How to set up a Windows 7 and 8 HomeGroup

 May 23, 2014

Anyone who has ever attempted to share files or printers between computers on a home network knows how problematic the procedure can be. This apparently straightforward task typically includes abundant steps unnervingly burdened with networking jargon and incomprehensible operating system commands that leave most users unable to appreciate the full potential of their home network. To make users' lives easier, and your nephew whom you have called so many times and bribed with chips, Microsoft included a feature called HomeGroups in its Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating systems. The HomeGroups option allows you to start sharing all those legally obtained movies, music and the likes thereof, among all of your Windows 7 computers in as little as 30 seconds. Windows XP can join a Homegroup but cannot start one. Another caveat is that PCs running Windows 7 Starter Edition can’t create a Homegroup, but they can join one.

HomeGroups for Windows 7

To set up HomeGroups in Windows 7, follow the steps below.
  1. Make sure you have a network (it is practically assumed that you have one). If not, phone your nephew...
  2. Click the 'Start' button, type 'HomeGroup' in the search box, and press 'Enter.' (If you are old school like me, it’s actually called 'Return.')
  3. In the HomeGroup setup window that appears, click 'Create a HomeGroup.'
  4. Select the file formats you'd like to share (e.g. documents, music, and pictures). You can also choose to share any printers connected to the current computer. After making your sharing selections, click 'Next.'
  5. A security password for your HomeGroup will appear in the next window. Write down the password - you'll need it to connect other computers to the HomeGroup.  Once done, click 'Finish.'
Adding computers to your HomeGroup Now that you have set up a HomeGroup and enabled sharing from one computer, all you need to do now is add the other computers on the network to the HomeGroup. Follow the steps below to connect any additional Windows 7 computers to the HomeGroup.
  1. Click the 'Start' button, type 'HomeGroup' in the search box, and press 'Enter.'
  2. In the HomeGroup setup window that appears, your computer will automatically detect an existing Homegroup on the network. Click 'Join now' to add the computer.
  3.  If you want the added computer to be able to share files or printers with the HomeGroup, make the appropriate sharing selections and click 'Next.'
  4. Type the HomeGroup password you were given earlier, and click 'Next.'
  5. You should receive a confirmation that the computer is now part of the HomeGroup. If the process was successful, click 'Finish.'
  6. Repeat the joining process on every additional computer you wish to share content with on your network.
Your HomeGroup should now show up in Windows Explorer. Once you've added all of the computers you want to the HomeGroup, viewing files on another computer is as simple as viewing files on your own computer! Simply open a Windows Explorer browser, and the HomeGroup will appear on the navigation pane on the left. Clicking the HomeGroup will view a list of the connected computers and their files.

HomeGroups for Windows 8

If you think that was easy, setting up a HomeGroup in Windows 8 is even easier. Follow the steps below.
  1. Move your cursor to the bottom right corner of the screen and select the 'Settings' option.
  2. Select 'Change PC settings' or press 'Win+C' on your keyboard and the menu will appear.
  3. Scroll down until you see the HomeGroup option. Select that option from the left menu.
  4. On the HomeGroup screen, click the 'Create' option.
  5. Now, follow step 3 onwards from the Windows 7 setup above. The only major differences are that it says Windows 8 instead of Windows 7, and it uses a different colour scheme.
  6. Choose the resources and save the password to be used on the other machines.
Enjoy sharing!!

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About the Author:

Barend Koekemoer  

Barend is one of New Horizon's highly experience IT Technical trainers with over 15 years of practical IT experience as well as experience in administrating, planning and executing projects and automation systems. He began his career in IT working for a South African government organisation and has since become a Microsoft Certified Trainer, Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and a Microsoft Certified IT Professional.

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