Windows 7 Networking Tutorial

HomeGroup sharing is the easiest way of sharing resources across the network. We can share files, folder, Internet, printer, hard disk, media, videos and pictures in homegroup network. We have several ways to share these resources. In this tutorial we will explain them individually with example.

How to share in homegroup

For this article we assume that you have a working homegroup. If you haven't setup a homegroup or looking for a way to setup the new homegroup we suggests you to go through the previous articles of this category. This category is organized in start to finish way. In starting tutorials we explained how to setup a new homegroup. In middle articles we present a way to add new computers in homegroup. Later we learned how to manage a homegroup. In this article we will describe the methods of sharing in homegroup with examples.

We can share in homegroup by following ways

  • Via Homegroup setup wizard
  • Via Homegroup control panel
  • Via Windows explorer
  • Via Right click context menu

Share via homegroup setup wizard

When we setup a new homegroup it automatically shares following resources for us.

homegroup default share

If we don't want to share any of these folders, uncheck the box. Selected folders will be visible and accessible to other computers connected to our HomeGroup.

Folder Name Path Permission
My Pictures %Username%\Pictures Read
Public Pictures %Public%\Pictures Read/Write
My Music %Username%\Pictures Read
My Videos %Username%\Pictures Read
Public Videos %Public%\Pictures Read/Write

We can launch this default share window again from homegroup control panel.

Share via homegroup control panel

Homegroup control panel allows us to manage the homegroup from single location. We can invoke homegroup control panel anytime from control panel.

Click Start button and click Control panel

start button control panel

Click Choose homegroup and sharing options

homegroup and sharing options

Homegroup control panel has the same default share options those we have seen in homegroup creation wizard.

default share homegroup control panel

When we share any resources from above methods, it is always shared with read only access. Hence other users from network can view the shared resources but they cannot change or delete it. This is the basic security measurement that insures that all data remain safe. To add more, this feature has only limited items for sharing which includes libraries, documents and printers. Basically this feature was introduced for newbies. They can take advantage of networking without worrying about safety.

Above two methods were intended for non-professional. If you are familiar with networking concept and know the security risk involved in sharing, following two methods are for you.

Sharing via windows explorer

From Windows 7, windows explorer has an additional Share with menu item for files and folders sharing.

share with windows explorer

Share with menu item has following options:-

  • Nobody:- Select this option to make folder and all of its sub contents private. If any sub files or folders are currently shared, this option will unshare them as well.
  • Homegroup (Read):- Select this option to share folder and all of its sub contents with read only access. Other users of network can view the shared items but they cannot change or delete them.
  • Homegroup (Read/Write):- Select this option to share folder and all of its sub contents with read and write access. Other users of network can view and change the shared items.
  • Specific people: - This option invokes a file sharing wizard that allows us to choose the individual users from network to share with.

Sharing via right click context menu

Right click context menu is an additional place to get the share with options. These are same the sharing options. Only the difference is that last time we got them from windows explorer and this time we trigger them from right click context menu.

share with right click context menu

Sharing options are known as sharing permissions. In homegroup we have two types of permission:-

  • Read: - This is the limited permission. Members are allowed to view the item but they cannot change or delete the items.
  • Write: - This is the full permission. Members are allowed to do anything with contents. They can view, change or delete the items.