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Windows 7: Can I set up a private homegroup on a shared network?

11 Mar 2013   #1
gymnophoria

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 
Can I set up a private homegroup on a shared network?

I use a high-speed broadband connection with other people in my small building, which I receive by cable from the shared router. I use Virtual Wifi running on my desktop (kinda like Connectify) to allow my other devices (ie laptop, tablet, phone etc) to connect to the internet when required, and a passworded homegroup to allow them to share files.

I'm just worried that this is neither secure nor private. I can see other computers on the network, so presumably they can see my devices too. I'm assuming that my files are fairly secure, and it's not like I distrust my fellow occupants, but I'd particularly really rather they not be able to see what devices I have, and when I'm online and not. Just for questions of home security I'd rather people not know when I'm in or out of my flat.

I don't need to share files very often so I've taken to making my network connection Public unless otherwise required, but my question is: Is there any way of setting up some kind of homegroup or workgroup that only my devices can know about and log into, on what is essentially a public network? Is there any feature of Windows 7 or third party I can use? What's the best way of setting this up?

I've considered buying a cable router which I think gives me extra protection, but I'd rather not buy an extra device if there's a software solution. Thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Mar 2013   #2
chev65

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gymnophoria View Post
I use a high-speed broadband connection with other people in my small building, which I receive by cable from the shared router. I use Virtual Wifi running on my desktop (kinda like Connectify) to allow my other devices (ie laptop, tablet, phone etc) to connect to the internet when required, and a passworded homegroup to allow them to share files.

I'm just worried that this is neither secure nor private. I can see other computers on the network, so presumably they can see my devices too. I'm assuming that my files are fairly secure, and it's not like I distrust my fellow occupants, but I'd particularly really rather they not be able to see what devices I have, and when I'm online and not. Just for questions of home security I'd rather people not know when I'm in or out of my flat.

I don't need to share files very often so I've taken to making my network connection Public unless otherwise required, but my question is: Is there any way of setting up some kind of homegroup or workgroup that only my devices can know about and log into, on what is essentially a public network? Is there any feature of Windows 7 or third party I can use? What's the best way of setting this up?

I've considered buying a cable router which I think gives me extra protection, but I'd rather not buy an extra device if there's a software solution. Thanks!
Setting up the Homegroup essentially creates a virtual wall between the Homegroup machines and the Workgroup machines in a network. They may be able to see your machine on the workgroup but there is no way they can access the file shares on the Homegroup machines unless you shared them with Everyone.

If you wanted more security and not show up on the LAN, try changing the Workgroup name on all of your machines to something besides the default "Workgroup" name. This should prevent them from seeing your machines on the network.
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 Can I set up a private homegroup on a shared network?




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