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I have 3 computers on a home network; one has Windows 7 the other two have Windows XP. Can a public folder be accessed by all 3 computers even though they have different OSes?

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Yes, as long as they are all in the same workgroup

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And even that is not necessary for accessing the files (if you type \\hostname). Workgroup names are only for network browsing. – grawity Feb 5 '11 at 19:10

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