How to replace Windows HomeGroup

How to replace Windows HomeGroup

With each new version of Windows 10, Microsoft will remove some features. In the Fall Creators Update, the two programs that were “terminated” were Paint and Syskey. With the next major Windows 10 update, which will be released in the spring of 2018, users will no longer have access to the HomeGroup service. This article will show how HomeGroup works, why it “disappeared” in the next Windows 10 update, and how to replace this HomeGroup service.

What is HomeGroup?

Windows HomeGroup allows users to connect devices on the network and share files between them. You can open it by searching HomeGroup in the menu Start. In HomeGroup, users can select a folder to share with other computers to join the group. Pictures, Videos, Music and Printers & Devices are shared by default, but Documents not shared. In addition, you can also turn on devices on the home network, such as smart TVs and game consoles, to access shared content from a computer.

Select the sharing device via HomeGroup

When creating a HomeGroup, Windows will provide users with a password. To add a new computer to the group, you need to enter this password. When adding additional PCs, they can access any content in your shared folder.

This allows users to share files with families without having to copy and paste them onto multiple machines. In addition, shared devices and printers make it easier to install drivers for new devices. Note, users can only have one HomeGroup per network.

Origin of HomeGroup: Simple File Sharing

The HomeGroup feature was launched in 2009 with the release of Windows 7. However, it was started in 2001 with Windows XP.

Windows XP includes a feature called Simple File Sharing. This feature allows users to right-click on any folder and choose to share it with others on your network, optionally giving them access to the changed files in it.

Many people think Simple File Sharing is complicated, but it is not. You can share any folder and use checkboxes to control who can see it.

Simple File Sharing feature

However there is a big problem with it. When sharing a folder on the network, you will share it with everyone, including unauthorized users connected to your network without your knowledge. They simply need to authenticate with the shared folder as a “guest” and if they allow network users to change files, they can do whatever they want with it.

Obviously, this is an insecure system. In fact, you can even share the root directory of your Windows drive, allowing anyone on the network to access any file on the system.

Simple File Sharing developed in HomeGroup

Surprisingly, Windows Vista didn’t make file sharing worse. It provides a lot of control so that users can decide who has access to specific directories. In 2009, Windows 7 witnessed the first HomeGroup deployment.

Microsoft has created HomeGroup so that new users have an easy way to share folders on their network. The modern NTFS file system that Windows uses has its own sharing rights and permissions, but it’s not “friendly” for beginners. In fact, they often cause problems when users suddenly see notifications Access Denied.

But HomeGroup makes sharing folders online relatively simple, takes only a few minutes to set up, and it doesn’t contain many confusing licensing options. Using a password can fix Simple File Sharing issues so that only authorized users can join HomeGroup.

While in the HomeGroup, you have control over shared folders such as allowing access to the entire HomeGroup or just another account.

HomeGroup feature

Why did Microsoft remove HomeGroup?

Like many Windows tools, HomeGroup will disappear because it is no longer needed. 2009 is a pre-cloud period, so having HomeGroup is very handy. But now, we have other ways that can replace what HomeGroup used to do.

OneDrive (or other cloud storage application like Dropbox or Google Drive) allows users to synchronize files between computers and easily share with friends. File Explorer now has a button Share Allows the file to be sent via an installed application, such as a messenger.

Share button on File Exploer

Microsoft also mentioned that “users can now connect via the Microsoft account email address on the device” to connect to another computer. Perhaps this feature refers to signing in with your Microsoft account on a new device and sharing some information automatically. For example, the Windows 10 Mail app will sync your email with a new device.

In addition, HomeGroup is a limited solution. It only works with Windows 7 and newer and doesn’t support macOS or Linux. So it’s only really useful if you have a “full house” of Windows computers.

Replace HomeGroup

We didn’t imagine that so many people would be sad to see the HomeGroup feature go away. However, if you depend on it, you have other alternatives that allow you to replicate HomeGroup functions and much more.

File sharing: OneDrive

Microsoft OneDrive will cover all your file sharing needs. It’s easy to set up a shared folder with everyone so you can share exactly the files you want to share. Plus, you can access them from anywhere, not just the server.

It is already built into Windows 10 and users can install it on Windows 7 or Mac systems. In addition, OneDrive’s mobile and web access apps ensure you always have access to your files.

Share printer

If you use HomeGroup to share a printer, the good news is that there are many easy ways to share the printer over the network. Most printers released in the past few years have a network connection, meaning that if they are installed wirelessly, any device in the house can print. It does not even require the user to turn on the “host” computer.

Starting with the Spring 2018 update of Windows 10, HomeGroup will no longer be used. It will remain in older versions of Windows 10 and Windows 7/8, so this only affects people in the current Windows 10 branch. However, you can remove HomeGroup on those versions of Windows if you hate it. For the majority of users, OneDrive will handle users’ local file sharing needs.

See more:

  • Instructions for setting up and managing HomeGroup on Windows 10
  • Delete Homegroup icon on Windows 8 Desktop screen
  • How to share a printer between Windows 7 computers that are not in the Homegroup?


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