When I was lot younger, I used to live in a big house with lots of open spaces, lawns and greenery in and around the home. There used to be plenty of fresh air back then. Not that there is no fresh air these days, but I feel kind of a difference in the air I breadth today than it used to be couple of decades or so ago. Today, we have a lot bigger home in terms of concrete and building materials with many vertical as well as horizontal expansions. It has become sort of like a condominium accommodating lot more family members than it used to be before.
There are at least 10 PCs or laptops used by individuals living here in our home and often there is a need to share files or pictures among us. Definitely you can do this using a pen drive or other removable media, but considering pen drives are often the root cause of spreading viruses, it would make more sense of having a Home Group Network among all PC users in our home – provided we all have Windows 7 running in our PCs. This type of homegroup setting is also very useful, if you have a home-office environment, let’s say in a multistoried place and you want the central PC that you use for work, with all the information and files stored in there, to be accessible from any corner of your home, using another PC or laptop connected to the homegroup.
What is a Home Group?
Homegroup creates a network environment by which one can share files including videos, pictures, music, documents and even a printer with other people in your home network. Depending on the kind of access you provide to your homegroup users, they will be able to view your shared files, copy or even modify them. You need a Windows 7 based PC of course, in which a homegroup needs to be created first, and then anyone can join this group and share files provided their PC’s also have chosen “Home” as their network location and running Windows 7. If a homegroup is already created by someone else, you can join in anytime to share your stuff. You can also make your homegroup password protected so that everyone cannot get in there, in case if you feel few people in your home aren’t worthy of getting a chance entering your home network.
How to Create a Home Network?
If you are all set to configure the homegroup with me in your Windows 7 PC, lets carry out the following steps;
1. Let’s go to the control panel first by clicking on your windows start menu and then clicking on control panel on the right hand side of the start menu. You will reach the screen as shown in image 1 below. Make sure the “view by” tab at the top right corner is set to “category”.
2. You will see several options in this screen, out of which you need to choose the “Network and Internet” option by clicking on it. Another screen will appear as shown in image 2. Here you would see “homegroup” option that you need to click.
3. Another screen will pop up at this stage as shown in image 3, if your homegroup is not configured already. On the other hand, if your homegroup is already configured, a different screen will appear which I will talk about later.
4. Click “create homepage” button as shown by the arrow key to proceed creating a homegroup. This action will bring another screen as shown by image 4 below.
5. On this screen of image 4, you will need to select what you want to share with your homegroup users and what not. Say for example if you don’t want to share the documents, just leave it unpicked as shown in the image above. Once you have decided on the elements to share, click “next” as shown by the arrow key. This will switch you over to the next screen as shown in image 5, displaying a password.
6. This password will be needed by other computers to be added to your homegroup. Just inform them to add their PCs to the homegroup you have just created using the password that was generated.
7. This covers the mandatory steps needed to make a homegroup created but we need to ensure your homegroup is properly configured. To check that out, go back to screen 2 following the procedure you already know and then click on “homegroup” again. Since you already have an existing homegroup created, it is now giving you a different screen than what you have got at this point before. Here you need to click on the “advanced sharing settings” tab to select the proper sharing settings. Another screen will pop up as shown in image 6.
8. Here you need to check the right options to make your homegroup accessible by all users. For example, by default you can see that the “network discovery” feature and the “file and print sharing” feature both are disabled at this point. We need to turn them on as shown in the image, in order for the sharing to flow through your home network you have just created. Once you have made the applicable changes, hit “save changes” at the bottom, to make the changes become effective.
This kind of feature like “homegroup” is increasingly becoming popular and very effective these days to aid PC users doing their home automation. You might as well find a great use of this technique, based on your home computing environment, once you have created one and figured out how to use it.