HomeGroup from start to finish

Windows 10

What's a homegroup?

A homegroup is a group of PCs on a home network that can share files and printers. Using a homegroup makes sharing easier. You can share pictures, music, videos, documents, and printers with other people in your homegroup.

You can help protect your homegroup with a password, which you can change at any time. Other people can't change the files that you share unless you give them permission to do so.

After you create or join a homegroup, you select the libraries (for example, My Pictures or My Documents) that you want to share. You can prevent specific files or folders from being shared, and you can share additional libraries later.

HomeGroup is available in Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows 7. You can join a homegroup on a PC running Windows RT 8.1, but you can't create a homegroup or share content with the homegroup. In Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic, you can join a homegroup, but you can’t create one.

Create a homegroup

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then selecting HomeGroup.
  2. Select Create a homegroup > Next.
  3. Select the libraries and devices you want to share with the homegroup, and then select Next.
  4. A password will appear—print it or write it down. You’ll need this password to add other PCs to your homegroup.
  5. Select Finish.

After you create a homegroup, other PCs running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, or Windows 7 on your network can join it.

Add your other PCs to the homegroup

After someone on your network creates a homegroup, the next step is to join it. You'll need the homegroup password, which you can get from any homegroup member. All user accounts except the Guest account will belong to the homegroup. Each person controls access to his or her own libraries.

To join a homegroup, follow these steps on the PC that you want to add to the homegroup:

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then selecting HomeGroup.
  2. Select Join now > Next.
  3. Select the libraries and devices you want to share with the homegroup, and then select Next.
  4. Type the homegroup password in the box, and then select Next.
  5. Select Finish.

Find homegroup files

PCs that belong to your homegroup will appear in File Explorer.

To get to shared libraries on other homegroup PCs

  1. Open File Explorer, by typing file explorer in the search box in the taskbar, and then selecting File Explorer.
  2. Under Homegroup, select the user account name of the person whose libraries you want to get to.
  3. In the file list, double-tap or double-click the library you want to get to, and then double-tap or double-click the file or folder you want.

Share libraries and devices, or stop sharing them

When you create or join a homegroup, you select the libraries and devices you want to share with other people in the homegroup. Libraries are initially shared with Read access, which means that other people can look at or listen to what's in the library, but they can't change the files in it. You can adjust the level of access at any time, and you can exclude specific files and folders from sharing.

Only those people who belong to the homegroup can see shared libraries and devices. You can choose to share libraries, devices, or individual files and folders with specific people in your homegroup or with everyone.

To share devices and entire libraries

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then select HomeGroup.
  2. Select Change what you’re sharing with the homegroup.
  3. Select the libraries and devices you want to share with homegroup, and then select Next > Finish.

To share individual files or folders

  1. Open File Explorer by typing file explorer in the search box in the taskbar, and then selecting File Explorer.
  2. Select the item, and then select the Share tab.
  3. Choose an option in the Share with group. There are different Share with options depending on whether your PC is connected to a network and what kind of network it is.
    • To share items with a particular person, choose that person's account.
    • To share with all the members of your homegroup, choose one of the Homegroup options. (Select libraries to share with all the members of your homegroup by opening HomeGroup.)
    • To prevent a file or folder from being shared with anyone, select the Share tab, and then select Stop sharing.
    • To change the level of access to a file or folder, select the Share tab, and then select either Homegroup (view) or Homegroup (view and edit).
    • If you need to share a location such as a drive or system folder, select the Advanced sharing option.

Share a printer

Printers that are connected with a USB cable can be shared with a homegroup. After the printer is shared, you can get to it through the Print dialog box in any program, just like a printer that's directly connected to your PC.

To share or stop sharing your printer with the homegroup

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then select HomeGroup.
  2. Select Change what you’re sharing with the homegroup.
  3. Next to Printers & Devices, select Shared or Not shared (this will be set to Shared by default).
  4. Select Next > Finish.

To print to a homegroup printer

Open the Print menu of the app you want to print from (like Microsoft Word), select the homegroup printer, and then select Print.

Change homegroup settings if needed

At any time after you set up your homegroup, you can change settings by following these steps:

  1. Open HomeGroup by typing homegroup in the search box on the taskbar, and then select HomeGroup.
  2. Select the settings you want.

These are the settings you can change:

Setting Description
Change what you’re sharing with the homegroup Select the libraries, printers, and devices you want to share with your homegroup.
Allow all devices on this network such as TVs and game consoles to play my shared content

Use this setting to share content with all devices on your network. For example, you can share pictures with a digital picture frame, or share music with a network media player.


View or print the homegroup password View the password for your homegroup. If someone else wants to join the homegroup, give them this password.
Change the password Change your homegroup password. All other PCs in your homegroup will need to type in the new password you generate.
Leave the homegroup Leave your homegroup. You can't delete a homegroup, but if everyone leaves the homegroup it will be gone. You can then set up a new homegroup if you'd like.
Change advanced sharing settings Change network discovery, file and printer sharing, HomeGroup connection, and advanced security options.
Start the HomeGroup troubleshooter Troubleshoot homegroup problems.
Properties

Article ID: 17145 - Last Review: Aug 31, 2016 - Revision: 26

Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, Windows 7

Feedback