How To Set Up HomeGroup In Windows 10

Homegroup

WHAT IS WINDOWS HOMEGROUP?

A homegroup is a group of PCs on a home network that can share files and printers. Using a homegroup makes sharing easier. You can share pictures, music, videos, documents, and printers with other people in your homegroup.

You can help protect your homegroup with a password, which you can change at any time. Other people can’t change the files that you share unless you give them permission to do so.

After you create or join a homegroup, you select the libraries (for example, My Pictures or My Documents) that you want to share. You can prevent specific files or folders from being shared, and you can share additional libraries later.

HomeGroup is available in Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows 7. You can join a homegroup on a PC running Windows RT 8.1, but you can’t create a homegroup or share content with the homegroup. In Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic, you can join a homegroup, but you can’t create one.

Notes: 

  • HomeGroup has been removed from Windows 10 (Version 1803). For more info, see HomeGroup removed from Windows 10 (Version 1803).
  • After you install the update, you won’t be able to share files and printers using HomeGroup. However, you can still do these things by using features that are built into Windows 10.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOMEGROUP AND WORKGROUP

Homegroup was originally designed as a way to easily share resources between trusted computers. This was available in Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1. It was initially included in Windows 10, but you’ll notice now that homegroup has been removed from Windows 10, and you won’t find any homegroup capabilities in the latest versions of any Windows 10 editions.

Whenever you connected devices together on a homegroup, they could easily share pictures, videos, music, documents, printers, and other devices. Inside of Windows, you would configure your network profile to be the home profile. And once you enabled that capability, you could turn on the homegroup functionality. This gave a single password that everybody on the network could use.

Once all of the devices were configured to be on the home network, you can then create a homegroup. Instead of having a separate username and password for every single person on the network, you instead have a single homegroup password that you can share between systems. Once a system was configured with the homegroup-shared password, it would then have access to all of those shared resources across the network.

Windows work groups are designed for small organizations or small groups of people that need to share information. Each computer can be added to a workgroup. And the user names and passwords to gain access to resources on that computer are not shared with any of the other devices on the network. This means that the username and password to gain access to resources on one computer could be very different than the username and password used to gain resources on another computer. This means if you want to change your password, you have to change that password on every single computer associated with this workgroup.

To add, remove, or manage the work group settings, you would go to the control panel under System and make all of the changes under the Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings section.

If you’re in a business or an organization, then you’re not going to use a homegroup or work group. You’ll instead use a Microsoft domain. That domain exists as a centralized database of information called the Active Directory Domain Services. And from the central database, we can add all of our users and authenticate all of those users to any other resource on the network. This means if someone needs access to any share on any server that’s located anywhere on the network, they can authenticate and confirm rights to those resources, all from this centralized database.

This database not only contains the user information, but it also contains information about the devices that are connected to the network. This allows the system administrator to manage any aspect of the operating system and update or install applications that may be running on those systems. To add or remove a device from the domain, you go to the control panel under the System applet.

If you’re connecting a computer to a Microsoft domain, you have to make sure you’re running an addition of Windows that supports that connectivity. You would not be able to use a Windows Home Edition to join a Windows domain.

To be able to add that computer to the domain, you would go to the control panel system. Under the Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings, you would choose to Change the settings. You would see, under the System Properties, the computer name, and there is a wizard that allows you to join a domain or a workgroup. So we’ll click that Network ID.

Then we select that This computer is part of a business network and I use it to connect to other computers at work. It then asks, Is your company network on a domain? And you can choose that it uses a network with a domain or without. And in our choice, we’ll choose With a domain.

It then mentions that you will need your user name, your password, and your user account domain name. You might also need your computer name and your computer’s domain name. If you don’t have that information, you’ll need to check with your local administrators to see if you have the right information.

From there, you need to provide your user name, your password, and the domain name to be able to add this system to the Microsoft Windows domain. Access to a Windows domain must be granted by the administrator. So if your credentials do not allow access to the domain, you will need to check with your local administrator to get the proper access.

How To Create a homegroup

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then selecting HomeGroup.
  2. Select Create a homegroup > Next.
  3. Select the libraries and devices you want to share with the homegroup, and then select Next.
  4. A password will appear—print it or write it down. You’ll need this password to add other PCs to your homegroup.
  5. Select Finish.

Notes: 

  • If a homegroup already exists on your network, you’ll be asked to join it instead of creating a new one.
  • If your PC belongs to a domain, you can join a homegroup but you can’t create one. You can get to libraries and devices on other homegroup PCs, but you can’t share your own libraries and devices with the homegroup.
  • You can join a homegroup on a PC running Windows RT 8.1, but you can’t create a homegroup or share content with the homegroup.

After you create a homegroup, other PCs running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, or Windows 7 on your network can join it.

Add your other PCs to the homegroup

After someone on your network creates a homegroup, the next step is to join it. You’ll need the homegroup password, which you can get from any homegroup member. All user accounts except the Guest account will belong to the homegroup. Each person controls access to his or her own libraries.

To join a homegroup, follow these steps on the PC that you want to add to the homegroup:

Note: If you don’t see a space to enter a password, there might not be a homegroup available. Make sure that someone has created a homegroup, or you can create a homegroup yourself.

