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Windows 7: Difference between Homegroup and Mapping a Network Drive?


12 Mar 2009   #1

Black Label 7 x64
 
 
Difference between Homegroup and Mapping a Network Drive?

Is it just Libraries and Public and Personal sections? How are those different than mapping a new drive and setting permissions and/or passwords accordingly?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Mar 2009   #2

Black Label 7 x64
 
 

I ask this as a matter of utility, not just "what is a Homegroup." I know what it is. But after doing both, the drive mapping is nowhere near as convoluted to work with as Homegroup. Plus, I can map drives from A-Z but I only get one Homegoup.

Personal Documents and Public Documents
Personal Downloads and Public Downloads
Personal Music and Public Music
Personal Photos and Public Photos
Personal Videos and Public Videos

That's not simplifying anything. Yeah you can put stuff from anywhere on your computer into a Library, but why not organize all that crap in a proper folder in the first place?

Homegroup adds an extra step in the path name, and in the navigation frame of Windows Explorer you've got the Libraries icon, which is above the Homegroup icon, which is above the Network icon. Under Network you've got "Public" and "Users" folders. It's "Private" and "Public" under Homegroup. If this is MS's idea of uncluttering things, I don't want to see them go byzantine on me.

I'm a big fan of 7, but MS has come nowhere close to simplifying networks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2009   #3

Windows 7
 
 

Well, I have 4 computers on my network set up as a homegroup and all of the drives are mapped throughout the network as well. Except for the c drives, they all have the same letters. So, you share your f drive with full permissions to your user account, and map that drive as f on your other computers. Repeat with all drives (11 in my case).
So, now you can copy/move/edit all the drives and you know where everything because it's in the same place on all PCs.
The homegroup is good for sharing common files like pictures, music, etc because you have all of the similar files together in one window. It's really quite simple...you can just add any folder you want to the homegroup shares...so you can add your desktop pcs music folders to your my music folder on your laptop.
So, the homegroup and mapped drives really perform different functions and both serve their purpose well.

If you know all of the functions, networking really is very easy in Windows 7. If you have any specific questions I'll try and help you out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Mar 2009   #4

Vista Ult64, Win7600
 
 

I have three PCs on the seven Homegroup for the past couple of weeks ,trying to keep up with all the new 7s at this stage ,now I can only see one of them when I click Homegroup ,and that's the way it has been since day one, on seven, for me, but if I click Network, below that,I see all the PCs ,and I can get into all the files on any of the PCs ,and I am so happy ,because this works better than any other attempt at setting up a network for home users,that they have done before,very easy to use in my opinion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2009   #5

XP/win7 x86 build 7127
 
 

homegroup is supposed to be a simplified way of sharing with a "community" inside a protected "castle".... more security gone into the homegroup than just a SHARED drive out there to be connected to and from anyone who knows or can find it once on the network... no password asked to connect to network drive if just simple shared...

small example, if your wifi or network is somehow mystically compromised and you have that drive shared as a "simple" share, no pass/security, well, 8 of 10 times the "hacker" can guess workgroup or other well known workgroup names, and just by that be on THE network, nothing to stop.. and thats a savvy 10yr old that could do that... there are other ways to exploit and get around a simple share policy with a lil more work than guess...

Also, you can have multiple Homegroups on ONE workgroup name.... all set by the password.... so lets say for instance you share network drives from your laptop for some reason, and one weekend you take a vacation and grab the laptop. You login to the hotel, and for argument sake lets say your workgroup name is just default "workgroup". With win 7, you first have the public or home type of network connection... then ontop of that, leaving your default "workgroup" at home, you are on a separate Homegroup (password set). ---- So when others login at the hotel and you have simple sharing on, if you are in your own CASTLE/Homegroup... no matter if you are on default "workgroup" they wont see you or your shares.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Mar 2009   #6

Black Label 7 x64
 
 

Thanks for the replies, here are some more questions:

1.) Good point about the password, Digger. I like that as well, except that you can click on the Homegroup settings and "View or print the homegroup password" and voila. How do you prevent that?

2.) If I right click a folder and chose "Share with Homegroup", that folder never appears over there. It's not on the other computer, either. Same thing when I try "Share with Specific People" and chose Homegroup from the list. The computer appears to be sharing or moving files, and then after about 30 seconds it appears to be finished. But I click on Homegroup and, again, don't see the folder on either computer. What am I not doing correctly? Can you only put a Library in a Homegroup?

I still cannot understand the need for Personal and Public folders. Windows help says this about them:
Quote:

The first option allows you to share music, photos, and other files from any folder on your computer; you don't have to move them from their current location.

Public folders, on the other hand, serve as open drop boxes; By copying a file into one, you make it immediately available to other account holders on your computer or network.
Is there a difference? In both cases you have to get the files yourself, so all I'm seeing are just two methods of copying that produce the same result. No? Yes?

Here's something else from 7 Help:

Quote:
Note

  • If you're trying to share with specific people in your homegroup but don't see their names in the File Sharing wizard, they might not have linked their Windows user account to an online ID. You might also need to install a small software program called an online ID provider on your computer.
  • For example: let's say Bob wants to share a digital photo directly with homegroup-member Alice. Alice first links her Windows user account to alice@contoso.com, her e-mail and online ID. Bob, meanwhile, downloads and installs an online ID provider from Contoso on his computer. Now he can share directly with Alice using the File Sharing wizard.
I get what MS is saying, but I'm laughing when I read it because this is absolutely not streamlining the process of creating a network. Same with the Libraries. I understand you're able to keep things like photos, music, etc. in one place via a Library. But isn't this just the old Briefcase with a face lift? I keep like items in one place anyway. I may have music files in 50 different folders, but they're all grouped inside one parent folder.

There's a VERY high chance I'm being a total moron, but all I see are pointless redundancies. That's not directed toward anyone on the forum - believe me, I appreciate the replies and other info. around here. I've also gone over some of the MS developer blogs and they're terrible trying to explain any of this.

Does the advantage kick in if (like hdjunkie) you have more than 2 computers in a Homegroup? All I've got is 2.

Sorry for the War & Peace-sized post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2012   #7

win7 Home prem and win7 Ultimate both 64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by hdjunkie View Post
Well, I have 4 computers on my network set up as a homegroup and all of the drives are mapped throughout the network as well. Except for the c drives, they all have the same letters. So, you share your f drive with full permissions to your user account, and map that drive as f on your other computers. Repeat with all drives (11 in my case).
So, now you can copy/move/edit all the drives and you know where everything because it's in the same place on all PCs.
The homegroup is good for sharing common files like pictures, music, etc because you have all of the similar files together in one window. It's really quite simple...you can just add any folder you want to the homegroup shares...so you can add your desktop pcs music folders to your my music folder on your laptop.
So, the homegroup and mapped drives really perform different functions and both serve their purpose well.

If you know all of the functions, networking really is very easy in Windows 7. If you have any specific questions I'll try and help you out.
I have a question for you, if I create a homegroup I cant map a network drive with a folder shared in homegroup? Because the workgroup network password prompt glitch is driving me nuts for weeks now. I made a new post on it, but reading this here I'm wondering if I can map a "homegroup" folder as a drive
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Difference between Homegroup and Mapping a Network Drive?




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