Network vs Homegroup

By lopdog
Dec 9, 2009
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  1. I recently installed Windows 7 on my home computers, and now I'm curious about the difference between normal file/printer sharing and the new Homegroup option.
    Could someone please explain a little about the differences? Thanks.
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,246   +213

    I don't know for sure, but I think it has to do with what network you are on. For example, say you are sharing, without password, on your laptop. This is fine for your home network, but if you go somewhere with wifi, now you are sharing those files out to everyone on that network. With Homegroup Windows won't show your shared files to those people.
  3. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,487   +73

    Simulates a file/Media/Print server manager (almost like having Windows Server 2008 Standard) on your network. But there is one issue using this feature. If you assign a printer to your system from a print server the Homegoup will then add that printer link from computer A to computer B to computer C an etc.. There is a way to correct that problem happening. Since if computer A is not active or turned off the rest of the homegroup PCs can't use that printer until computer A is turned back on. This drove me nuts. You can't trick Windows 7 like you can do with XP to add printers that are connected to print server. But I've solved that problem. Now the Homegroup works normally. You can share your docs, video, music and pictures on the homegroup. You need to create another password for your homegroup so that only the PCs in your network can connect to it. Under Networks you would see all the Homegroup PCs Media icons there is a Homegroup link if it doesn't show-up in the start menu you need to right click on the task bar then on properties to add that feature under customize.
  4. lopdog

    lopdog TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 378

    The homegroup looks like an easy (and somewhat limited) way to share files and printers. It works great as long as all the computers are running Win7, and all you only need to share files from your documents-, videos-, music- and pictures-folders.
    Btw, does anyone know if it would be possible to access the homegroup from an XP-computer? (just curious).
    @tipstir: Thanks for the tips, I don't use a print server, but if I ever get one I'll remember what you said, I wouldn't have thought of that myself.
  5. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,487   +73

    Any folder you have on another PC running Windows 7 can be homegroup -shared out. Read or Read/Write. Right click on the folder you'll see Homegroup share on the menu drop down then select what you want the users on your network to have access too. Very easy to apply. The old way you would share out then add permission to that folder. On a domain in Active Directory you can add users profiles to those shares folders. This is how it's done in Enterprise Domain. If you want to limit access to users with Homegroup that can be done but you might also block out everyone on the network also. So you got to be very careful in what your doing. When you click on the homegroup then on the Computer Name you assigned for your PC you'll see all the folders listed that are shared out on that PC. The default Docs, Video, Music, and Pictures can be re-directed to one single PC to act as the main homegroup server. This is what I do now instead of running Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition SP2 with all these Windows 7 clients about 9 now. Still I got WHS from MS to try out, I also have Windows Server 2008 to manage all the Windows 7 systems on the network here. I want to see how it goes with Windows 7 client acting as the main homegroup server. Still so far so good. I see some glitches with my WebServer by XServer which I might go back to KFServer.

    Windows XP shared folders will only appear in Network folder. Homegroup is secured system for your Windows 7 group. So you have to groups Workgroup (Windows XP, Windows Vista) then Homegroup (Windows 7) still you can see every system under Workgroup under network still.
  6. lopdog

    lopdog TechSpot Maniac Topic Starter Posts: 378

    You're right, I found that share-option right after posting here. Works great. I guess I'll just use Homegroup as long as I can, and Workgroup when I have to access the network from another computer. Thanks
  7. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,487   +73

    You know you can run both Workgroup and Homegroup Networks in real-time.

    I just added Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition SP2 manages my media and file share which now supports Windows 7 homegroup directories and Windows Search 4.0x Or in your case if you have a large workgroup you can use WHS (Windows Home Server on old PC or new) Power Back 3 that supports Windows 7 now. This is optional.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,011   +219

    New feature for win/7 is proper support for dual NICs, which allows the Workgroup to be on one and Homegroup on the other :) Vista & XP could not properly filter dual NICs.
  9. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,487   +73

    Yes your correct dual NIC or Multi-Network feature can be access. On a wireless laptop with internal G and external N adapter you could run both at the same time on the same network. The homegroup and workgroup networks work hand and hand to be able to access shared media folders or file shares from homegroup systems or from prior OS like Vista/XP. There are some glitches though, like with the new Windows 7 firewall and the main share homegroup server if you rather have one PC running Windows 7 and that PC is your main homegroup server. You might not be able to connect to that system when you do a reboot or a new login. Best to map one network drive from that system onto your Windows 7 homegoups for workgroup networks to be shown without the need to keep on login to them.
  10. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,011   +219

    The firewall filtering can be by adaptor or ip subnet (depending upon the implementation),
    but that's only viable *IF* the connection can be made.
    Historically however, the firewall was a secondary issue for mixed mode (G+N) on the same adapter. Frequently the only solution (especially when using WPA2) was to force G-Only mode.
  11. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 4,487   +73

    Well I was saying if the internal wireless NIC was G only and then you had either USB, PCMICA or Express 802.11n card you can have both the internal 802.11g and the external 802.11n active and running at the same time. Almost like a fallback if the 802.11g signal got weak then the 802.11n would take over. I use 802.11n AP and 802.11g AP here. On 802.11g only wireless laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate that's okay The one with both 802.11g onboard and 802.11n external you can see how the network discovery map for wireless connections to both 802.11g AP and 802.11n AP at the same time creating a multi-network instead of normal signal network.

    All systems 802.11g and 802.11n run WPA2 AES here.
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