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Windows 7: Dear Microsoft, Homegroups still not right, why?

05 May 2009   #1
Digger

XP/win7 x86 build 7127
 
 
Dear Microsoft, Homegroups still not right, why?

Ok, i was up very late last night tinkering around with the network. I already had 7100 on main rig, now was installing on lappy. I have been a big cheerleader for homegroups, but I have yet to see the entire progress completed. I'm not sure even a MS tech truly understands, and understands why this hasnt been perfected, and wrapped with a pretty little bow on it. This should be the pinnacle point of this OS when trying to sell this OS to a family of users

New bugs on 7100 HG :

Old HG doesnt want to change/release on the network without having to release from both pc's, rebooting both, and NOW having to reboot the router, since 7 wont release the "old" HG info from the adapter (disconnecting and reconnecting to the NETWORK while not being associated with a HG, does not fix this). Example: created then left HG completely on desktop, rebooted back, went to laptop thats never joined a HG yet, shows only "join" not create, even after a few reboots of the laptop. This was Never Ever a problem in 7000, and i put that HG version thru the gauntlet. It was smoooooooth as silk and on the fly leaving and joining back and forth with HG's, never having to reboot any pc or any router, the way it should be. Having to log off then back on, sure, no problem, would and do understand having to do that.

Also, overall the HG is not working as advertised. Wanting identical user/pass on networked pc's that have shared files and allowing homegroup to manage. This is not happening as intended. The "share with" menu only allows sharing to "specific" people on the SAME machine, not with the network, same workgroup or HG (intended for) overall. Only way for this is to "share with" HG in general. But then ALL users of the same HG will see the share. This is not warranted. If i want to share a folder of pictures with susy or billy on the network, I should be able to see what users are in the HG. Sharing with a susy/billy account on this pc, should also share with a susy/billy account on the entire network. This can be done with extra security inside of a secured HG with trusted user certificates (if it has to go that far), but isnt that what HG is supposed to be? If suzy has same pass on this machine as all others in the HG, sharing with the account suzy/pass should share with any and every HG pc on that network that has suzy for user and pass for password as an account. This isnt happenening, why? I only see what users i can share with, that are on this pc, and the share only shares with this pc's users when "sharing with" specific users. I cant add a user to "share with specific people" like laptop\susy or desktop\susy. At first i figured that this would not be needed if setup an identical user account on another machine that was on the HG. Doesnt work that way, tho IT should!

Whats this "Everyone" choice? I dont think that is working the way its "advertised" either. This should share with Everyone that is on the same workgroup, not just the same pc or HG. Atleast if anything it COULD share with EVERYONE on the HG. which i have found it does neither of these. I hate to say, but, that is still useless they way you have "created" it. One would think "Everyone" would mean just what it states, EVERYONE.

Keeping with the theme, if i share a parent folder with Homegroup, i should then be able to configure access rights to subfolders within (to specific users of the HG). This isnt available. not thru HG, not thru access privs, no where can this be actually done right with the usage of the HG. Might as well shut off the HG feature and just use the old method of sharing and go back to multiple folders in the network explorer.
Tooling around with the folders permissions only have an affect with users on the local pc, not for the same user on the entire network or HG like i think its intended or should be, or else why have the HG if all you can do is share completely or not at all with the ENTIRE group of HG users.


The only positives i have seen between 7000 beta and now RC is that the index is built better, indexes faster (ty). Also the small but convienant change of automatically labeling and adding a folder as a new library as the original parent folder name. Tho, i would like a dialoge box that would ask me to give it a name or use default. Sorta like burning a cd without giving it a label, i get a prompt to choose my own or use a default one (i believe you chose to use a date for your default label description for burning). Choices/Options. Its a beautiful thing.

Oh yea, and just a thought if you get bored and find yourself with mental block as far as ideas for improving a HG experience after the above could be looked at, investigated, and fixed... would be to have the ability to "bridge" 2 Homegroups. This could be done via domain, or simply just on same workgroup. This could be done the same way a computer joins a HG. HG joins another HG. Like a "super" Group. Giving users of each HG the option to be seen if a "super" Group was made, or hey, what about specifying which "super" groups you would be exposed to potentially in a domain or on a workgroup. This whole talk about cloud computing and all, well, lets get going..... can we? You have had SOME years now to perfect the ole Castle. Will this feature every truly be as useful as intended TO be?

