Windows 8 Homegroups

Homegroups are a feature introduced in Windows 7 and carried over to Windows 8 that simplify setting up a home network and sharing resources on the network. When you set up a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer, Windows creates a homegroup automatically if one doesn’t already exist and generates a network password for the homegroup. With that network password, other Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers on the network can join the homegroup, and users on those computers can access resources that are shared by other computers in the homegroup.

Computers must be running Windows 7 or Windows 8 to participate in a homegroup, and support for homegroups is included in all editions of Windows 7 and Windows 8. However, Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic can participate in a homegroup but cannot create one.

Finding or changing the homegroup password

If Windows 8 doesn’t find an existing homegroup, it creates one. From that point on, you can add other Windows 7 or Windows 8 computers to that existing homegroup. All you need is the homegroup password, which Windows creates automatically when it creates the homegroup.

If you don’t already know the homegroup password, open the Control Panel and under Network And Internet, click Choose Homegroup And Sharing Options. In the Homegroup applet, click View And Print Your Homegroup Password. A dialog box opens (see Figure 50.7) and displays the password. Click Print This Page if you need a printed copy.

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