Windows 8/RT access Photos or Music on other computers on your network.

Now that we have Windows 8 (or Microsoft Surface) running and we log in to it with our Microsoft Account, how do we get access to our pictures, music and videos that reside on other computers on our home networks? Prior to Windows 8 we had local computer accounts that we logged into, so how do we gain access?

Preface: Ok so I really thought that following these steps would locate and display my photos in the Windows 8/RT Photos App. I’d swear it worked with the Consumer Preview (my external Photos were available in the Photos App). I see that my Windows Home Server (Original Version) photos do not appear in the Photos app. Then there is this MS Magic that Windows 8 just finds stuff (Windows 7 computers) on my network and knows that I am authorized to access it, and those photos to appear in the Photos app on both my Windows 8 desktop and Surface…It may because I have set up other computers in the house this way, it might be that “Trust this Computer” thing that my Microsoft Account asked me about…who knows.

If you work on a lot of photos and you want Programs like Canon Digital Photo Professional, Paintshop Pro X5 and others to access photos on other computers on your network you will want to add those to the Pictures Library on your Windows 8/RT system. This DOES work for the Music App, as all my music on my Home Server does appear in the Music App on my Windows 8 desktop and on my Surface.

Note:  Setting up Credentials is when you are accessing shares on a Windows 7 or less PC that does not have a Microsoft Account associated with it.  If all your PCs/Devices have Windows 8 and you log into them with an MS account you do not have to set up legacy credentials to access shares on those PCs.


We start out by storing credentials for the computer(s) we want to access on the New Computer/Surface in the Credential Manager.

For the Surface users: Remember this will only allow access to resources while you are on your home network.

On a Windows 8 Desktop

Press Windows Key + X then press P to open the Control Panel.
On the Control Panel dialog, click on User Accounts and Family Safety.
Under Credential Manager, click on Manage Windows Credentials.

Microsoft Surface/Touch

Slide right thumb inward to open the Charms Menu.
Tap Search
Enter Windows Credentials in the search field.
Below Search, tap on Settings.
In the Results choose Manage Windows Credentials.

Windows Credential Manager

Whichever way you chose to get here you should be on the Control Panel\User Accounts and Family Safety\Credential Manager dialog.

Click on Add a Windows credential.

Internet or Network address: Enter the Computer Name on your network that you will be gaining access to.
User Name: Enter an Account that is on the computer you will be accessing. Usually the Name you use to log in to that computer.
Password: Enter the password for the account you entered in User Name.

Click/Tap on the OK button to store the Credentials.

Now that our computer knows how to access the other computer(s) on the network (using a different name) we can gain access to the different shares. I’ve have added my Microsoft Account credentials as Generic Credentials on each of my older PCs so I can get gain access to my Windows 8 pc. Like Windows 7, Windows 8/RT uses Libraries for Photos, Music, and Videos etc. Apps in Windows 8/RT for Example Photos and the Music apps pull from the Libraries.

How do I add a Library on one computer to my Windows 8/RT device?

I have a really old Windows Home Server in the house that has Photos, Music and Documents. I have added the Home Server credentials (as above) to my Windows 8 pc. I want all the Photos in the Photos folder on my Home Server to appear in the Pictures Library on my new Windows 8 machine/RT, I add it to my Pictures Library by:

Go to Desktop mode (Windows Key + D) or On a touch device click on the Desktop tile.
Click on the Explorer icon in the Taskbar.
In the Address bar enter \\computername and press enter (where computername would be the name of the computer you are trying to access)

All Shares available to me will be visible in the large pane of the dialog.

I right click (press, hold and release on the Surface) on the Share I called Photos.
Choose Include in Library.
Choose the Library on my Windows 8/RT machine that I want it to be part of. In this case it would be my “Pictures” library.

I have added my Documents, Photos, and Music to the Corresponding libraries on my Windows 8 Desktop. I believe some of these settings follow the Microsoft Account around, as when I logged into my Surface all my music was there. Documents and Photos on my Home Server were not on my Surface. Again, Magic.

Hope this helps some of you.


2 thoughts on “Windows 8/RT access Photos or Music on other computers on your network.

    1. With PaintShop Pro installed on a Windows 8 PC or Surface Pro, you will be able to run PSP and access your photos that reside on the network. The limitation becomes the speed of your network. You may encounter slowness when PSP Organizer finds the (network) photos and creates thumbnails for each photo.

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