Thanks and Have a Great Day!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 May 2009   #2
FreakyFerret

 
 

Hey Digger, since I currently have 4 computers in my home, I'm all about the use of HomeGroups. I agree with most of what you've said here. The sad truth is HomeGroups are not ready and are certainly not RC. They're so buggy, when I installed RC on my home computers, I told it the LAN was a Work LAN so it would kill some of the HG stuff.

I think HGs will eventually be fixed and become very useful to people with multiple computers at one site (such as home or very small office) and without a domain controller/server. After all, the way I understand it, HGs are basically just a way for you create a local domain at your site without the actual features of a domain controller. Now the downside of that is they may not give you the fine detail control you want (such as sharing only with specific users).

I'm thinking of trying out Home Server again. I never did look into its use of users and security permissions. It might be a useful solution and not that costly. Failing that, I'll stick with creating duplicate user accounts on each machine in the long run. That is until I actually bother build a domain and domain controller at home out of one of the extra boxes I have lieing around.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 May 2009   #3
Digger

XP/win7 x86 build 7127
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by FreakyFerret View Post
Failing that, I'll stick with creating duplicate user accounts on each machine in the long run.
yea but FF, doing this i have found is useless... no need to do this at all really. Doing so does no real use of HG, at all. You can have just the one pc with say 6 users, and 5 pcs with just the one user. All you can do is the same you would be able to do as if you created all 6 users on each of the 6 pc's. Its not like by making the multiple accounts, it makes your available shares on the #1 original pc available on the account on say #2 pc... they are only available by going to the #1 pc and the user's library thats shared to the HG only.

Like for my example here, most files shared on network is on this pc. No need to make the seperate user accounts on this pc, since there is no per-user sharing control with HG. Therefore, all i need to do, as the only user on this pc with all the files, is to make a library and share it via HG, and then the other pc's/laptop will see the shared files via the HG thru my user shared libraries. Really no reason to setup any other accounts on here at all since the other users really dont use this particular pc. HG isnt even good enough to share to specific users on the local pc, let alone the whole network/Homegroup, which should and needs to get done. Atleast I will NOT be buying this OS if this is all it has to offer. I can live with preparing shortcuts on users desktops to ftp in to view/get files... but thats not advancing the desktop experience from XP.... not a reason for me to pay up the clams for something half donkey built and not paid attention to since Longhorn and the Castle version.

The only reason to make duplicate accounts on all pc's is if you were going to share the "old skool" way, thus using the "user accounts and passwords to connect to other computers", which is used when you have a hybrid network, and want say an XP pc to reach 7's files, and vice versa... but 2 years from now, who's really gonna want to still be on XP? Only if made to stick with it. Alot of ppl toughed it out with 2k for the lonnnnngest of times before going XP or vista.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 May 2009   #4
FreakyFerret

 
 

Digger, I agree completely. It should work like you're saying. I want it to work like you're saying. But it doesn't. And that's just 1 of the more annoying bugs in HG. There's some serious issues with it beyond lack of functionality.

Don't even get me started on how it changed all the permissions on my external drives and gave me a heart attack at first cause i thought it had wiped the drive since it wouldn't even let me see the partition (due to security settings)!

Until they do fix HB, I'll be doing old school sharing. It's pain, but it works and more importantly, it works reliably. At least until I get around to making a domain at home.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 May 2009   #5
jkkw

Windows 7
 
 

Digger, i'm trying to understand your problem a little better. HomeGroup is working well for me in 7100, and i'm curious why you are hitting this problem.
1. did you do an upgrade on your PCs or was it a clean install?
2. when you said homegroup was hanging on to your network, what do you mean? can you leave the homegroup on all your PCs (at the same time), then create the homegroup on PC A, then join PC B to it? I have seen that when you click on the homegroup node in Windows Explorer, it will show some UI that will change once it detects a homegroup to join.
3. according to the blog post at Engineering Windows 7 : At Home with HomeGroup in Windows 7 homegroup is designed to share with homegroup, not everyone or specific people. I don't think they ever promised otherwise
4. I don't quite understand what you mean by "bridge homegroups"? i don't think multiple homegroups is supported in Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2009   #6
Digger

