ tab and change the ‘Folder’s permissions’ to make it accessible to different user accounts.

How to share files among different user accounts on Linux?

Linux is popularly known as the Unix-like and mostly POSIX-compliant computer operating system, but that’s a bit more complicated than Windows. Acquiring around 1.49% (Ubuntu, etc.) of the total market share of the world’s personal computer market, Linux is acclaimed for its highly advanced security features (source: Net Applications, March 2014).
The OS doesn’t come with a special user folder that all user accounts read and write to access, however, users can easily access the ‘Public’ folder on Ubuntu for sharing files between computers on a network.

As it doesn’t come with specific folders that have public access, you can use Linux’s permissions system to allow user accounts read or read-write access to specific folders. The steps enlisted in this article are for Ubuntu 14.04, but can be used on any other Linux distribution with the Nautilus file manager.

Locate the folder that you wish to share with other users, then right-click on it, and select ‘Properties’ option from the dropdown menu. Now, navigate to the ‘Permissions’ tab, give ‘Others’ the ‘Create and delete files’ permission. Click on the ‘Change Permissions for Enclosed Files’ button and give ‘Others’ the ‘Read and write’ and ‘Create and Delete Files’ permissions to make this folder available for other user’s access.

Various user accounts maintained on the same computer will now have read and write access to that particular folder and you can easily find such folder under /home/YOURNAME/folder in ‘Computer’ section. Users can also create a link or bookmark the particular folder to have easy access to it and speed things up.

How to share files between different user accounts on Mac OS X?

Having around 7.57% of the total market share of the world’s personal computer market, OS X is the operating system offered by Apple Inc. This Unix-based graphical interface operating system is exclusively developed for Mac PCs and comes pre-installed on all Macs since 2002.

Mac OS X lets you create a special ‘Shared’ folder to which all user accounts have access to. The folder will be solely intended to share files between different user accounts maintained on the same device. It will be located at /Users/Shared and you will need to open the Finder and click Go > Computer to access the same. On reaching the Computer Window, navigate to Macintosh HD > Users > Shared to view the files enlisted under this folder.

All these tricks are useful while sharing some files on your PC with various accounts that have been created on it. Always remember that the files, images, pictures, videos, documents, and other stuff that you’ve added to the Shared folder will be available for all the users enlisted on that particular computer. Adding family trip videos, pictures, list important dates and occasions, downloaded books, and general steps to troubleshoot PC problems are some of the common things that you can share across different user accounts.

Restrict yourself from sharing ATM PIN details, Bank account info, Social Security Number (SSN), and other important details in that folder, as they are not supported by limited access. Share more, explore more, but never add a data that might invite uncertain losses.

About the Author: Polly M Quinton is an ardent technician associated with Qresolve online pc support with wide experience of fixing issues with PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphone. With a strong track record of devising effective ways of online tech support and system security, she has so far helped thousands of users across the globe.