Once you have connected your computers to the HomeGroup, you can now set up those computers to share folders, files, printers and media with each other. If you haven’t set up your HomeGroup network, see my article published in the Transcript-Bulletin newspaper on July 25, 2013.
First, go to the Host computer and click to open the Control Panel, then click “HomeGroup.” Here you will give permissions to access the folders and files in your libraries. Whether you are using Windows 8 or Windows 7, click “Change advanced sharing settings.” Under both “Private” and “Guest or Public” select “Turn on network discovery” and checkmark “Turn on automatic setup of network connected devices.” Also below, select “Turn on file and printer sharing.” And lastly, select “Allow Windows to manage network connections (recommended).”
Under “All networks” select “Turn on sharing so that anyone with network access can read and write files in the Public folders.”
Next, click “Choose media streaming options.” Here you can choose to share media for each computer that is connected to your network. Select either “Allow” or “Block,” depending on your desires, then click “Next” below. Select the libraries, folders and printers you want to share using the drop-down boxes, then click “Next” once you have made your selections. Click “Finish” after your HomeGroup password is displayed.
Finally, click “Save changes” to complete this part of setup and you can close the window by clicking the “X” in the top-right corner. If you want to share files, folders and printers from other computers on your network, do these steps for each one.
To view the contents of the folders and files, open up File Explorer in Windows 8, or Windows Explorer in Windows 7, by clicking the yellow folder located on the Start screen, or in the Taskbar. If the Windows Explorer is not visible in Windows 7, click the “Start” button, click “All Programs,” click “Accessories” then scroll down and click “Windows Explorer” to open.
In the left-side panel, at the bottom, click “Network” to expand the folder and you should be able to see the names of all the computers that are connected to your HomeGroup. You can navigate throughout the libraries, folders and files on each computer that is connected to your network.
As for printing, you may need your printer installation disk to install the drivers. Once you try printing a document, if it prompts you to install the drivers, select “Install drivers,” and if you are prompted to insert your disk, go ahead and do so. You may not need your installation disk if it can find the drivers on the “Windows Updates” website. Once the drivers are installed, you should be able to use the printer.
If you have any troubles with the sharing options, you can go back to the Control Panel, click “HomeGroup,” then click “Start the HomeGroup troubleshooter.” Click “Next” and it will scan for issues and problems that may need to be corrected.” Once completed, click “Finish” to close the troubleshooter window.
Scott Lindsay actively promotes learning the computer, regardless of age, to better one’s life and circumstances and has helped thousands of people over the past 12 years to become better computer users. He can be reached at Scott@MicroScottPro.com.