However, homegroup can be created if it is not there. It becomes very easy if all computers from homegroup are running on Windows7. But what if computers in homegroup or on home network are using different versions of Windows? Absolutely no need to worry! Windows do offer solution for it. You just have to follow guidelines according to the respective case.

All home network computers work with Windows7

File sharing becomes very straightforward with Windows7 as you just need to create homegroup. In homegroup, computers share music, documents, pictures, videos and printers too. By means of password, homegroup can be protected in order to share documents of your choice. When all computers from home network are working with Windows7, method of homegroup is always preferred. Every edition of Windows7 like, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate, support ‘Homegroup’. However, in case of Windows7 Home Basic and Starter, users can join homegroup but cannot create one.

Computers from home network operate on different versions of Windows

If your home network has computers that don’t work with one operating system, you have to put them in one workgroup. You have to fine-tune your network in order to enable computers to locate each other. This step is essential for the file sharing. Presence of Windows XP computers on home network makes the requirement of same workgroup name obligatory. Computers with different versions of Windows can find and work with one another. You must note that workgroup name, which is set by default, is not equivalent in every version of Windows.

How to change workgroup name in Windows XP?

  • First right-click ‘My Computer’ by clicking on ‘Start’. Select ‘Properties’ subsequently.
  • After this, under ‘Computer Name’ you can see workgroup name. Click on ‘Change’ in order to change workgroup name, and click ‘Ok’ after typing appropriate name in ‘Computer Name’.
    How to change workgroup name in Windows7 or Windows Vista?
  • First right click on ‘Computer’ after clicking on ‘Start’. After this, go to ‘Properties’.
  • Under the title ‘Computer name, domain and workgroup settings’, you can see workgroup name. Click on ‘Change settings’ subsequently.
    In new window of ‘System Properties’, you must click on ‘Change’ under ‘Computer Name’.
  • Under ‘Computer Name/Domain Changes’, you will see ‘Workgroup’ in which you have to type required name. Click ‘Ok’ when you are finished with it. After this alteration, you must restart your computer.

Selection of network location
In case of Windows7 or Windows Vista, you must check the network location. In Windows, setting and security are automatically adjusted as per the network location of computer such as Home, Work, Public, and Domain.

  • In ‘Home’, network is protected at few levels by Internet. This network includes only trusted computers. Home network is one of this types that support ‘Homegroup’.
  • In ‘Work’, network is protected as it is in ‘Home’. Like ‘Home’, it also contains known computers. Business networks are mostly categorized in this type.
  • In ‘Public’, network is freely available as its name suggests. In public places like airport, coffee shops, public Internet access networks are used.
  • In ‘Domain’, network has Active Directory domain controller. It cannot be set by any options, and requires domain administrator for it. Networks used at workplace are of this type.

In order to check your network location, go to the ‘Control Panel’ by clicking on ‘Start’. After this, you can search for ‘Network and Sharing Center’ by typing ‘network’ in search box. In ‘Network and Sharing Centre’, you will see network name for your computer. If it is ‘Public’ then click on ‘Public network’ to select network location of your choice.

Does your firewall allow file and printer sharing?

For file and printer sharing, you must check if your firewall supports sharing. In case of Windows Firewall, there is no need to worry as it opens correct ports as soon as you share file or other documents. Use of another firewall forces you to open these ports yourself for sharing. Opening of these ports helps your computer to detect computer with printer or files that you wish to share.

TCP 5358
Other options for file and printer sharing:
There are some supplementary options like, Network Discovery, Public folder sharing, File sharing, to reduce efforts of sharing. These options can be turned on manually. With these options, you can detect other computers and devices, share their files or folders and Public folders too.

  • To turn on these options in Windows7, you just have to go to the ‘Network and Sharing Centre’ in ‘Control Panel’. Here you can change settings to enable network discovery or file sharing with click on ‘Change advanced sharing settings’. For Public folder sharing, you must specify level of access. Finally, click on ‘Save changes’ to fix these settings.
  • In case of Windows Vista, in ‘Network and Sharing Centre’, you will see ‘Sharing and Discovery’ option in which you can make changes in order to turn on required options. Here also you have to be specific in Public folders sharing.
  • You can also consider option of password-protected sharing in order to protect your shared folders from strangers. In Windows7 or windows Vista, it can be turned on by the same procedure explained above.
    Network Map.
  • Network map is provided in ‘Network and Sharing Centre’, and it gives you an idea of computers connection with graphical view. In case of troubleshooting, it proves its expediency. For computer with Windows XP to be appeared on map, you must install LLTD (Link-Layer Topology Discovery) protocol. After installing LLTD, if your map is still not showing Windows XP computers, then it might be your firewall that is preventing detection. It can be done by modifying firewall settings.