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then selecting HomeGroup.
  2. Select Join now > Next.
  3. Select the libraries and devices you want to share with the homegroup, and then select Next.
  4. Type the homegroup password in the box, and then select Next.
  5. Select Finish.

Find homegroup files

PCs that belong to your homegroup will appear in File Explorer.

To get to shared libraries on other homegroup PCs

  1. Open File Explorer, by typing file explorer in the search box in the taskbar, and then selecting File Explorer.
  2. Under Homegroup, select the user account name of the person whose libraries you want to get to.
  3. In the file list, double-tap or double-click the library you want to get to, and then double-tap or double-click the file or folder you want.

Notes: 

  • PCs that are turned off, hibernating, or asleep won’t be available as part of the homegroup.
  • If you’ve made homegroup files or folders available offline, and then you disconnect from the network, the files or folders will no longer be visible in the Libraries window. To find them, open the Network folder.

Share libraries and devices, or stop sharing them

When you create or join a homegroup, you select the libraries and devices you want to share with other people in the homegroup. Libraries are initially shared with Read access, which means that other people can look at or listen to what’s in the library, but they can’t change the files in it. You can adjust the level of access at any time, and you can exclude specific files and folders from sharing.

Only those people who belong to the homegroup can see shared libraries and devices. You can choose to share libraries, devices, or individual files and folders with specific people in your homegroup or with everyone.

Note: Keep in mind that children who use homegroup PCs will have access to all shared libraries and devices.

To share devices and entire libraries

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then select HomeGroup.
  2. Select Change what you’re sharing with the homegroup.
  3. Select the libraries and devices you want to share with homegroup, and then select Next Finish.

To share individual files or folders

  1. Open File Explorer by typing file explorer in the search box in the taskbar, and then selecting File Explorer.
  2. Select the item, and then select the Share tab.
  3. Choose an option in the Share with group. There are different Share with options depending on whether your PC is connected to a network and what kind of network it is.
    • To share items with a particular person, choose that person’s account.
    • To share with all the members of your homegroup, choose one of the Homegroup options. (Select libraries to share with all the members of your homegroup by opening HomeGroup.)
    • To prevent a file or folder from being shared with anyone, select the Share tab, and then select Stop sharing.
    • To change the level of access to a file or folder, select the Share tab, and then select either Homegroup (view) or Homegroup (view and edit).
    • If you need to share a location such as a drive or system folder, select the Advanced sharing option.

Share a printer

Printers that are connected with a USB cable can be shared with a homegroup. After the printer is shared, you can get to it through the Print dialog box in any program, just like a printer that’s directly connected to your PC.

To share or stop sharing your printer with the homegroup

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then select HomeGroup.
  2. Select Change what you’re sharing with the homegroup.
  3. Next to Printers & Devices, select Shared or Not shared (this will be set to Shared by default).
  4. Select Next Finish.

To print to a homegroup printer

Open the Print menu of the app you want to print from (like Microsoft Word), select the homegroup printer, and then select Print.

Note: The PC that the printer is connected to must be turned on to use the printer.

Change homegroup settings if needed

At any time after you set up your homegroup, you can change settings by following these steps:

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then select HomeGroup.
  2. Select the settings you want.

These are the settings you can change:

SettingDescription
Change what you’re sharing with the homegroupSelect the libraries, printers, and devices you want to share with your homegroup.
Allow all devices on this network such as TVs and game consoles to play my shared contentUse this setting to share content with all devices on your network. For example, you can share pictures with a digital picture frame, or share music with a network media player.Note: Shared content isn’t secure. Anyone connected to your network can receive your shared content.
View or print the homegroup passwordView the password for your homegroup. If someone else wants to join the homegroup, give them this password.
Change the passwordChange your homegroup password. All other PCs in your homegroup will need to type in the new password you generate.
Leave the homegroupLeave your homegroup. You can’t delete a homegroup, but if everyone leaves the homegroup it will be gone. You can then set up a new homegroup if you’d like.
Change advanced sharing settingsChange network discovery, file and printer sharing, HomeGroup connection, and advanced security options.
Start the HomeGroup troubleshooterTroubleshoot homegroup problems.

ADVANTAGES OF WINDOWS HOMEGROUP

1. Easily share the photos, music, and files on each of the PCs running Windows 7 on your home network. It’s especially handy when you want to share a printer.
 
2. HomeGroup takes the headache out of sharing files and printers on a home network. Connect two or more PCs running Windows 7, and HomeGroup makes it easy to automatically start sharing your music, picture, video, and document libraries with other people in your home.
 
3. HomeGroup is password-protected and puts you in total control. You decide what gets shared—and what stays private. You can also make your files “read only,” so other people can look at—but not touch—your stuff.
 
4. Easier to just put the file on a USB drive and take it to the PC with the printer.
 
5. Print a file at home when you aren’t connected to a printer.
 
6. Homegroup makes workgroups easier. If you have 10 PC’s in a workgroup with a password shares, you need to create user accounts on all the PC’s. With homegroup you can just create 1 password for shares, no accounts needed.

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