Windows 7 Networking: Using HomeGroups
Last Updated: 09-01-2010 , Posted: 12-11-2009
With Windows 7's new HomeGroups feature, you'll be able to share files safely and securely.
Each new version of Windows made sharing resources on a home network a bit easier than the one that preceded it. Vista, for example, makes it relatively simple to share files stored in the Public Folder across a network. On the other hand, sharing standard folders — or those inside an individual user's account folder — in Vista still requires the rather cumbersome task of configuring specific folder and account permissions.
Creating a HomeGroup in Windows 7
Whenever you connect a Windows 7 system to a new network, you're asked to specify whether the network location is Home, Work, or Public. If you choose Home — you can't use HomeGroups on Work or Public networks — Windows 7 will automatically start a wizard allowing to you create a new HomeGroup. The HomeGroup wizard will allow to share the contents of the four pre-configured Windows 7 libraries — Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos, as well as any printers attached to the system. (The Documents library — which is most likely to contain sensitive info — is the only item that isn't automatically selected by default.)
Note: For those unfamiliar, libraries in Windows 7 are basically collections of related folders that are stored in different locations. The four pre-configured libraries consist of the user's folder and the public folder — the Documents library, for example, encompasses both the user's My Documents folder and the Public Documents folder.
After you've chosen what to share with your HomeGroup, you'll be shown the HomeGroup's password; for optimal security, it's ten characters, alphanumeric and mixed-case. You'll need this password (which you can print for convenience) to join additional Windows 7 systems to the HomeGroup.
|Key Terms To Understanding HomeGroups:
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