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Windows 7: How do Homegroups/Workgroups Work? Whats the difference?


17 Aug 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 
How do Homegroups/Workgroups Work? Whats the difference?

I have worked an IT position in the past, so I feel as if I have a pretty well-rounded networking background from the business/office standpoint. However, when it comes to home networking, I tend to get a little bit more lost, even though I feel like it's much less complex. It seems that in order to have any form of file/printer/media sharing in the Windows environment, you need to first setup a Work or Home Group.

1. What is the difference between a Work and Home Group? Does one have more features/capabilities than the other?

I think this is a little annoying. When I worked my IT position, we had our own domain established. In order to add a new PC to the network, all we had to do was add them to the domain. With that, you could browse any other PC on the network, attach printers using IP addresses, and much more. Granted, we did have a number of different servers, including a DNS and printer server. This brings me to my biggest question:

2. Why can't I just have one PC act as a server and avoid using the Home/Work Group environment? A home network is no where near comparable to an office environment due to the smaller number of clients involved. Therefore, can't I just have one PC manage all the other PCs and printers on my network?

3. I'm also interested in knowing how all of this works. Shouldn't there be some sort of central location where all the computer names and IP addresses are stored and managed, just like a DNS server? Is this performed by the router somehow?

Any clarification on any of this would be appreciated!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Aug 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
 
 

Home group is the windows 7 networking feature, allows you to easily share files and printers between other machines on the home group using a simple password to join the home group network.

The router assigns ip addresses to the machines if the machines and router have dhcp enabled. Otherwise you can assign ip addresses manually to each machine. Normally you put them outside the dhcp range of the router if you keep dhcp enabled in it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

This might be helpful in explaining the differences....

What is the difference between a domain, a workgroup, and a homegroup?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Aug 2012   #4

MS Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 
Peer to Peer

With a peer to peer network, which is what most of us have at home, you can have both a workgroup and a homegroup. In my case all my Win 7 boxes are members of the same homegroup. They share the types of things that can be easily shared by Win 7, such as media player and the play to feature. All my Win 7 boxes are also members of our workgroup which allows my XP boxes to join the party.

I think the network that you are used to at work is called a Domain type network. You could have that at home if that is what you want. You would need a server called a Domain Controller to make that happen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2012   #5

Win 7 Ultimate x64 desktop, Win 8.1.1 x64 laptop, Win 7 Home x64 netbook, Win 8.1.1 x64 tablet
 
 

Just to add a little confusion into the mix, the default name that MS chose for a Workgroup is HOMEGROUP. You can name your Workgroup HOMEGROUP but that doesn't make it a Homegroup!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2012   #6

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

Thanks Bassfisher that site helped. I got more time in trying to get two computer home grouped/work grouped than than the time I had in saving my last marriage. So far neither is working out. When I get in the mood I will try the work group thing again. My Xwife is in another domain that I don't want to join.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by strollin View Post
Just to add a little confusion into the mix, the default name that MS chose for a Workgroup is HOMEGROUP. You can name your Workgroup HOMEGROUP but that doesn't make it a Homegroup!

Very good point! +1
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Aug 2012   #8

MS Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
 
 
Yes

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bassfisher6522 View Post
This might be helpful in explaining the differences....

What is the difference between a domain, a workgroup, and a homegroup?
This article explains it very well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How do Homegroups/Workgroups Work? Whats the difference?




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