Microsoft is killing off the entire notion of HomeGroups, and removing a few other features from Windows 10.

The Windows 10 April 2018 update is here with lots of great features, but as René Descartes famously said “every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

And so begins the end of HomeGroups, which was an attempt to simplify file sharing that turned out to be surprisingly complicated. Your current file and printer shares should keep working, but you won’t find any reference to HomeGroups in Windows after installing the latest update.

Here’s the official Microsoft post about the change:

When you update to Windows 10, version 1803, you won’t see HomeGroup in File Explorer, the Control Panel, or Troubleshoot (Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot). Any printers, files, and folders that you shared using HomeGroup will continue to be shared.

Here’s what HomeGroups was, if you’re curious. File sharing should largely work the same way after the update, but clearly we’ll have to update a few articles in the months to come.

And HomeGroup wasn’t all that was removed from Windows; here are a few more highlights:

  • All references to Groove Music Pass, Microsoft’s attempt at a Spotify alternative, have been removed from the Groove Music app.
  • Language section has been removed from the Control Panel, but you can use the Settings app instead (what a mess).
  • XPS Viewer will no longer be installed by default on new Windows 10 systems, but it will stay there if you simply upgrade. The XPS format was Microsoft’s attempt to supplant PDFs, but it never really worked out.

And here are a few things that aren’t being updated anymore, and might disappear from a future update:

  • Windows Help Viewer, which opened those .hlp files way back in the 90s. I honestly had no idea this still existed.
  • The features in Phone Companion have all been moved to the Settings app.

Again, you can check this article for the complete list of features Microsoft is removing, but those are the ones most people are likely to notice.

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Justin Pot has been writing about technology for over a decade, with work appearing in Digital Trends, The Next Web, Lifehacker, MakeUseOf, and the Zapier Blog. He also runs the Hillsboro Signal, a volunteer-driven local news outlet he founded.
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