HomeGroup is a rather nifty feature of Windows 7 that allows you to easily share documents, photos and music across your home network.
If you want to learn how to set it up, we found a very useful guide on PCPro by David Fearon. It assumes you have 2 Windows 7 machines on a local network at home. Every machine you want to include in your HomeGroup will have to run on Windows 7.
How to set up a Windows 7 HomeGroup
The first thing to is make sure your network type is set to ‘home’ rather than ‘work’ or ‘public’. Start up the Network and Sharing Center, click your network under the Active Networks heading and then select Home.
Now type ‘homegroup’ in the Windows 7 start box and hit Enter. You’ll get a dialog telling you there’s no homegroup on the network. Click ‘Create a homegroup’ and choose which types of files you want to share and hit Okay.
After a short pause, a window will appear, in which a password will fade elegantly into view. You’ll notice the password is long and random. You can write it down or, preferably, copy and paste it into a new text document.
Hit Finish and you’ll get the option to change the settings of the homegroup you’ve just created. There’s also the option to stream all your media in the old way via Media Player-style sharing – this isn’t actually part of the HomeGroup system though.
With the homegroup set up, you can join it from any other Windows 7 PC on the network by clicking the HomeGroup entry in the left-hand pane of Explorer windows. The Join HomeGroup dialog will automatically open.
Enter the password you wrote down when you created the group, select which of the documents you want to share on this computer and that’s all there is to it. You can leave the group at any time from HomeGroup settings window.
There you go, that’s all there is to it.