Creating a Home Network using Windows 7

Windows 7 gives you the ability to create a home network through which you can share resources among your home computers and devices. Home computers are normally assigned to the Home network location where such designation allows you to use HomeGroups. HomeGroups make it easier to share resources in environments where Active Directory does not exist. HomeGroups cannot be created on a domain network but you can join an existing one while you are part of a domain. For example, you could join a HomeGroup on your home network and at the same time connect to your work’s domain network through a VPN connection.

Only users with Administrative privileges can enable a HomeGroup while each standard user can choose to share resources with a HomeGroup.  If a HomeGroup already exists on your network then you need a password to be able to join the network. When you create a HomeGroup a password is generated however, you can reset this password as shown below:

From the Start search text box type in HomeGroup and press enter. Click the Change the password… item and on the dialog box, click Change the password. Leave the automated generated password or enter a new password and click Next. Remember, that your computer (network connection) must have IPv6 enabled to create or join a HomeGroup. Write down your password and click Finish.

To join the HomeGroup from another computer, open the HomeGroup item from the Network and Sharing Center and click Join now. The HomeGroup created earlier on should be detected and its details displayed. On the Join a Homegroup page, type in the password set in the previous steps and click Next. Finally, click Finish to exit the last page. If you haven’t shared any items on the Join a Homegroup page then you can do so by clicking the Choose what you want to share, and view the homegroup password.

Users do not need to be logged on for their HomeGroups to be available to other users on the network. Each user’s HomeGroup share is available as long as the computer is turned on and connected to the home network.  HomeGroups are visible as a separate node in Windows Explorer and Windows 7 displays them by user and computer names.  It is important to note that each user share his/her own resources and thus the shared resources by each individual user are shown under his/her name.

If you decide to leave the HomeGroup network you can open the HomeGroup item in the Network and Sharing Center and then click Leave.