As you may already know, Microsoft decided to remove the HomeGroup feature from Windows 10 starting from 1803 April Update. The HomeGroup feature makes it easy to share files and printers in the home network. Instead of using HomeGroup, Windows 10 1803 offers a new simple way to share files with neighboring devices called Nearby sharing. This method of file transfer is similar to the AirDrop feature on the Apple devices.
Like AirDrop, Nearby sharing can be used to transfer files between neighboring devices via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Microsoft has made this method of file transfer as easy and effective as possible and requiring no additional configuration. Thus, any user should easily transfer or receive the necessary file, document, image, video, link or other content from or to a nearby Windows 10 device in the home network.
How to Enable Nearby Sharing in Windows 10?
To transfer files between Windows 10 devices using this feature, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi adapter must be enabled on both devices. You can enable Nearby sharing in the Action Center (Nearby Sharing tile).
You can configure the data sharing mode between your devices in the Settings -> System -> Shared experiences. Find the Nearby sharing section there.
Move the switch to the On position. In the “I can share and receive content from” parameter select whether you would like to share files only with your devices (My devices only) or any devices nearby (Everyone nearby). You can also specify the folder older where Windows 10 will save files received from other devices (by default it is Downloads folder in the user profile).
You can also enable the “Nearby sharing” mode through the registry. To do it, run the regedit.exe and go to the registry key HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\CDP. Find two REG_DWORD parameters:
To disable Nearby sharing change their values to 0. If their values are set to 1, data sharing is allowed only for the authorized devices; if their values are 2, the sharing with all nearby devices is allowed. To apply the settings, restart your computer.
How to Transfer a Files to a Nearby Computer Using Nearby Sharing?
After you have enabled the “Nearby sharing” feature, you can send any file to a nearby Windows 10 computer using a wireless network. Right-click the file you need to transfer inn the File Explorer and select Share in the context menu.
In the next Share window, all available wireless devices will be searched. If there is no device you need in the list, make sure that Nearby sharing is enabled and Wi-Fi / Bluetooth adapter is enabled on it.
Select the name of the computer, to which you want to send a file. A notification of sharing a file will appear on the second computer. A user can save or decline the file.
Most Windows Store apps have the Share button (e. g., in Edge, Photos app, etc.). Thus, you can share a link, a photo or a file right from the application window.
Nearby Sharing Is Not Working in Windows 10
If a computer cannot find a nearby Windows 10 devices after you have clicked the Share button, check the following:
- Both devices are running Windows 10 1803 or higher, and Nearby sharing is enabled on them;
- “Everyone nearby” option must be selected, or the devices must be added to your Microsoft account or to friends;
- Wi-Fi or Bluetooth adapters are active. Bluetooth 4.0 (LMP 6.x) or higher with Low Energy (LE) mode support is required. You can check it in the adapter driver properties in the section Bluetooth radio supports Low Energy Central Role = True;
- Computers must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network (you can use your Windows 10 computer as a virtual Wi-Fi access point);
- When transferring files over Bluetooth, keep the devices as close as possible;
- Change your network profile from Public to Private on both devices (Settings -> Network and Internet -> Status Change connection properties -> Private).
Microsoft has announced that an app with Nearby sharing support will appear for Android and iOS devices. Thus, you will be able to transfer a file from your Windows 10 computer to your smartphone or tablet.