|CREATE A WIRELESS HOMEGROUP NETWORK|
In this section I will show you how to create a wireless Homegroup network - A password protected User Group wireless network, basically, that allows you
to connect computers on the same network (such as computers in your house or office) whereby they can share files over that passworded network. Although
I am using a wireless network for this example it also applies to a wired, ethernet cabled, network - The wireless part is not important here; belonging
to the same network (wired or wireless) is what matters.
In this example I have purposely switched off the network settings inside the ADVANCED SHARING SETTINGS Control Panel (Fig 1.1) in order to show you how to set up the whole network from scratch. So to begin this example I will show you what network settings are switched off - This does not mean you have to switch these network settings off.....but just in case you have!!
So to clarify. My Fujitsu Siemens Laptop (Master Computer) is currently connected to the internet as normal via my broadband modem/router and the network settings inside the ADVANCED SHARING SETTINGS Control Panel are switched off. These are the network settings to do with Network, File and Printer Sharing and nothing really to do with the broadband internet connection. My Packard Bell Netbook, which will log-on to (join) the network later in order to share files, is currently switched off.
Begin by going to the Control Panel and clicking on the NETWORK AND SHARING CENTER link to bring up the Network And Sharing Center window (control panel). When that window appears look towards its top-left corner and click on the link called CHANGE ADVANCED SHARING SETTINGS (below). Doing so will then take you to the Advanced Sharing Settings window (control panel) where the settings in Fig 1.1 are kept.
Note the above settings. As said, it does not matter if some of your network settings are switched on or off as I just want you to be familiar with the
network settings; some of which I will be explaining later. Saying this; to follow this lesson to its fullest you should switch off all of the network
settings, but only if you feel secure in doing so.
Regardless of the above network settings, you now need to go back to the Network And Sharing Center window (control panel) in order to then click on its HOMEGROUP link; located towards the bottom-left corner of the window (Fig 1.2 below). You can go back simply by clicking on the main control panel window's BACK button or by clicking on the NETWORK AND SHARING CENTER path name (inside the URL space).
Before you click on the HOMEGROUP link, look at the above screenshot. Take notice of the heading called HomeGroup (towards the top-right). It states that the homegroup is READY TO CREATE, as opposed to JOINED. JOINED would mean this computer was already joined (logged-on/connected) to another network. As it is now this computer needs to create a homegroup, as one hasn't been created for it yet. Hence, that is what you will be doing next; creating a new homegroup.
To create a homegroup, now that the network settings have been noted and preferably switched off, click on the HOMEGROUP link (Fig 1.2 above) to open the HOMEGROUP Control Panel (window) (Fig 1.3 below). From there, click on the CREATE A HOMEGROUP button to continue.
After clicking on the CREATE A HOMEGROUP button (Fig 1.3 above) you are then asked to select the folders you want to share with other computers in the HomeGroup; Namely: PICTURES, MUSIC, VIDEOS, DOCUMENTS and PRINTERS. So do exactly that - Select (tick) the folders you want to share, and untick (deselect) the folders you do not want to share, before clicking on the NEXT button to continue.
Clicking on the NEXT button (Fig 1.4 above) generates a unique password for your newly created HomeGroup (above). Simply write down that password and then click on the FINISH button to continue with the rest of the network settings and file sharing options, now that the homegroup itself has been created.
With the HomeGroup now created, the HOMEGROUP Control Panel (window) changes to the view above whereby you then have links available for changing network settings, viewing the homegroup password, leaving (deleting) the homegroup and so on. In this example though you now need to click on the link called CHANGE ADVANCED SHARING SETTINGS to take you back to the Change Advanced Sharing Settings window (control panel).
Although the homegroup (user group network) is active other computers (users) will not be able to see it until they have joined it (logged-on to it), but they cannot do that until their TURN ON NETWORK DISCOVERY setting has been switched on; along with other network settings for sharing. And the same applies to your master computer, the one that created the homegroup above. So the next step is to switch on most of the networks settings, as described below.
TURN ON NETWORK DISCOVERY
Switch this setting on in order to see other computers on the same network (members of the same homegroup), and more importantly to allow other computers on the same network to see your master computer (the computer that created the homegroup).
