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[Noob Guide]Access Windows PC files directly from Android through Wi-Fi [UDATED:22/9]

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Harsha Raj
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Default [Noob Guide]Access Windows PC files directly from Android through Wi-Fi [UDATED:22/9]

I had written a guide originally here. Hoped to make one here too for my fellow S2 members.

Please read the whole guide once before trying. This will help in making the process easy as most of the parts are covered in detail.

1. Introduction:
 
You got a file in Windows PC and you intend to transfer it to your Android device. The most common way is that we connect the device to system via USB cable. However there are alternatives such as the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Bluetooth is a very slow method when compared to USB and Wi-Fi. So let us take Wi-Fi as the medium. Now let me first tell you various advantages and disadvantages regarding USB when compared with WI-Fi:

Disadvantages of USB v/s Wi-Fi
1. The phone should be near to the system = you being near the system too ---- This is avoided. All you need that the PC and device to be connected to the Wi-FI network
2. Cluttering of wires ---- Avoided
3. Drivers may have to be installed ---- No drivers needs to be installed
4. In a whole way, its not very productive ---- Oh very productive

Advantages - the only one is that files transfer speed is high ---- Yes. USB has a upper hand here. Wi-Fi transfer speed is low when compared. But the difference is just a few minutes. We can live with that

So excited to start using the Wi-Fi method? Then make sure you meet the requirements.

2. Requirements:
1. Wi-Fi router - PC should be connected to this either through LAN/ Wi-Fi

2. Install ES File Explorer in your Android device (you can try other file explorers like FX File Explorer, Solid Explorer, Astro File manager). The methodology for other apps are quite similar. I will take ES File Explorer as example as I have found it to be simple and fast.

3. Windows PC with 2000/XP/Vista/7/8 (I have not tested in Windows 8 personally)

4. Administrative access for Windows PC

3. Steps:
Step 1. Install ES File Explorer

Step 2. Find IP Address, make static IP and find system name [optional]
 
i. Find your IP address - to do this follow the steps as below:

a. Start -> Run (or press Windows key + R)
b. Type "ncpa.cpl" (without quotes) and press enter
c. You will see the Network Connections now
d. Identify the one which is connected to the Wi-Fi router. It will be either the LAN adapter or Wireless adapter. In my case it is the Wireless adapter.
e. Double click on the connection
f. Click on details and here note down the IPv4 Address. Also make not of IPv4 Subnet Mask, Default Gateway and DNS Server.

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ii. If you are going by IP address method then it is better yet to make the IP address as static [thank you kjplasma for the tip].
An static IP address means that your system will be having the same IP address all the time and will not be changed anytime later by the router. To set static IP address:

a. Go to Network Connections
b. Double click on the connection
c. Click on properties
d. Double click on - Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and fill up the IP address as you have noted them down above.
e. Click on OK for all dialogue boxes.

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iii. You can even make note of the system name by checking the properties of “My Computer”. To do this:

a. Go to Start - Right click on My Computer [Shortcut -> Windows + Pause/Break]
b. You can find the computer name under "Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings"

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If your going by this method then it is not necessary to note down or change the IP address. However I feel that tracking your system through IP address in ES File Explorer is much more efficient and fool proof. Either the system name or IP address its okay.

Step 3.a. Windows 2000 PC
 
i. Open ES File Explorer in your device

ii. On top right corner tap on "Local" - select LAN

iii. Tap on "New"

iv. Here you can either scan for your system or Click on Server

v. Here in server field type the IP address (that is IPv4 Address) or the system name

vi. Type in the Username and Password which you use to access your Windows PC

vii. Give a name under "Display as" for easy identification

viii. Tap on OK.

ix. Now you will see an laptop with globe icon. Tap on it and you will see all your files/folder of the system there.

Step 3.b. Windows XP PC:
 
i. Firstly you will need to enable Guest account by going to Control Panel – User Accounts – Guest Account – Click on "Turn on Guest account". This is because there is no other way I found to access the files in Windows XP in Android device with actual user name and password.

ii. Share the drives or folder you want to access [Refer the Reference Note 1 below to know how to share a folder]

iii. Open ES File Explorer in your device

iv. On top right corner tap on "Local" - select LAN

v. Tap on "New"

vi. Here you can either scan for your system or Click on Server

vii. Here in server field type the IP address (that is IPv4 Address) or the system name

viii. Type in the Username and Password which you use to access your Windows PC

ix. Give a name under "Display as" for easy identification

x. Tap on OK.

xi. Now you will see an laptop with globe icon. Tap on it and you will see all your shared files/folder of the system there.

