Windows 10 tip: Use Nearby Sharing to transfer files, photos, and more

The built-in Windows 10 Share pane includes a new option, beginning with the April 2018 Update. Select a file or photo, click Share, and send it directly to a nearby Windows 10 PC.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

When you use the Share option with a file or photo, PCs that are available for sharing appear in the center of the Share pane.

Click to enlarge

Unless you've dug deeply into the Windows 10 April 2018 Update, you've probably missed one of its most useful new features.

You could call Nearby Sharing a Windows 10 take on Apple's AirDrop. Windows 10 version 1803 adds a new target to the Share pane, allowing you to share files, photos, web links and more to a computer that's available via Bluetooth or a Wi-Fi network. Both computers must support Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE).

To set up Nearby Sharing, go to Settings > System > Shared Experiences and slide the Nearby Sharing switch to the On position. Then choose whether you want to be able to share and receive content from any nearby device or only from devices where you're signed in to the same account.

By default, shared files are saved in your user profile, in the Downloads folder. You can change that location from the Shared Experiences Settings page.

If you use the Edge web browser, you can share a link to any web page. Maybe someday Chrome and Firefox will incorporate the Windows 10 Sharing APIs so they can do the same.

You can also share a photo by opening it in the Windows 10 Photos app and then clicking Share.

But the most common scenario of all is to move files between two Windows 10 PCs (version 1803 or later) using nothing more than File Explorer.

Open a File Explorer window, select the file (or files) you want to transfer, right-click, and then click Share. That opens the Share panel (shown above), where the center pane includes an icon for any nearby PC that's available for sharing.

Click that icon, and then wait for the recipient to approve the transfer. In both cases, you'll see a notification in the lower right corner of the display. (If you don't see the invitation to receive a file, click the Notifications button and look for that invitation in the Notifications pane.)

If you don't recognize a file transfer request, you can decline (and then revisit the settings for this feature to limit sharing).


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