XP/win7 x86 build 7127
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jkkw View Post
Digger, i'm trying to understand your problem a little better. HomeGroup is working well for me in 7100, and i'm curious why you are hitting this problem.
1. did you do an upgrade on your PCs or was it a clean install?
2. when you said homegroup was hanging on to your network, what do you mean? can you leave the homegroup on all your PCs (at the same time), then create the homegroup on PC A, then join PC B to it? I have seen that when you click on the homegroup node in Windows Explorer, it will show some UI that will change once it detects a homegroup to join.
3. according to the blog post at Engineering Windows 7 : At Home with HomeGroup in Windows 7 homegroup is designed to share with homegroup, not everyone or specific people. I don't think they ever promised otherwise
4. I don't quite understand what you mean by "bridge homegroups"? i don't think multiple homegroups is supported in Windows 7

first, thanks for the interest and reply. Secondly I'll try and answer the ?'s accordingly.

1. clean as a whistle install, never upgrade
2. Hanging defined as - the adapter from laptop (wireless) would not release the HG from the workgroup/network. I had just previously created, actually rejoined the original HG on the network. In more detail, i still had the laptop on 7000 beta originally when i did the first clean install of RC on desktop. When this was done, I had no problem with "re-joining" the previous original HG. Could see the Laptop and shares, and thought, wow, ok, good deal, thought this might be an issue. Even the shares from laptop on 7000 were visible from desktop on RC and available. Only thing was, i rarely jump on the laptop, only if there is a problem really or to install something needed. To go a little further, even RDP worked just fine into the laptop. The problem came when i jumped on the laptop preparing it for the RC install, backing up files. Doing this i fooled around some with that side of the HG, never done or checked much via RDP into the laptop, dont ask why, like i said, rarely use it. Well, upon looking at the homegroup thru the LT on 7000, the user icons in the explorer werent different, and were correctly named, except for the name of the desktop pc itself... all it had was this --> () So, in essence the laptop wasnt recognizing the desktop or the name. It did however recognize all the user accounts associated with the desktop 7100, but of course when trying to browse a user's shared library, no library at all would be visible, none. So, i thought, ok, here is where and why the talk about not upgrading from the beta to the RC would come to make plenty and much sense, same goes for beta to beta, and this was one of the reasons why. I had little doubt about this as i didnt fool with the other interim builds this go around of OS beta testing. Got an education from whistler days.
So to make a longer story a little shorter, i went ahead to install the RC on the laptop. Mind you, the 7100 is still on the HG while this is in progress. Install goes well. Upon configuring "1st time stuff" before getting to logon screen, internet and such, came the option of joining a homegroup or skip, well i wanted to join back up to the HG. Typed in the same ole password that has worked EVERY single time, and bam, got the error reported around here about "cant join homegroup" with a red X, possibly also mentioning bad pass i think, something to the liking. Tried a few more times, same result. Decided to skip and go to desktop, try it from there. Did that, and when i was there i had the Yellow encirlcled box stating that i coldnt create a homegroup, blah blah, try using the homegroup troubleshooter. Another long story made shorter, that didnt work either, and trust me, i acted like a dunce and followed the prompts as it asked, back and forth to each computer, using the troubleshooter on the desktop as well. Found nothing, acted like it did, but ultimately it kept telling me to do it again and go back to the other pc, repeat, repeat. Did this for 2 and 1/2 hours i tell ya. Rebooting several times and like i stated until i rebooted both, same time actually how it ended up being, and doing a hard/cold boot on the router (also left HG on desktop, but not until i left and rebooted did anything take affect or work or change for that matter. It took a boot of the whole network to finally clear out, in a matter of speaking, the entire network's cache. Then i made HG on desktop again, and then and only then could i join HG from the Laptop.


