Posted 07 May 2010 - 10:39 AM
Creating and joining a homegroup
To create my homegroup, I opened HomeGroup in Control Panel, and then clicked Create a homegroup. Then, I walked to each of the other computers on my network, opened HomeGroup in Control Panel, and clicked Join now. For more information about creating or joining homegroups, see Create a homegroup and Join a homegroup.
During the process of setting up or joining a homegroup, I chose the libraries and printers I wanted to share. I can easily change these later, and I can exclude specific files from sharing, or share them with some people and not others. To learn more about that, see Keep specific files and folders from being shared with a homegroup.
HomeGroup provides a password to help protect the shared files and printers. I can change that password at any time, too, by following the steps in Change a homegroup password.
My homegroup is not set in stone. I can easily change homegroup settings such as the libraries I'm sharing. The steps to do this are explained in Share libraries with your homegroup and Change HomeGroup settings.
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HomeGroup in action
Now that I've got a homegroup, what happens next? How do I use it?
As an example, today I wanted to e‑mail a photo of my roses to a friend of mine. I was using my laptop in the living room, but the photo was on the PC in my home office. I opened Libraries, clicked the name of my desktop PC under Homegroup in the left pane, and then clicked the Pictures folder. I found the photo, copied it, and pasted it into the e‑mail I was writing—easy.
Picture of the Libraries windowAccessing homegroup files in Libraries
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A homegroup is protected by a password. You can use the one created when you first set up the homegroup, or you can change it. If you ever forget your homegroup password, you can view it on any PC that's part of your homegroup by following the steps in Where can I find my homegroup password?
People who belong to a home network won't automatically belong to a homegroup. They need a computer running Windows 7, first of all. Then they need to have the homegroup password so that they can join the homegroup.
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A few things to remember
Here are a few reminders to make your HomeGroup experience as smooth as possible:
*When using a homegroup, make sure all the homegroup PCs are turned on, connected to the network, and not sleeping or hibernating. It might seem pretty obvious that if a PC is turned off, you won't be able to access the shared files on it, but it's easy to forget that—it's happened to me before!
*If you change the homegroup password, enter the new password on all the other homegroup PCs right away. That way, all the PCs stay "in sync." There are more tips like this in HomeGroup: frequently asked questions.
*If you use a laptop from work when you're at home, be aware that domain-joined computers can join a homegroup and access files and printers shared by other people, but for security reasons they can't share their own files and printers.
*If you ever have problems with a homegroup, use the HomeGroup troubleshooter to help resolve them. Open the HomeGroup troubleshooter explains how to do that. Also, in Windows Help and Support, you can find more information to help troubleshoot any problems you might encounter while using a homegroup. For example, see Why can't I create a homegroup? and Why can't I access my homegroup?