Sharing is easy with Windows 7’s homegroups

Woody leonhard By Woody Leonhard

The most misunderstood new feature in Windows 7 may be homegroups, which lets you share files, media, and printers across Win7 PCs quickly and easily — if you know a few tricks.

I’ve seen a lot of bad advice online about Windows 7 homegroups, however, so let’s delve into the belly of the beast to learn the facts.

What you need to run Windows 7’s homegroups

I talked about homegroups in my May 14 Top Story, “Two big reasons why you’ll like Windows 7.” Microsoft’s new OS is set to appear on store shelves later this month. Unfortunately, misinformation about this important subject is all over the Web. Here are the basics:

To create or join a homegroup, your PC must be running Windows 7

Systems running Vista and XP can’t participate in homegroups, nor can Macs or Linux computers. That isn’t so dire as it sounds, however.

Regardless of whether your Windows 7 PC is a member of a homegroup, it can still communicate with other computers on your network using the old-fashioned Windows sharing methods you’ve come to know and hate over the years.

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Woody Leonhard

About Woody Leonhard

Woody Leonhard is a Windows Secrets senior editor and a senior contributing editor at InfoWorld. His latest book, the comprehensive 1,080-page Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, delves into all the Win8 nooks and crannies. His many writings tell it like it is — whether Microsoft likes it or not.