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Windows 7: Homegroup Setup Unreliable

27 Oct 2017   #11
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

Makes perfect sense.

With drive mappings, it is whatever works for you.

I suspect that if you revisit the drive mappings after about six months of using them, you might want to reorganize things in a better way. But you won't know what that better way is, or even if there is a better way, till you have rolled up your sleeves and used the system a bit.

The only thing that really matters is that you are able to share files between the computers; and it sounds like you were successful in that.


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27 Oct 2017   #12
meridius21

Windows 7 HP & Pro 64 bit
 
 

Thank you so much for all your helpful advice and guidance. Today I went out and bought a TP-Link 5-Port 10/100Mbps Switch as well as three CAT6 Ethernet cables. I tried it out tonight and data was transferred at the speed of light as well as a great improvement in general processing - much faster than the Ethernet crossover cable on its own.

I am at an advantage as I am using two test pc's so can afford to experiment far more than on my main pc and this should allow me to learn more about networking.
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28 Oct 2017   #13
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

Glad to hear that all is working well!

It always feels good when you set up something like this, and it then works well. I think that's what keeps me going so strong in this type of work.

At some point, you may want to get a 1000 Mbps switch, to get a faster transfer speed. But I wouldn't worry about that right now. Enjoy your success, and worry about that later.
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29 Oct 2017   #14
meridius21

Windows 7 HP & Pro 64 bit
 
 

This has been a marathon with many more hours spent in front of the computer than I expected... I managed to join an extra laptop to the network (a 2001 Toshiba Pentium 3 (originally with Windows 98!) with Windows 7 Professional which is still alive). I'm documenting the steps I took to get there but it basically included:

- Making sure the relevant Homegroup and Peer services are set to Automatic and running in services.msc
- In Local Group Policy Editor setting Unidentified and Identified Networks to 'Private' (is this right?)
- Changing the Share in Computer Management > Shared Folders > Shares from C:\Users to C:\Users\Public (this is what I want)
- Mapping the network drives

I also managed to start a Homegroup through another os - i.e. Win 10 Enterprise linked to Win 7 Ultimate and Win 7 Pro. However, I much prefer the other system that was set up as Homegroup seems to reset itself in the case where I was using three Win 7s and this does not give me much confidence in this particular setup.

I just wanted to know if when the drives are mapped should the 'Network' icon in Windows Explorer (below) be removed? Apparently this can be done through regedit but I have no experience of this and am not sure of the consequences.

I may see about a better switch at some point in the future but as this is only a test network it isn't a must for now.


Attached Thumbnails
Homegroup Setup Unreliable-3net.png  
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30 Oct 2017   #15
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

Do not remove the Network icon! And do not do any "hacking" through regedit, unless you are absolutely sure of what you are doing. Even then, you need to think twice before doing it. The consequences of making a mistake in regedit could be that you won't be able to access Windows anymore.

Everything looks good; you can now access any computer's hard drive from any other computer, either by using the drive mappings (under "Network Location" or under "Computer"), or by using the computer names (under "Network").
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30 Oct 2017   #16
meridius21

Windows 7 HP & Pro 64 bit
 
 

Many thanks for all your advice. I don't normally pick things up the hard way like this but now I can take one step back and do some reading about networking in general as well as some further testing.
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30 Oct 2017   #17
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

So far, you have done "unsecured" file sharing. That is all most home users need. However, when you move into the business world, file access needs to be restricted to those who are authorized to have the access. The way that is generally accomplished is that they get some networking software (for example, Windows Server), and then set up a user account for each person who is authorized to log onto the network in some way. They then create access groups, each group having access to particular files, folders, etc., on the network; and they then make the various users "members" of the various access groups, so that they will have access to what they need. Access is further divided up by the type of access that people need, for example, "read only" (can only look at files, can't make changes to them) vs "write" (the ability to make changes to files).

Generally, when you do a search on "networking", you will find information on the wiring and communications aspect of networking. But that is only a part of it; the other part is what I have described above.

Here is a website which has an excellent overview of computer networking:

https://www.computernetworkingnotes....etworking.html
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30 Oct 2017   #18
meridius21

Windows 7 HP & Pro 64 bit
 
 

Thanks a lot for your summary of networking. It really makes sense. I always wondered what IT networking got up to when I last worked in a big office and it certainly looks like a lot of work.

I briefly skimmed one page in the link you sent me which I found online last week (Differences between Workgroup and Homegroup) but I will now go through all the pages in the link you have given me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Oct 2017   #19
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

The key things that IT people have to do are: (1) Be very careful that you get everything exactly right, so you don't goof up the network in some way, and (2) DO NOT forget the admin passwords!

If an IT pro messes up on either of these points, he won't have a job for long!
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31 Oct 2017   #20
meridius21

Windows 7 HP & Pro 64 bit
 
 

Looks like you've seen it all! I have never worked in networking and even though opportunities came my way I nevertheless stayed with data and databases focusing on Access which is not highly considered and almost defunct. I personally struggled to make the move up to SQL Server and NET and competently design a relational database I would feel happy leaving with a potential client with minimum maintenance. I have now left the database world and just enjoy learning about operating systems and general IT which is more of a hobby than anything else.

I saw a few people start as beginners in IT admin and with one person the IT Manager was constantly bullying him so it sort of put me off but I guess it's never too late to learn and it can be made more interesting if you learn about security as well as there must be security implications from networking computers.

In one large organisation I worked at they had to reinstall all the operating systems as a virus from a USB stick infected the network. I guess something like that should be preventable but I don't know how.

My test system is my first setup that is close to a network and it has got me thinking about many things especially how small businesses with limited funding can operate such a system. If for example they get Homegroup working by going through the user interfaces (i.e. get lucky!) what happens when something goes wrong? I feel as though Microsoft have tried to simplify something complicated by using Homegroups but in my experience and as you can see I did not get the result through this method so therefore had to set up my own system with your help. I wonder if Microsoft have made Homegroups work better in Windows 10.

I guess the other alternative for an aspiring small business is to get into cloud computing with OneDrive, Office365 and Azure and then while they may be limited they will not have to go through local networking issues or necessarily pay big bucks for a networking professional, in the case of Office365 and OneDrive. I am not sure if Azure is designed for novice users.
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 Homegroup Setup Unreliable




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