How to Set Up a Windows 7 HomeGroup

The Windows 7 HomeGroup setup window.
Anyone who has ever tried to share files or printers between computers on a home network knows how complicated the process can be. This seemingly straightforward task typically involves numerous steps disconcertingly laden with networking jargon and obscure operating system commands that leave most users unable to realize the full potential of their home network.

To make users' lives easier, Microsoft included a new feature called HomeGroups in its Windows 7 operating system. The HomeGroups option allows you to start sharing content among all of your Windows 7 computers in as little as 30 seconds. Here's how to do it:

1. Click the Start button, type HomeGroup in the Search box, and press Return.

2. In the HomeGroup setup window that appears, click Create a HomeGroup.

3. Select the types of files you'd like to share (such as documents, music, and pictures). You can also choose to share any printers connected to the current computer. After making your sharing selections, click Next.

4. A security password for your HomeGroup will appear in the next window. You'll use this password to connect other computers to the HomeGroup that you've just created. Write down the password and click Finish.

You can limit the types of files you share on your HomeGroup.
Now that you have set up a HomeGroup and enabled sharing from one computer, you just need to add the other computers on the network to the HomeGroup. For each additional Windows 7 computer that you want to share the HomeGroup with, perform the following steps:

1. Click the Start button, type HomeGroup in the Search box, and press Return.

2. In the HomeGroup setup window that appears, your computer will 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 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 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 click Start and then click Computer. The HomeGroup will appear on the navigation pane on the left. Then click the HomeGroup to see a list of the connected computers and their files!



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