One of the cool new features in Windows 7 is the Homegroup feature that allows easy sharing of files between machines. Today we take a look at how to add a new Windows 7 machine to an existing Homegroup.
In this example we’ll assume you have a desktop and a laptop both running Windows 7 and a Homegroup wasn’t created during installation. We’ll create the Homegroup on the desktop computer, then join the laptop to it.
Create a Homegroup
To start using the Homegroup feature we need to create one first. On the desktop computer type homegroup into the search box in the Start Menu and hit Enter.
In the window that pops up click on the Create a homegroup button.
In the next screen select what you want to share with the other computers in the homegroup and hit Next.
The Homegroup is created and a password will be generated that other computers will need to join it.
You may need to wait a few moments while the sharing of the libraries of the Homegroup are completed. The items under Share libraries and printers will be grayed out until the the sharing is completed.
Change Homegroup Password
You can certainly stick with the password Windows created for the Homegroup, or can change it to something that’s easier for you to remember. Under Other homegroup actions click on Change the password.
In the next screen type in the password you want to use and click Next.
You will get a screen letting you know it was successfully changed…click Finish.
Join Computer to Homegroup
Now that we have the Homegroup established, it’s time to join another computer to it. On the laptop click on Start and type homegroup into the search box and hit Enter.
In the next screen you will see a description of the Homegroup we just created—click the Join now button.
Decide what to share on the laptop with the Homegroup and click Next.
Type in the password to join the Homegroup and click Next.
Provided the network connection is established and you entered in the correct password…you’ll get the following screen indicating the join was successful.
Now you can open up Windows Explorer and should see the Homegroup you just joined in the Navigation Pane and be able to share files, folders, and printers.
Also on the laptop, if you go to Start \ Devices and Printers…
There you should see the printer connected to the desktop and can set it as your default printer.
The Homegroup feature in Windows 7 makes sharing files and printers extremely easy. You’ll also have access to shared media libraries in Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center to stream media using the Play To option. This should get you started with the Homegroup feature in Windows7. You can create and join a Homegroup in Windows 7 Home Premium and higher. Basic and Starter editions only allow you to join an existing Homegroup. You might also like to read our article on how to change which files are shared in a Homegroup.