Need to Share Contents? Try Windows 7’s HomeGroup Feature

The HomeGroup was first introduced on Windows 7 and  is probably one of the most useful network and sharing feature that was ever developed by Microsoft. The HomeGroup feature is aimed at making any sharing and transferring process of files and other contents to different devices easier. Back in the days of the older versions of Windows, sharing and transferring some files to other computers was quite a tedious task. It usually meant using a storage device like a flashdrive or the older version floppy disks, CDs and DVDs which you can store files on and insert or plug it into another computer so you can transfer those copied files completely. These processes that usually takes too much time can now be done easily by using a HomeGroup which is easy to setup without any cost.

This really is an awesome feature that enables you to share the files that you allowed to be shared to other users existing on your network and keep those which you want to restrict form being accessed by anyone. Not impressed yet? Well, we still have some more things to reveal about the HomeGroup feature which you would really like. In this tutorial, you will discover and learn what this feature is and how it works. We will also teach you how you can create your own HomeGroup and have other computers and devices joined to it. All you need to do is read this towards the end and follow the steps that we will be showing you so you can take advantage of this valuable tool which is freely and readily available on your Windows 7 machine.

What is a HomeGroup

The HomeGroup is a Windows networking feature that is developed to be used by computers and other devices connected to a “Home” network. If it is your first time to connect to network, Windows 7 asks you to assign a network type to it (Home, Work, Public). Choosing the “Home” network type will allow you to use HomeGroup but you need to make sure that all the other computers that you will allow to join your network are owned by people you trust. This  is recommended for a Home network or that which is setup in your office. Once you have this  network type, you can  setup your own HomeGroup and have all other computers that runs on Windows 7 or Windows 8 joined to it and start sharing files and other contents with each other without the need of a storage device to copy it on.

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The HomeGroup feature is only available on Windows and Windows 8. You can’t setup a HomeGroup feature and have a mixture of Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers joined to it. If you use a Windows 7 computer in setting up a HomeGroup then you can only connect Windows 7 computers to it and the same happens if you use Windows 8 in setting it up. Once a HomeGroup is created, a computer will be able to join it by providing the password that is enabled to provide more safety to this feature. You can get the password from the one who craeted the HomeGroup.

Once you are joined to it, you can share and copy files that is allowed by other users to be shared within the network. The HomeGroup is not available in older versions of Windows like XP and Vista simply because there’s no HomeGroup feature that is included in it. This means that computers having this operating system will not be able to join a HomeGroup setup by a Windows 7 or a Windows 8 computer. With a HomeGroup enabled within your Home or Office network, you can easily choose which files or contents to share and which ones should not. These files will then be available for access by other users and will be accessed by them anytime.

How to Access the HomeGroup Settings Window

Going to the HomeGroup Settings Window is very simple. To do it, just follow the steps below:

  • Click on the “Windows Orb” or the “Start” button on the lower-left corner of the screen then click on “Control Panel”.

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  • You will then be directed to the main Window of the “Control Panel”. From this Window, click on the “Network and Internet” link then select “HomeGroup” on the Window that follows.

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The HomeGroup is only available for computers joined to a “Home” network. You can’t setup a HomeGroup if you’ve chosen the “Work” or “Public” network type after you connected to a network.

How to Create a HomeGroup on Windows 7

Creating your own HomeGroup is as simple as counting 1,2,3. To learn how to do it, just follow the steps detailed below:

  • Right-click on the network connection icon located on the system tray. You can find this on the lower-right corner of your screen.

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  • A pop up menu will then show up after doing so. Just click on the “Open Networks and Sharing Center” option from this menu.

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  • You will see a section that is labeled “View your active networks” on the “Network and Sharing Center” Window. From this section, you can find all the available networks which you already had access before and the type of each one (Home, Work or Public). You will also find out if you are already joined to a HomeGroup or not from this section. If you’re already joined to a HomeGroup, you should see a link that  says “HomeGroup: Joined” and if there is no HomeGroup that exists on the network, you should see a “HomeGroup: Ready Create” link.

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If you want to create a new HomeGroup and you see that your computer is already connected to an existing one then you need to leave the existing one so you can proceed to creating your own.

To start creating your own HomeGroup, just click on the link that says “Ready to Create”. You can also do the same by clicking on the “HomeGroup” link that is located at the bottom section of the navigation pane at the left of the Network and Sharing Center Window.

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After doing so, the Create a HomeGroup wizard will start. If you see this Window, you need to click on the “Create a homegroup button” at the bottom.

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Next, you will be asked to choose the stuff which you want to share (Pictures, Music, Documents and other stuff) to the other users connected to your HomeGroup. After doing so, you need to click on the “Next” button. Remember that you can share libraries and even devices on this step.

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After a while, you’ll see the the HomeGroup password automatically revealed by Windows. The password cannot be changed yet at this stage so you need to write it down or print it if you want to keep it as your HomeGroup password but if you want to assign a personalized password, click on “Finish” and do it from the HomeGroup Settings Window at a later time after the HomeGroup is completely created and setup.

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That’s it, the HomeGroup is now successfully created. You can then connect other computers on your network to the HomeGroup you created  by providing the password upon joining. You should see the “Change homegroup settings” Window after the process completes.

That’s all there is to it. You should have been able to create your own HomeGroup if you followed the steps illustrated in this article correctly. You can also start having all the other computers that you have at home or in your office to join your HomeGroup. If you still don’t know how to do this then we recommend that you read our next article for this HomeGroup series so you can know the steps in managing your HomeGroup and have other computers joined to it.