Windows 8 – Network and Sharing Center – HomeGroup

Microsoft introduced HomeGroup in Windows 7 to enable easy sharing of data and devices across the network.

Two computers within a HomeGroup can directly access the shared data and devices connected to them. So, you need not mail a document to another computer just to print it.

You can directly access that computer’s printer through homegroup sharing.

This applet lets you create or join an existing HomeGroup. You can also determine what things you want to share with other HomeGroup computers.

How to Launch It

  • Open the traditional Control Panel through the Start Screen or using the Run Windows command “control”.
  • Select “Category” view for Control Panel.
  • Select “Network and Sharing Center” category. This opens a new page containing the subcategories.
  • Select “HomeGroup”. This will launch the applet on the same control panel page.

If your network doesn’t have any HomeGroup, then the main page of the applet asks you to create one. In case you have already joined a HomeGroup, then the main page shows the settings of that HomeGroup.

Create a HomeGroup

Click on “Create a HomeGroup” button to launch the setup wizard.

Click “Next” button.

Select Stuff to Share in HomeGroup

The next screen of the wizard lists the libraries and devices that you can share with the HomeGroup.

You may want to leave out the libraries that may contain sensitive data. Alternatively, you can simply exclude the files and folders that you don’t want to share, from the library itself.

Now, you can share the library.

After the selection is complete, click “Next”.

Password

The wizard completes the sharing of the selected libraries and devices. Then, it automatically creates a password for you.

Any person wanting to join your HomeGroup will require that password. Also, if you want to access another machine’s devices like printer or scanner, then you need to add the computer by providing the password to its operator.

HomeGroup Settings

The wizard exits and you return back to the main page of the applet. Now, it shows the settings of the HomeGroup that you just created.

It lists the following information and options.

  • List of the libraries and devices that are currently shared with the HomeGroup. There is a link “Change what you’re sharing with the homegroup” in order to change the content being shared.
  • You can view, print or change the HomeGroup password. In order to change the password, all the HomeGroup computers should be on (not even in sleep or hibernation). After creating the new password, you need to enter it immediately in all other HomeGroup computers.
  • The applet also provides you the option to leave the HomeGroup.

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