Windows 7: HomeGroup Overview

So far, in our Windows 7 Overview series, we have published the following:


Over the next few weeks we will be adding many more focus items on Windows 7 including Touch, Windows 7 networking and media enhancements. Stay tuned for the ultimate Windows 7 focus from Neowin.net. Here is an overview of HomeGroup in Windows 7.

HomeGroup
Ever wanted to share your music, pictures and documents within your home computers and found the task to be difficult? HomeGroup in Windows 7 will simplify the tasks associated with sharing music, pictures and documents within your home network and Windows 7 PCs. HomeGroup also allows you to share your USB connected printers, if you have a printer in the living room that's shared by HomeGroup it will be automatically installed onto your other HomeGroup enabled PCs. Domain-joined computers can be part of a HomeGroup too.

Creating your HomeGroup
As soon as you setup your network, Windows 7 will prompt you to select the type of location. Once you select Home Network, Windows 7 will start applying the necessary settings for your new network.

The HomeGroup wizard will then prompt you to create your HomeGroup and choose what to share in your HomeGroup.

The wizard then generates a password which can be used to add other computers to your HomeGroup.

Your new HomeGroup is now created and your Pictures, Music, Videos, Printers folders are ready to be shared with other computers when they join this HomeGroup. These folders - Music, Videos, Printers, Pictures - are called as your Libraries in Windows 7. Remember, we haven't yet shared any files as such. Only the network shares have been created so far.

Joining HomeGroup
When your other computer is connected to the same network where you created the HomeGroup (above), Windows 7 will prompt you that there is a HomeGroup available to join.

Once you choose to join, Windows 7 will provide you with information about the HomeGroup on your network

Click Join Now to join to your HomeGroup. You will be prompted to enter the HomeGroup password which was generated during the creation of that HomeGroup

Entering the correct password will let you join the HomeGroup and choose what you want to share

Welcome to your HomeGroup!

Viewing your HomeGroup
You can find your HomeGroup in the Explorer's Navigation Pane (left hand side of the Explorer). You can just click the Windows Explorer icon in the superbar and it will open your Libraries.

You can put any files into the Libraries and share with your HomeGroup. Its that easy!

Media Player will automatically search your HomeGroup for music and will add the files to the Media Player library. You can also search through the libraries of your HomeGroup using explorer's search functionality.

What If I forget my HomeGroup password created?
Yes, the password generated by the wizard is hard to remember (being complex and secure) and you would love to see your password whenever you forget. Windows 7 lets you view or print your password even after creating the HomeGroup in the HomeGroup options.

You can find your HomeGroup options in the Network and Sharing Center or just type 'homegroup' (without the quotes) in your start menu.

HomeGroup was certainly designed for ease and it does stay true to its promise - An easy end-to-end approach to sharing in your Home!

Remember that HomeGroup works only with Windows 7 machines and it does not support Vista or XP.

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