Step 3.c. Windows Vista/7/8 PC:
 
i. Share the drives or folder you want to access [Refer the Reference Note 1 below to know how to share a folder]

ii. Open ES File Explorer in your device

iii. On top right corner tap on "Local" - select LAN

iv. Tap on "New"

v. Here you can either scan for your system or Click on Server

vi. Here in server field type the IP address (that is IPv4 Address) or the system name

vii. Type in the Username and Password which you use to access your Windows PC

viii. Give a name under "Display as" for easy identification

ix. Tap on OK.

x. Now you will see an laptop with globe icon. Tap on it and you will see all your shared files/folder of the system there.

Note: If you are using blank password for logging into windows then follow the steps below:
a. Run - gpedit.msc to access Group Policies
b. Navigate to Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Security Settings -> Local Policies -> Security Options
c. Find -> Account: Limit local account use of blank passwords to console logon only
d. Double click on it and select "disable"

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4. Reference Note 1 - How to share folders:

On Windows XP:
a. Right click on the folder you want to share
b. Go to the sharing tab
c. Click the "If you understand the risk but still want to share the folder, click here"
d. Under "Network Sharing and Security" tick on "Share this folder on the network" and also on "Allow network users to change my files"
e. Click OK

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On Windows Vista/7/8:
a. Right click on the folder you want to share
b. Go to the sharing tab
c. Click on "Advanced Sharing"
d. In the next dialog box tick on "Share the folder"
e. Click on "Permissions" and tick on all the checkboxes under allow.
f. Click OK to all the dialog boxes

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5. Troubleshooting:

1 - The "Login Error"

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You might get a login error at times. It happens highly when you use the computer name instead of the IP address and sometimes the error pops up even when using the IP address. You can try the below troubleshooting steps:

a. Delete the connection entry
b. Make a new entry and use the IP address this time
c. If the problem still persists, then try opening it 5-6 times repeatedly by ignoring the error.
d. If the problem still persist, then delete the connection, exit ES File Explorer completely and create a new connection again by using the IP address. This time it should work.

I feel this is a bug in the app. Hope it will be fixed in future.

Note - I was using ES File Explorer before FX File Explorer came to play store. Later after trying FX File Explorer, it had not given any error at all and hence its much more reliable. But for that you will have to pay as the app is out of beta.

2 - Wrong Username/Password even when entering the correct one
This usually happens if you put the system name instead of the IP address in the app. What you can do delete the entry and then close the app and reopen it and try a new connection with the IP address itself as this will solve the issue.

6. Useful tips:
1: You can increase the transfer speed by moving near to the router. The closer you are to the router the higher speed you gain.
2: You can even make shortcut of the folder in the network and place them on the home screen of the app. Do to that on ES File Explorer simply long press on the folder and choose "Add to server list".

7. Other Notes:
1: Please note that no internet connection is required to make this possible. Everything is done through the local network. Take out the idea from your mind that Wi-Fi is only for internet.
2: There are various other apps like KiesAir, AirDroid. But that will require you to be near the PC and access the files through a WebUI. But the guide which I have laid out here works from PC to device directly. You can sit at your living room, kitchen or bedroom or where you like within the Wi-Fi network and you are good to go.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hope you find this guide useful. Please leave feedback and do post here for queries. Thanks!

Thank you Sun90, Bala_Gamer for heads up and others who responded for making this guide even better.

PS. Too bad that FX File Explorer network module is being made as a paid add-on. This was expected as the app is not of beta. Still it an awesome file explorer. Worth buying those add-ons.