TURN ON FILE AND PRINTER SHARING
Switch this setting on in order for other computers on the same network (members of the same homegroup) to see files and printers you have allowed to be shared. The shared files in question come from the shared folders you set up when creating the homegroup (Fig 1.4 above). Namely: PICTURES, MUSIC, VIDEOS, DOCUMENTS and PRINTERS.
TURN ON SHARING.....
This third setting allows other computers on the same network (members of the same homegroup) to see the content of your Public folders. Public folders
are standard Windows 7 folders within your USER folder. Namely: PUBLIC DOCUMENTS, PUBLIC DOWNLOADS, PUBLIC MUSIC, PUBLIC PICTURES, PUBLIC VIDEOS and
Public folders are not the same as the files and printers you may be sharing. In other words, if you switch off this third setting (Public folders) other computers on the homegroup (network) will still be able to view the content of your shared files and printers, but not the content of your Public folders.
As you scroll down the Advanced Sharing Settings window (control panel) you will see more settings to do with the homegroup (above). These are standard
settings that can be left alone, in which case you can continue by clicking on the SAVE CHANGES button to save the changes you made above (i.e. switching
on the TURN ON NETWORK DISCOVERY setting and so on). Many of the remaining settings are self-explanatory.
On the flip side of the just said; If you expand the settings on the Advanced Sharing Settings window (control panel) to reveal the PUBLIC (Public folders) settings, denoted by my red line in Fig 1.1 above, make sure the first three sharing settings are switched on if you want to make your Public folders sharable.
Don't worry too much about the MEDIA STREAMING setting, which I have purposely ignored, because it is more to do with streaming audio/video from a device (i.e. home entertainment equipment) and nothing to do with your homegroup in terms of sharing files and printers in an office enviroment for example. Also, this is not a secure method of streaming.
|JOIN A WIRELESS HOMEGROUP NETWORK|
Now that the homegroup has been created and you have switched on the necessary file and printer sharing settings on, the next thing to do is switch on
your second computer. In this example my HP Netbook called YoingcoNB.
When you have switched it on; Go to the Control Panel and click on the NETWORK AND SHARING CENTER link to bring up the Network And Sharing Center window (control panel), just as you did above for your master computer. From there, look towards the top-right of the window and you should see a link called AVAILABLE TO JOIN. Click on it to continue.
The next step acknowledges the homegroup you have set up, in this example the homegroup I set up on my master (fujitsu siemens) computer called Yoingco-PC. To proceed simply click on the JOIN NOW button to join the homegroup (network) and then follow the other easy steps, which are the same as the above steps.
As you can see; the above steps are easy. The only one worth mentioning is the step involving the selection of files and printers to share (Fig 2.2). It
is asking you which folders on this second computer you want to share with the master computer, and any other computers on the homegroup.
You could set up your master computer to share all of its folders for example (Fig 1.4 above) while this second computer only shares its DOCUMENTS folder, but in this particular example I have chosen to have both computers sharing all of their folders and printers. Anyway, with the above done you now have a homegroup set up whereby each computer can see the others sharable folders, files and printers.
|ACCESS A WIRELESS HOMEGROUP NETWORK|
To access the sharable folders, files and printers on a particular computer simply open up any folder (i.e. LIBRARIES, C: Drive or MUSIC) and then click on its NETWORK link (inside its Folder Pane). This will identify which computers in your homegroup are switched on and accessible. So from there simply navigate through the network folder views, as you would a normal folder, in order to find the file you are looking for.
In the above example I am on my master computer and have navigated through the sharable folders on my second computer in order to view the Microsoft Word
document called Homegroup_Setup_Successful.docx. If you look at the path name it states: YoingcoNB >> Users >> John >> Documents. Hence, you know the
homegroup was set up successfully.
When no computers are connected to the homegroup, for whatever reason(s), you will see the following message.
I will leave you to investigate your homegroup, such as how to find your printers and so on (Clue: just navigate!!). Don't think networking and homegroups are difficult whereby you need to call out an expensive IT Engineer. As you can see; Windows 7 has done an excellent job of allowing the standard user to create a homegroup (network) with ease.
Microsoft product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Microsoft Corporation. As stated here by the Microsoft Corporation.