Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sharing Stuff with Windows 7

Homegroups suck. Maybe it's just me. But I don't get it. Under older versions of Windows you enabled file and printer sharing, made sure everyone was in the same workgroup, and you were good to go.

So forget the homegroup. Who needs another password? And what do homegroups do for you that the old system didn't do?  If their aim was to make it simpler, well forget about it. It's not. So here's how to bypass this homegroup malarkey.  I'm writing this so I can remember these steps again when I have to do this again in 6 months.
  1. Decide upon a workgroup name and assign all your home PC's to it.  In Windows 7, you can rename it from "Workgroup" to something a little cleverer.  You are clever, aren't you? Of course you are. In the start menu, click on Computer -> System Properties tab -> Advanced System Properties -> Computer Name tab, then click the Change button.  You can rename your PC here as well.  You have to restart the computer for the workgroup assignment to go into effect.
  2. If you have a wireless connection (maybe this works for wired connections as well, I dunno) right-click on the tray icon and select Open Network and Sharing Center.  An alternative way to get there is to click on the start menu Control Panel,  then...well, here it depends on whether your are looking at the Category view or the Icon view.  If it's the Category view, click on the Network and Internet link.  If you have the icons view open, click on the Network and Sharing icon.
  3. Now, on the left hand panel click the Change Advanced Sharing Settings link.
  4. And now, we have finally arrived at our destination. Here we update the settings for sharing.  Did you leave breadcrumbs along the trail so you can find your way home?  Not to worry.  You can always click your heels together three times and return home to Kansas, unless you never left.  Good luck with that.  
    1. OK, here's what to check, some settings may already be set as listed below, but as I don't remember how they were originally set on my PC let's make sure nothing is missed.
    2. Turn ON Network Discovery.
    3. Turn ON Network and Printer Sharing.
    4. Turn ON sharing so anyone with network access can read and write files in the Public section (optional, but why not...good for troubleshooting)
    5. Media Streaming - mine is OFF.  I don't know if this is useful or not. Change as you see fit.
    6. ENABLE file sharing for devices that use 40- or 56-bit encryption.
    7. Turn OFF password protected sharing.
    8. USE user accounts and passwords to  connect to other computers.
  5. Click the Save Changes button.
  6. Start sharing.
Fortunately you only have to do this once.   Until you get a new PC and can't remember how you did it before.  Now you only need to remember where this link is.

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