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These days many households have more than one computer and to simplify the task of sharing files and printers over a home network, Microsoft has created a new interface in Windows 7 called HomeGroup, and this is where you're going to find the most common network based sharing tasks. So the first thing you need to do of course, is to set up your HomeGroup and that's what we're going to do right now. We do that by clicking the Windows Orb and then go up to Control panel and select it. Now we could go to Network and Internet and navigate through the options to find our HomeGroup options, but you'll notice we've got a quick link right below to choose homegroup and sharing options.
When we select this and if it's your first time, you'll see the same message I am seeing, There is currently no homegroup on the network. So there is nothing set up for us to connect to and we haven't set up our own at this point. Notice down below it explains what you can do with a HomeGroup, exactly what we need to do, we want to share some files, we want to be able to share printers between the various computers, laptops etc, that will be connected to this HomeGroup. So before we can get into learning more about HomeGroups and changing advanced options and starting the troubleshooter, we need to create a HomeGroup.
So we'll click the Create a homegroup button, and then we'll decide what it is we want to be able to share. You may have noticed in your own User account, when you go to your Documents, you also have a public version of the documents, public version of pictures and music. Well, if you have these checked off, those folders will be shared. The contents of those folders are determined by the folder name. So we'll see pictures or photos in the Pictures folder and we'll see music files in the Music folder. We can also include our documents and if you've got everything selected, you are going to be able to share just about everything on your computer amongst those other computers on the network.
So select whatever you want and then click the Next button. Now it's going to take a moment, but before you can access files and printers located on other computers, we have to add those computers to the HomeGroup. So you would have on that other computer or laptop in your household, if you've got Windows 7, you will be able to go in and connect to the HomeGroup and this is the password that you'll need to use. So you might want to write it down or print it out. You can choose Print password and instructions. It will tell you exactly what to do.
I am just going to click this link, so we can take a peak. So we go to that other computer that's running Windows 7, click Start and Control panel, under Network and Internet, just like we saw, we have that link. Choose homegroup and sharing options and then in that case, we would join now and we would use the password that we see here to connect to the HomeGroup, as simple as that. The Print this page button allows you to send it to your printer so you can take it to that other computer. I am going to click Cancel and Finish. So when I do that I've actually setup the HomeGroup, it's set up on this computer, other computers can join and you can see everything is being shared here.
Of course, I can make changes at any time, if I really don't want to share my documents, we can deselect that, of course, anytime you make changes you need to save them by clicking Save changes and it takes you back out here. You want to make some further changes? Go back to Choose homegroup and sharing options and down below, notice you also have the ability to share media with devices. So if you wanted to stream pictures, music and videos to all of the other devices on your home network, select this check-box, and of course you'll need to save those changes as well.
Just before we do that though, we have some other homegroup actions down below, View or print the homegroup password, so if you forgot it, you lost that paper you printed out, you can always come back here, there it is again with the instructions and you can print that page. I am going to click Cancel. You can also change the password, the password that's given to you can be difficult to remember, click Change the password and then choose Change the password again and type over what's there. I am going to type the word password just to make it simple. It's a little bit dangerous.
You will want something that's a little bit more difficult to decipher, but I am going to click Next and that will change the password for my HomeGroup. It will tell me I can write it down in case I am going forget, I won't forget that one, so when I click Finish I come back to the HomeGroup screen. Now if I have any issues with HomeGroup there is a troubleshooter, we'll talk about that a little bit later. Right now, all we need to do is click Cancel and we have our HomeGroup. So that means, of course, that I would take that password, which I just changed to the word password and I'll go to any of my other computers running Windows 7 and be able to join with that password.
So sharing your documents, media files, even your printers on a home network, just got a whole lot easier with Windows 7 HomeGroup.
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