You may notice on some online file sharing sites there’s a “My Drive” and “Shared Drive” options. Just like the names state, “My Drive” is your drive. No one has access to it but you. “Shared Drive” contains files that you can share with others and collaborate.
The name shared drive can also apply to an external or local drive. An external drive refers to one that’s not connected to the computer. Rather, it’s a stand-alone drive that’s on the same local network as a computer. You can see the external drive in File Manager as a separate drive.
You may have a drive on your computer that you want to share with other computers and devices on the local network. You can turn that into a shared drive.
Shared Drives on Google Drive
A cloud storage service like Google Drive or Dropbox has a separate option for shared drives. Here’s how Google describes the shared drive on Google Drive: “A shared drive is an organizational structure within Google Drive that lives parallel to My Drive.”
A shared drive contains files that belong to an organization or team. Users can add a file to a shared drive or My Drive, but not both. If a team member leaves the company, the files on the shared drive remain intact. Files on the user’s My Drive will not be accessible.
Other cloud storage services like Dropbox have a similar process. They generally come with individual and shared folders.
How to Create Shared Drives in Microsoft Windows
If you’re on a home or small business network, you can turn a folder into a shared drive on Windows. To do this, you’ll want to map a network drive. This lets other users access the files you want to share. They won’t be able to access any other computer data. If you’re temporarily sharing a folder on your computer, remember to disconnect the network drive when you want to stop sharing the folder.
How to Set Up File Sharing on a Mac
Just like with Windows, you can share files and folders on your Mac with others on your network. It’s possible to provide access to certain files and folders to specific users.
Mac users can also set up Bluetooth on a Mac for sharing. The caveat is that the other device needs to have Bluetooth. Not all laptops come with Bluetooth capabilities. Still, you can use this method to share files with iOS or Android devices. Disconnect the network drive when you’re done with it.
Other Shared Drive Options
If you don’t want to share folders on your computer, cloud storage may be your best option. Many online cloud storage services offer free storage. Verify the amount of storage they offer as well as any file size limitations.