HomeGroup in Windows makes it easy to share files and printers on your home network. You can share pictures, music, videos, documents and printers with other people in your home group. As a security measure, other people cannot modify the files you share unless you give them permission to do so.
When you set up a Windows computer, a homegroup is automatically created if it is not already on your home network. I am assuming you already have a homegroup on one of your windows computers. If a homegroup already exists, you can join it, and that will be your only option.
The only problem is that the original computer no longer exists and you no longer have a password to join the homegroup. If you have another computer that is already joined to this homegroup, you can view the password by following the instructions below. If not, I’ll explain how to create a new homegroup to replace the old homegroup.
Manage the current HomeGroup
To connect a second or third computer to a homegroup, go to the first computer’s control panel, then click Homegroup:
You can prevent sharing of certain files or folders, and later you can share additional libraries. You can also make your computer act as a DNLA server by checking the box next to Send my pictures, music, and videos to all devices on my home network. You can protect your homegroup with a password, which can be changed at any time.
Click View or print your homegroup password to view the password:
A password will appear. You can print it and distribute it to other people in your home group.
On another Windows computer, choose Control Panel HomeGroup and click Join Now.
Create a new homegroup
If you cannot access the password for the original homegroup that was created on your network, you will need to create a new homegroup. Note that this is possible in Windows 7. If you are using Windows 8 or Windows 10, there is literally no easy way to create a new homegroup.
So, if you’re stuck in this situation where you don’t know the homegroup password and all of your computers are running Windows 8 or 10, you will have to somehow connect your Windows 7 computer to your network in order to create a new homegroup. Once it is created and another computer is connected to it, you can remove the Windows 7 computer and the homegroup will continue to work fine.
The only other possible solution I’ve read about is to leave the homegroup from all of your computers and shut down all but one of them. Then restart the last computer and open the homegroup dialog. If you’re lucky, you might see the “Create Homegroup” option in Windows 10. Re-verify that all other computers on the network are turned off.
To create a new homegroup in Windows 7, go to Control Panel, then to Network and Sharing Center.
In the View Active Networks section, click Home Network under its name. A pop-up dialog box will open where you can choose from several options. You want to change your network location to Public.
Now click on Public Network and return it to Home Network. Once you’ve done that, the Create Home Group dialog box should appear.
You need to act very quickly here, because if you wait more than a few seconds, Windows will detect the original homegroup and tell you that it cannot create a new homegroup because it already exists. If you quickly click Next, you can create a new homegroup that will replace the existing homegroup.
Now, to see computers and shared files, just go into explorer and you will see the Homegroup option listed.
The homegroup concept makes it easy to share files across small home networks. In older versions of Windows, such as 2000 and XP, users had to provide a username and password for another computer, or map a network drive to access shared content or devices.
If you’re having any problems with Homegroup, read my complete troubleshooting guide for Windows Homegroups. If you are still using Windows XP, you can read my post on how to connect your XP computer to your Windows homegroup. Also, if you created a homegroup using Windows 7, you can still connect your Windows 8 or Windows 10 computer to this Windows 7 homegroup.If you just need to share files between computers, read my article on the many ways that is probably better than using home groups. Enjoy!