Change log:
v0.1 [21-Sep-12]
-Initial guide

v0.2 [22-Sep-12]
-Changed app from FX File Explorer to ES File Explorer
-Made the guide even more detailed
-Added more screen shots
-Added troubleshooting
-A step closer to Noob-Proof guide
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martintspedersen
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sorry but this guide need some more details... were is the internet and network? and do i have to access guest acount after it s enabled?
and how to share your drive you want to share and where?
make it a little more noob proof

EDIT its looks like you have to PAY to get network access... we dont share payed apps on xda..

The main module of FX File Explorer (this product) is free and includes all file management features for working with files on your phone/tablet. The "FX Plus" add-on adds media management, NETWORK (FTP, SFTP, SMB) and cloud capabilities (Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Box, amd SugarSync). The "FX Root" add-on is for developers and knowledgeable enthusiasts who need to make changes as the root user. You can purchase none of the add-ons, one, or both. The paid add-ons are backed by a 24-hour refund policy.
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I use ES File Explorer ..its free and easy too.......

TIP: set a static IP address to your PC and laptops ... else the device may not be found if the router has issued a new ip address ...
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Harsha Raj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martintspedersen View Post
sorry but this guide need some more details... were is the internet and network? and do i have to access guest acount after it s enabled?
and how to share your drive you want to share and where?
make it a little more noob proof

EDIT its looks like you have to PAY to get network access... we dont share payed apps on xda..

The main module of FX File Explorer (this product) is free and includes all file management features for working with files on your phone/tablet. The "FX Plus" add-on adds media management, NETWORK (FTP, SFTP, SMB) and cloud capabilities (Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Box, amd SugarSync). The "FX Root" add-on is for developers and knowledgeable enthusiasts who need to make changes as the root user. You can purchase none of the add-ons, one, or both. The paid add-ons are backed by a 24-hour refund policy.
If you want them to be that detailed then I can make it. Will update it as noob proof by today.

Also that add on with paid module is "coming soon". As of now its completely free. Well thank you for pointing it out. I will switch over the guide to a free app once the dev decides make it paid.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kjplasma View Post
I use ES File Explorer ..its free and easy too.......

TIP: set a static IP address to your PC and laptops ... else the device may not be found if the router has issued a new ip address ...
Thank you for the tip.

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Harsha Raj
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Oh it looks like the latest update brings FX File explorer to paid add-ons for network capabilities. Sorry about this. It was a free feature right before I wrote this guide. I will replace this guide with a free app. Thank you.

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File Expert has the same functionality as well as FTP and a load of other stuff and is still free. There IS a paid version but I can't figure out what the limitations are because I haven't run into them yet.
 
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Websharing is much better and easy to use too.
Try it ! I am using it for over a year. I definitely recommend it

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Harsha Raj
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Updated the guide with more details and also few more screen shots. Hope it is understandable. Open for further suggestions

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Harsha Raj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martintspedersen View Post
sorry but this guide need some more details... were is the internet and network? and do i have to access guest acount after it s enabled?
and how to share your drive you want to share and where?
make it a little more noob proof

EDIT its looks like you have to PAY to get network access... we dont share payed apps on xda..
Done Changed the app to ES File explorer too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjplasma View Post
I use ES File Explorer ..its free and easy too.......

TIP: set a static IP address to your PC and laptops ... else the device may not be found if the router has issued a new ip address ...
Tip added in the guide above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideromelane View Post
File Expert has the same functionality as well as FTP and a load of other stuff and is still free. There IS a paid version but I can't figure out what the limitations are because I haven't run into them yet.
Well yes. You can use any app. The point here is that the tweaks that are needed to be done to make the method usable. Since most of the time its try game, I came up with the guide.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairmansaab View Post
Websharing is much better and easy to use too.
Try it ! I am using it for over a year. I definitely recommend it
Like I have said in the guide, using the WebUI as the medium is a different thing. You will need to be near the system as well and control everything from the browser. But here with this guide you just set it up once and then do everything in you GS2 without touching the system.

Very useful when the system is kept on 24/7 (server) and it is in ground floor and you are on top floor


Edit: The images looks to have been resized after upload. I dont know how that happened Hope you all can make it out.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairmansaab View Post
Websharing is much better and easy to use too.
Try it ! I am using it for over a year. I definitely recommend it
you need to be in front of pc to transfer data with websharing with this method you can be wherever within your wifi range and start the transfer directly from your mobile.
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