A home group is a smaller network than a domain, suitable for families and small business. With a home group, fewer computers are on the network, and security is less restrictive. Sharing pictures, text documents and other files, as well as connecting multiple computers to a common piece of equipment such as a printer are the primary functions of creating a home group. In a home group, each user decides what files they want to share, rather than the admin deciding on what files are common to everyone.
1) Make Sure Everything is Compatible
Make sure all computers that want to join the HomeGroup have the proper versions installed. While Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows RT can be on a home group together, computers running other versions of Windows won’t be able to join in on the fun. Only Windows 7 and 8 can create and networks and share files. NT users can use network devices, but are unable to share or to create the group. Also, a home group must exist. If the home group has already been created, skip to step 3.
2) Find the HomeGroup Screen
On the start screen, hover the mouse pointer over the right side of the screen, and a tool bar containing “Search”, “Share”, etc., will pop up. At the bottom of this bar is a picture of a gear with the word “Settings” under it. Click the gear, and a settings tool bar will open. At the bottom of this, find “Change PC Settings” and click that. This will take you to a PC settings Screen, with a list of options on the left. Click the second option from the bottom “HomeGroup”. This is the HomeGroup Screen.
3) Create HomeGroup
Go to the HomeGroup screen, and, if a home group doesn’t already exist, on the right side of the screen, a button labeled “Create” will appear. Click that. There are a series of options for what will be shared on the home group on this screen, but the important thing is to set the HomeGroup’s password. Take careful note of whatever you use, as any other computer that wants to join the network will need this password to do so. That’s it! The home group is now set up.
4) Add Users to the HomeGroup
A HomeGroup of one would be rather boring, so the next step is to add other users. Go to a computer that wants to join the group, and go to the HomeGroup screen as detailed in step 2. If the HomeGroup is already in place, just click “Join”, and enter the password, and now that computer is a part of the home network. Now all that’s needed is to repeat the process on all the other computers that want to join the HomeGroup.
Sharing files is as simple as finding the file, clicking the file and clicking share. Selecting the “Share With” option, however, will bring up a list of other people on the home network. By selecting only certain people, the file will not be shared with everyone in the network, only those who have been selected.
HomeGroups are a fun way for families to share pictures, notes, music and videos. With Windows 8’s easy HomeGroup setup, showing files to everyone on the network is a snap.