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Windows 7 HomeGroup: Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: August 21, 2009

Applies To: Windows 7

 

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noteNote
For a complete view of Windows 7 resources, articles, demos, and guidance, please visit the Springboard Series for Windows 7 on the Windows Client TechCenter.

For a downloadable version of this document, see the Windows 7 HomeGroup: Frequently Asked Questions in the Microsoft Download Center (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=161918).

What is HomeGroup?

HomeGroup is an easy way to share documents, music, pictures, videos, and printers between networked computers at home or in a small business—without a server.

Can computers running Windows XP or Windows Vista join a homegroup?

No. Only the Windows® 7 operating system supports HomeGroup. However, you can still share files among computers running the Windows XP®, Windows Vista®, or Windows 7 operating systems.

Is HomeGroup supported over wireless networks?

Yes. You can join computers to a homegroup whether they connect by using wired and wireless networking.

I have two computers on my home network. Why don’t I see a prompt to join a homegroup?

You will need at least two computers running Windows 7 on your home network to set up a homegroup. You will only be prompted to join a homegroup if you have already created the homegroup on another computer. In addition, if you are already part of a homegroup on a separate network, you must leave that homegroup to join another homegroup. Click Start, and type homegroup to set your homegroup options.

How do I create a homegroup?

You cannot create a homegroup if your computer is joined to a domain. In addition, it must be running at least Windows 7 Home Premium. During network setup, choose Home network from the list of network locations. The Create a HomeGroup wizard will start automatically, guiding you through choosing what you want to share and generating a strong password that is required to join other computers to the homegroup. If you’ve already configured the network connection, you can create a homegroup later by using the Network and Sharing Center.

How do I join an available homegroup?

During network setup, choose Home network from the list of network locations. The Join a HomeGroup wizard will start automatically, guiding you through choosing what you want to share and typing the homegroup password. If necessary, you can always access the HomeGroup password from any of the computers in the group. You can also Click Start, type homegroup, and then press ENTER to access the HomeGroup control panel. As long as you are on your home network, you will be able to join an available homegroup.

How do I troubleshoot problems with my homegroup?

Click Start, type homegroup, and then press ENTER. Click Start the HomeGroup troubleshooter.

I forgot my homegroup password. How do I find it?

Click Start, type homegroup, and then press ENTER. Click View or print the homegroup password.

Do all my computers need to have the same workgroup name for HomeGroup to work?

No. HomeGroup does not rely on workgroup names for discovery or configuration.

Can domain-joined computers still join a homegroup?

Yes. Domain-joined computers can join a homegroup and access shared resources; however, they cannot share Libraries or printers on the homegroup. For example, if you take your work computer home and connect to the home network, you can join the computer to the homegroup. You can then access files and printers from your home computers on your work computer. You cannot access files and printers from your work computer on your home computers, though.

Why is my domain-joined computer automatically managing my HomeGroup connection?

When a user logs on to a domain-joined computer that is also a member of a HomeGroup, Windows 7 always connects to other computers in the HomeGroup. This happens even if the Use user accounts and passwords to other computers under HomeGroup connections in Advanced sharing settings is enabled.

Windows 7 always overrides Advanced sharing settings, and it manages HomeGroup connections on behalf of the user. The domain-joined computer overrides these settings when the user logs on. When a computer is not joined to a domain, the setting is honored properly by HomeGroup.

How can I pick who sees certain files on my homegroup?

Click the file or folder you want to configure, and then do one of the following:

  • To share the file or folder with nobody, click Share with in the toolbar, and then click Nobody.

  • To share the file or folder with specific people, click Share with in the toolbar, click Specific people, select each person with whom you want to share with the file or folder, and then click Add. Click Share to close the File Sharing dialog box. Sharing with specific people only works if they’ve linked their profiles to an online ID.

  • To share the file or folder with the entire homegroup, click Share with in the toolbar, and then click either HomeGroup (Read) or HomeGroup (Read/Write).

What should I tell my friends and family about HomeGroup?

When describing HomeGroup to your friends and family, you can tell them that setting up computers to share files and printers is much less mysterious than it used to be. HomeGroup helps even inexperienced users easily share their files and printers on their home network. The process is as simple as entering a password. HomeGroup is easy to use and can give them ubiquitous access to their files from any shared computer in the house.

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