Windows 7 Tutorials

This tutorial explains how to setup, join and leave Homegroup in Windows 7 step by step with examples including how to view and reset the Homegroup password.

Windows 7 Homegroup Explained

With each version, Windows makes networking easier. Windows 7 has followed the same footprint of ongoing improvement track by introducing a new feature of networking. This feature is known as Homegroup. Homegroup is the group of computers those are set-up for sharing of resources.

Homegroup

Features of Homegroup

  • All editions of Windows 7 support Homegroup.
  • Low cost editions such as Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home basic cannot create a new Homegroup, but they can join an existing Homegroup in network.
  • All regular editions of Windows 7 such as Windows 7 premium, professional, enterprise and ultimate can create, remove or join the Homegroup.
  • A membership password is generated during the Homegroup creation process.
  • All other users need membership password to join the Homegroup.
  • Homegroup requires IPv6 to works.
  • Homegroup can span over the network.
  • Homegroup does not have any members limit.
  • Once joined, all members have equal rights.
  • Any shared resources will be available for all members.
  • To enhance the security, guest user account is not allowed to access any shared resources.

How to setup or create a new Homegroup in Windows 7

When a Windows 7 system first time connects with network or internet, it pops up a window to select the network location. Based on user selection, it automatically adjusts Homegroup setting. This process is known as auto initiating Homegroup.

Following figure shows the network location wizard.

Homegroup network location selection wizard

As we can see in above figure, there are three locations; Home network, Work network and Public network.

Home Network

For this location, Windows assumes that all computers belong to personal network and can be tracked individually. If we select this location, Windows will apply the settings those mainly focused for easy sharing.

Work Network

For this location, Windows assumes that all computers belong to work place. If we select this location, Windows will increase the security level in such a way that sharing still remains easy. Sharing and security are balanced in this type of network.

Public Network

For this location, Windows assumes that all computers belong to public network. Open Wi-Fi network, railways, shopping mall are the examples of public network. In this type of network, security is the primary concern. If we select this location, Windows will apply the settings those are mainly aimed for security.

Sharing and Security work inversely. If we increase one other will drop. For easy sharing we have to alleviate the security. For higher security we have to go with complex sharing.

Based on selection, wizard scans the network and automatically applies the correct network setting for selected network location.

homegroup setup wizard scaning

While scanning the network, if wizard finds any existing Homegroup, it will display an option to join that Homegroup. If it does not find any Homegroup in network then it will set a new Homegroup in this computer with default sharing.

Default sharing includes libraries and printers. Default sharing is optional that means we are allowed to exclude any of default shared resource.

homegroup default share

Once shared resources are selected, wizard will do the rest. It automatically shares selected resources in Homegroup based on the network type selected in first step. In final step wizard will display a Homegroup password.

All other computers which want to join this Homegroup require this password to authenticate themselves. In other words, Homegroup is a membership based group where other members require this password to join the group.

This password is automatically generated with random letters, numbers and symbols. We are not allowed to set a custom password here.

To enhance the security of Homegroup, we should always use this auto generated complex password, but due to some reason, if we want to use a simple or custom password for Homegroup, we are allowed to set a password for Homegroup manually once Homegroup is created.

homegroup default password

If we skipped the auto initiated Homegroup setup wizard intentionally or accidentally, we can launch the same wizard again manually from network and sharing center, from control panel and from windows explorer.

Setting up Homegroup form Network and sharing center

Click Network icon in task bar and click Open Network and Sharing Center

Network icon in task bar

If Network icon is hidden in Task bar, open My Computer and click Network icon visible in left side pane. Now click Network and Sharing Center option available in tool bar.

Network and sharing center

In opened Network and Sharing Center click HomeGroup option visible in left pane

homegroup option in network sharing center

If this system is a part of an existing Homegroup, this option will open that Homegroup.

If this system is not a part of any Homegroup, but Homegroup exist in network then this option will display an option to join that Homegroup.

If this system is connected with network and there is no Homegroup in network then this option will display following window to create a new Homegroup.

create a homegroup

Clicking Create a Homegroup button will launch the same Homegroup setup wizard which we have seen in previous section.

Creating Homegroup from control panel

Click Start button and click Control Panel

start button control panel

Click Choose Homegroup and sharing options

control panel homegroup optoin

This option checks the same three possible situations and based on current status of this computer, it will bring the option to manage Homegroup, join Homegroup or create a new Homegroup.

Launching Homegroup setup wizard from Windows explorer

Open My Computer and click Homegroup icon visible in left pane.

Homegroup option my computer

Again based on current status we will see the option to view, join or create the Homegroup.

Create a homegroup

No matter how we access the Homegroup setup wizard, it is always a two steps process; select the shared resources and note down the Homegroup password.

How to join a Homegroup in Windows 7

As we know, Homegroup setup wizard always scans network for existing Homegroup in network and if it finds anyone, it displays the joining option instead of creating option. Access Homegroup setup wizard from any one method; auto initiate, network and sharing center, control panel or windows explore and click Join now button.

homegroup join now

In next step we have to select what we want to share with Homegroup from this computer.

join homegroup default share

In next step we have to authenticate this system with Homegroup password. The Homegroup password is the password which was generated automatically while we created the first Homegroup in network.

join homegroup password

If supplied password is correct, wizard will do the reset. Click Finish to close the wizard.

join homegroup wizard finish

How to leave a Homegroup

To remove a computer from Homegroup open control panel and click Choose Homegroup and sharing options

homegroup and sharing option

If computer is the member of existing Homegroup, Homegroup management options will be displayed.

Click Leave the Homegroup

leave homegroup link

Click Leave the Homegroup again to confirm the action

leave homegroup option

Click Finish to close the wizard.

leave homegroup wizard finish

How to Find or View the Homegroup password in Windows 7

If we missed or forget the Homegroup password, we can view or reprint it any time from the computer that created the Homegroup. To view or reprint the password, open control panel and click “Choose Homegroup and sharing options”. From Homegroup management window we can view or print the Homegroup password again.

view or print homegroup password

From same screen we can also change the password.

change homegroup password link

Click Change password again to confirm the action.

change homegroup password

Wizard will generate the new complex password for Homegroup again but this time it’s editable. It means we can replace it with our custom password.

default homegroup password

Replace automated password with custom password and click Next

type new homegroup password

Click Finish to close the wizard.

changed homegroup password

How to share files and folders in Homegroup

We have two options to share the files and folders in Homegroup; through windows explore and right click context menu. To share a file or folder through the windows explore, select it and click Share with menu item.

share with windows explorer

To share a file or folder via right click context menu, select it and do right click and click Share with.

share with right click context menu

Files and folders can be shared with following options: -

Nobody: - This option makes folder and all of its sub contents private. If any sub files or folders are currently shared, this option un-share them as well.

Homegroup (Read):- This option shares folder and all of its sub contents with read only access. Other users in network can view the shared items but they cannot change or delete them.

Homegroup (Read/Write):- This option shares folder and all of its sub contents with read and write access. Other users in 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.

How to access the shared resources in Homegroup

To access the shared resources in Homegroup network, open My Computer and click Network icon visible in left pane.

access homegroup

That’s all for this tutorial. In next tutorial we will learn how to share Internet in Homegroup.