If you need a quick way to share files between Windows 11 PCs, Nearby sharing is the way to go. Here’s how to use it.
There’s a special feature carried over from Windows 10 to Windows 11 called Nearby sharing. As the same suggests, you can use this to transfer files and other items between different Windows PCs. It could be between your laptops or desktop PCs. Leveraging Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, this feature helps you avoid using cloud services, or even USB drives for quick file exchanges on Windows.
Nearby sharing is not to be confused with Google’s own iteration of this for Android devices and Windows known as Nearby Share. That’s a separate product and downloadable app, and we’re talking about the native Nearby sharing feature in Windows 11. Regardless, the feature is easy to get started with, so let’s dive in!
For Nearby sharing to work, you’re going to have your devices you want to share with connected to the same Wi-Fi network or connected to each other via Bluetooth.
How to enable Nearby sharing on Windows 11
As with most settings in Windows 11, you have to get started with Nearby sharing by going to the Windows 11 settings app. You’ll need to enable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
- Connect your primary PC to a Wi-Fi network by choosing the Wi-Fi or Network icon in the system tray near the clock.
- Head to the primary PC you want to share from.
- Open the Windows 11 Settings app by pressing Windows Key and I.
- Choose System and then Nearby sharing.
- Turn the switch to My devices only if you just want to share with devices that are using your Microsoft Account.
- Turn the switch to Everyone nearby if you want to share with everyone, regardless of which account is being used.
- If you want to change where the files are saved to, click the Change button and then choose the location, and then Select Folder.
- Next, you have to enable Nearby sharing on the secondary PC that you want to send the files to. Follow the same steps as above.
We do suggest adding the Nearby Sharing Quick Actions, too. Just click on the Wi-Fi and Sound icons or press Ctrl and A to open Quick Actions, choose the edit button (the pencil icon), and Add, then drag to add the Nearby Sharing icon. You can toggle it on and off when you do and don’t want to share.
How to share a file or a webpage with Nearby sharing on Windows 11
Once you set up Nearby sharing, you can share a file or a webpage between your PCs. Here’s how.
Sharing a file:
- Right-click the file and choose Share. It’s the fourth icon from the top in the list of icons in the right-click menu.
- If you don’t see the Share option, right-click again, choose Show more options, and then Share.
- In the Windows Share pane, look for the device you want to send the file to.
- Click on the name.
- On the computer that’s receiving the file (the destination computer) choose Save and open or Save to complete the transfer.
- The file will show up in the Downloads folder on the PC you shared it with by default.
Sharing a link:
- Open Microsoft Edge.
- Once you’re on the website, right-click on an empty space.
- Choose Share.
- Choose Windows share options.
- Pick the laptop you want to send to, as seen under Nearby Share.
- On the computer that’s receiving the link, click the Open link in the notification to launch Microsoft Edge.
Troubleshooting and other tips
If you’re running into issues with Nearby sharing, it’s probably related to Bluetooth or your Wi-Fi and network connectivity. You can search the Windows 11 Start Menu for Find and fix problems with Bluetooth devices to fix issues with Bluetooth. Meanwhile, if it is a network issue you can search for Find and fix network problems and launch the top resulting app. If all else fails, you can consider sharing your files via email or cloud storage.