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On my home network (aka Local Area Network, or LAN), I have a number of desktops and laptops that share directories such that all other machines can access them. This makes it very easy for me to access folders and files on any machine from any other machine. With this setup, I don't have to email myself files or go to extraordinary lengths to get a file from one machine to another.
When you're using the GNOME desktop (which defaults to GNOME Files as the file manager), how do you connect to those shares on your network? Although the feature is somewhat hidden (in plain sight, of course), it's actually fairly easy to do. Let me walk you through the process.
How to connect to shares on your network when using GNOME desktop
What you'll need: You'll need two things for this to work. First, you'll need a running instance of a Linux operating system that uses the GNOME desktop environment. Next, you'll need a valid share on another computer on your LAN that is configured such that you can access it with either a user or guest account.
How you do this will depend on the operating system hosting the share. If the computer hosting the share is Linux, check ZDNET's handy guide to help you get those shares up and running. The final thing you'll need is the IP address of the computer hosting the share. How you retrieve that information will depend on the host operating system.
With those things ready, let's get to the connecting.
1. Open GNOME Files
The first thing to do is open GNOME Files. Click Activities in the upper left corner and then click the file cabinet icon in the favorites bar.
2. Locate the share
Once GNOME Files is open, click Other Locations in the left navigation. In the resulting pane, you'll see all hosts that are discovered on your network. If you know the name of the computer hosting the share, double-click on it to reveal the folders shared from that machine.
3. Access the share
Click the share you want to access and, when prompted, fill out the required authentication details.
Upon successful authentication, you'll have access to all the files and subfolders contained within.
Accessing the share via IP address
If you don't see the share listed (or can't recall the name of the host computer) in the Other Locations window, you'll have to access the share by way of the IP address. To do that, you'll still need to open the Other Locations section in GNOME Files.
At the bottom of the GNOME Files window, you'll see a Connect to Server field. In that field, you'll type the address in the form smb://IP (where IP is the IP address of the computer hosting the sare). Once you've typed the address in the proper form, either click Connect or hit Enter on your keyboard to open the same authentication window you saw earlier.
And that's all there is to connecting to a shared folder on your LAN by way of the GNOME desktop environment.