Tweaking the Workgroup Feature (Windows 7 and 8)

Computers that exist on a single network needs a system that would manage them to enable sharing and other content management methods through all devices. There are two structures to which small and medium network setups could belong. These are the Domain and Workgroup setups. Enterprise level networking structures often use Domains while smaller setups like those found at home or in a small office use the Workgroup setup. These networking structures mainly differ in content and resource management as well as how each computer is setup. This article will explain how Domain differs from a Workgroup and later on make tweaks on the Workgroup feature on both Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Domain VS. Workgroup

Networks having a server connected to multiple computers, laptops, printers and other devices often use a Domain network structure. Domain networks are often used for medium size networks having a lot of computers joined to it. On this network setting, an administrator is in charge of setting all the rules that are used in managing all the other computers and devices joined to the domain. Managing device performance as well as monitoring security on domain computers becomes easier since there is only one administrator who has control over everything. Problems are also handled easily on this network structure. Unlike Workgroups, users on a Domain network structure need only one account given by the administrator to access any of the computers and devices joined to it.

The other structure which is called “Workgroup” provides more security to users compared to the Domain network type. Computers that compose a Workgroup all have a unique set of rules and settings and as well as user accounts. Unlike computers in a domain network structure, Workgroup computers need to have a unique account on each one and you can’t use any computer joined to it unless you know the user account registered to it and the credentials needed to access and use the machine. There is no administrator here that controls each computer and device but instead, the user of the specific computer decides what to share, when to share it and when to do some maintenance tasks as well as solve problems that arise.

How to Access the Workgroup Settings Window

Almost all Windows operating system version provide several methods in accessing the features and the settings section for each. The same is true with the Workgroup Settings section and on the items below, I will show you how it is accessed both on Windows 7 and Windows 8.

  • On Windows 8, you first need to access the Control Panel but the problem is where can you find the Control Panel? Since there is no “Start Button” and therefore you can’t access the “Start Menu” on Windows 8, you simply need to press the “Windows + X” keys and a menu will appear which looks like the screenshot below. From the options available, just look for “Control Panel” then click or tap on it.


  • Then on the main Control Panel Window, look for “System and Security” then click or tap on it. Once it opens, click again on the “System” link and the “System” Window will appear.

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  • The process is the same on Windows 7 and since the “Start Button” is present, you can just access the Control Panel from the “Start Menu” then click “System and Security” and once it opens, click again on the “System” link and you’ll arrive at the same Window that you see above with just a slight difference since the information that will is for Windows 7.

Another way of accessing it is by using the Search feature on the Start Screen for Windows 8 and on the Start Menu if you are using Windows 7. Let’s first see how it is done on Windows 7:

  • First, open the Start Menu by pressing the Windows Key or clicking on the Start Button then type the word “workgroup” on the search input box and you’ll see some search results appear. Simply look for the “Change workgroup name” link under the “Control Panel” search result category then click on it.


The same method also works for Windows 8 but since the “Start Button” or the “Start Menu” is not found on this latest Windows version, you need to follow the steps below:

  • Open the “Start Screen” by pressing the “Windows Key” and once it opens, type “workgroup” directly using the keyboard and the search input box will appear. You can also use the “Search Charm” by swiping the mouse pointer or from the top-right corner of the screen downwards or from the bottom-right corner upwards. You can also use your finger in doing this gesture if your machine is touch enabled.


  • After doing any of the methods above, you will arrive on a section that has a search input box. Simply type in “workgroup” and filter the results by “Settings” then you’ll see the “Change workgroup name” link at the left side of the screen. Just click or tap on it to open the “System Properties” Window.


Tweaking the Workgroup Settings

Now that you’ve reached the “System Properties” Window, it is time to make some tweaks on the Workgroup name. From this section, you can also change the name of your computer and a host of other aspects but for this tutorial, we will focus on just changing the name of the Workgroup which your computer is connected to. Since problems with sharing files, folders and other stuff between computers joined to a workgroup are commonly caused by a simple workgroup name mismatch, knowing how to do this tweak is important. Here’s how to change it:

First, you need to be on the “Computer Name” tab of the “System Properties” Window and at the bottom part of this section, simply click on the “Change” button.

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After clicking on the button, another Window will appear which is labeled “Computer Name/Domain Changes” and from here, you can choose between Domain and Workgroup, Change the name of your machine or change the Workgroup name but for illustration purposes, I will just change the name of the workgroup from “WORKGROUP-ONE” back to its default which is “WORKGROUP” and after changing the workgroup’s name, simply click “OK”.


Afterwards, a prompt will appear welcoming you to the Workgroup you have just joined. From here, you just need to click on “OK”.

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Then another prompt will appear telling you that your machine needs to be restarted so that the changes will be applied. You need to click on the “OK” button again on this prompt.

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You will now be taken back to the “System Properties” Window but this time, you will see a message at the bottom telling you again that you must restart your machine so that the changes can take effect. Just click on the “Close” button at the bottom and a prompt will appear with the button that says “Restart Now” or “Restart Later” found at the bottom. If you want to restart you computer right away, be sure to close all running programs and save all the work you’re doing to avoid problems.

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That’s it! You now learned how to change the Workgroup name on both Windows 7 and Windows 8. The steps I have shown above has proved to be the solution for files, folders and devices that cannot be shared among computers joined to the same network. If you are suffering the same problem on your computer then you need to check on the Workgroup you are joined to and if it is different from everyone else then you might want to change it so you can be connected to everyone again. If you have questions on the topic covered on this tutorial please don’t hesitate to post them as comments below.