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Windows 7: WorkGroup or Homegroup

26 Feb 2016   #1
copiman

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 
WorkGroup or Homegroup

I am starting to study what is a WorkGroup versus a HomeGroup and have a few questions.

What are the differences and advantages?

What is better for a small group of PCs (such as 10 or less)?

With all the OSs that are being used (XP, 7, 8, 10) which will work?

While going to school I sometimes help friends with their network and PCs and find myself looking at different setups. I know there is not a straight answer, so if you know a place that I could go (website, articles, books, etc..) please let me know. I'm not afraid of studying.

I want to get proficient in this area.


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26 Feb 2016   #2
pbcopter

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1, Windows 8.1 Pro x64, Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

When you set up a Homegroup, it automatically sets up sharing for those items selected, Music, Pictures, etc. Only Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 can join a Homegroup.

At Home with HomeGroup in Windows 7 - Engineering Windows 7 - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
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26 Feb 2016   #3
ron7000

Windows 7 x64, ultimate/pro/home, SLES x86 & ia64
 
 

I believe the homegroup method was introduced starting with windows 7 and can be used easily with later versions. It's supposed to work with XP but don't be surprised if you have trouble.
Homegroup method is more for people who are not computer savvy to get computers networked to one another to share files/folders. it required the least amount of effort all you need to know is the one homegroup password to connect.
suggest you google: windows homegroup security
I want to say it is based on top of the traditional workgroup method, making decisions for the user/administrator.

I have not seen homegroup used anywhere in the business world and it's use is usually discouraged.
The basic workgroup method that we remember from windows XP is still used, and for win7 and later under network sharing you turn on
- use user accounts & passwords to connect to other computers, and don't use the recommended "allow windows to manage homegroup connections"
- turn on password protected sharing

it is preferred to turn homegroup off within group policy.
The workgroup and password protected sharing method is still easily compatible with everything XP and later, takes a little more user effort but can be more finely controlled and i think more secure in the long run. You know what's happening, unlike homegroup where things are managed automatically by windows.

for a small group of 10 pc's or less, if it was for a trusted bunch of people and there was no internet connection... it is a local area network with no physical connection to the internet... then i would not hesitate to use homegroup, it does work. but anything more than that... your call... the more you know and more you do rather than let windows manage it the better off and more secure you usually are. The problem with homegroup is not so much about functionality, it's about security and risk.

here's one of many to give you an idea:
https://social.technet.microsoft.com...tpronetworking
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26 Feb 2016   #4
copiman

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Thanks everyone for your input. That article you posted about security was good. I never knew that is what happens when using Homegroup. I think I will start using WorkGroup at home. I have a Vista, 7, and 8.1. I will attempt to set all up on the WorkGroup. I think this is better for business as well. I assume this way would prevent someone from accessing everything on another PC and you can choose what they have access to. Will need to do a little more study though.

Thanks again for your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2016   #5
copiman

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

I need to see if my thought process is correct and was wondering if you could check this for me:

In a home-group all docs, picks, etc.. are shared to all on the home-group. In other words, if you select docs to be shared in the setup wizard, everything in the documents folder/libraries will be shared, to all.

In a work group you have to specify what docs/folders will be shared by changing "share with properties" on each folder/docs. You can select Read, Write, etc.. Also the person you want to share with must have an account on the PC that is holding the doc to be shared.

Home group seems like an easy way but reduces control. Work group seems a little more maintenance but will ensure only the docs and/or folders you want others to have access to will be available to them. They will not be able to see other info that may be private or company sensitive.

Thanks again for your help.
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27 Feb 2016   #6
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi,
I believe win-10 has had issues joining existing home groups
I believe I have not tried it but if you create a home group using win-10 and join it with the other machines you'd have better luck
Try that if you have issues with the 10 machine joining a existing home group.
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27 Feb 2016   #7
copiman

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ThrashZone View Post
Hi,
I believe win-10 has had issues joining existing home groups
I believe I have not tried it but if you create a home group using win-10 and join it with the other machines you'd have better luck
Try that if you have issues with the 10 machine joining a existing home group.

You are correct, Windows 10 is having some issues in this area. Its all over the net and Microsoft forums and they are not happy campers. Right now I am just trying to make sure I understand the concepts of home-group and work-group. I will use my PCs (vista, 7, 8.1) on my network to get some hands on experience. No 10 yet, but its coming and then I will add it and we can see what happens.
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27 Feb 2016   #8
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

The only major issue with homegroups is that there may be issues connecting to a homegroup that is created on a system that uses a wireless connection rather than a wired connection, always create the homegroup on a wired system to be sure of reliable sharing also it relies on IPv6 to allow the 128Bit encryption so IPV6 needs to be enabled.

Neither workgroups or homegroups as as reliable as a true Server - Client system as used in business but the overhead for hardware, software and management is much more affordable If you have a system based on Windows7 or later systems either home system is acceptable
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27 Feb 2016   #9
copiman

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
The only major issue with homegroups is that there may be issues connecting to a homegroup that is created on a system that uses a wireless connection rather than a wired connection, always create the homegroup on a wired system to be sure of reliable sharing also it relies on IPv6 to allow the 128Bit encryption so IPV6 needs to be enabled.

Neither workgroups or homegroups as as reliable as a true Server - Client system as used in business but the overhead for hardware, software and management is much more affordable If you have a system based on Windows7 or later systems either home system is acceptable

Thanks. Did not see that about IPv6 in my quest. Will add that to my notes.

The link ron7000 in post#3 made me reconsider home-group here at home as well as the few small offices I help support (friends). These small offices as well as here at home have only a few PCs which really does not justify a server but you are correct a client-server situation is a great way to share among other things. A lot of these small offices seem to be hanging on to PCs with older OS so they end up with multiple OS ranging from XP to 10. Personally if I had a small business, I would have at least a NAS with multiple drives. Then share from there. Of course they want the cheaper way.

Thanks for your input. It really helps.
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27 Feb 2016   #10
Barman58

Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu
 
 

In your situation with the small business clients - I would go with a workgroup, as it supports back to XP, (the structure actually comes from the NT/Windows 2000 line which it probably also supports as long as the hardware is complaint).

The only issue with a workgroup is there is more work for you as the sysadmin, you need to create, (and maintain), identical users, preferably with identical passwords, on all systems, (or at least all systems that any one individual user has access to), to allow any degree of real control.

For your home system it may be a chance to test the waters for the homegroup, (again with password security), for future use, the major advantage to this is that you only need to join each user to the Homegroup and use a single password, Disadvantages are the over zealous initial sharing regime that is set up
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