3. Remember pre / beta Vista, aka Longhorn. If so then you will know where this all started from. Secondly, just act like i'm ignorant here, can you explain why or what the use is for "Everyone" and "Specific People" are supposed to represent, or what the actual funtion or use of it is to HG or the OS in general? And how is this an upgraded type feature from anything like 2k or XP? It seems to me as tho nothing in reality has really changed much... just the fancy icons and gui and this new word Homegroup, which sounds great, but where is the functionality of it at? Share with Homegroup, that should be the only button and choice, one that makes any sense of the existing HG usefulness. After that, everything sharing wise can be done the same way with 7 as done with XP. If you done things right as far as security. You setup accounts on the other pc with XP, duplicates, if not then you setup permissions, groups and users if you knew what you were doing a little, horrible friendliness, but nonetheless got the job done with the only factor of having one ugly network explorer share window... all done by usually mapping drives and shares, etc etc. In other words, what have you done for me lately Microsoft?? Its been how long since this concept/idea has come about, and as I can see, has been left somewhat dormant for quite some time. And its really sad as this could be one hell of a feature.

4. Lastly, if you stuck it out this long, i'll keep it short, haha. This was just a brainstorm idea i had last night when dealing with this. And why couldnt this possible with a little effort put into the whole HG concept. I admit, could run into some problems with this, but the initial idea is nice, and theorectically plausible. It's possible to have two or more HG on ONE network, key is, has to be different workgroups. Nowadays with offices running a dual fault network, some more than dual, but not necessary. Also, depending on size or how you have it mapped, different departments, floors, wings would have their own homegroup. Can you see where i'm going with this? It would almost be where HG would have to be torn down in essence. I see this down the road in the near future, especially with the evolution of IPv6 and its use in the future... while we wait on that, other things will be and are popping up in the process. Tis why i cant understand why MS isnt jumping on the this. Staying ahead of the game is usually the MO. Tho usually the end up backtracking. Reason why i have preached about them taking their time on this OS, and not to fall to the pressure of having to release this to the greedy community in haste. They dont need the money, just the status. Best way they can acheive that is to do it right, the first time. Well, this is their second shot with this "idea".

over and out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2009   #7
jkkw

Windows 7
 
 

Digger, do you have any access to the Microsoft Beta newsgroups? the homegroup team is very responsive on that group. It seems like you may be hitting one of the known issues discussed on the group.

As for share with specific people, it seems like that is for folks who know how to manually set up sharing with users/passwords, homegroup is designed to make novice sharing simple, not help/aid more advanced users.

I think i read in the beta newsgroups that the design of homegroup in this version is just for one homegroup, that means they are likely to explore other possibilities in future releases. I have also discovered that you can actually create homegroups the span multiple locations, if you are interested, i can post the instructions here.

Digger, while i get the frustration you had upgrading to RC and having homegroup work again, i think you may have misunderstood the goal of the feature. While i'm pretty tech savvy, using passwords in the home just isn't convinient - if you are going to have multiple windows PCs, homegroup really makes it easier.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2009   #8
Digger

XP/win7 x86 build 7127
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jkkw View Post
Digger, do you have any access to the Microsoft Beta newsgroups? the homegroup team is very responsive on that group. It seems like you may be hitting one of the known issues discussed on the group.

As for share with specific people, it seems like that is for folks who know how to manually set up sharing with users/passwords, homegroup is designed to make novice sharing simple, not help/aid more advanced users.

I think i read in the beta newsgroups that the design of homegroup in this version is just for one homegroup, that means they are likely to explore other possibilities in future releases. I have also discovered that you can actually create homegroups the span multiple locations, if you are interested, i can post the instructions here.

Digger, while i get the frustration you had upgrading to RC and having homegroup work again, i think you may have misunderstood the goal of the feature. While i'm pretty tech savvy, using passwords in the home just isn't convinient - if you are going to have multiple windows PCs, homegroup really makes it easier.
I honestly rarely visit the newsgroup much nowadays, i should change that habit maybe.

Specific ppl sharing doesnt work .....like it should IMO, and i find it useless while i dont have to use passwords for anything other than logging into an account or joining a homegroup, everything else i know how to configure with security and having accounts setup to access without the nag of credentials per say. Choosing a specific user, first of all only lists the users on the PC locally, and second, it doesnt share with that user thru HG, just the normal way via network share explorer. This is what i thought was the goal to get away from in a sense. Reason for libraries- to have muliple locations residing under one virtual folder. Why cant this be done thru HG sharing, specifically sharing with specific HG users. If 7 can auto-detect that there is a HG present and the users associated with it, why not when communicating back and forth it can determine what user it is and its access rights to a given library and its "sub library" folders. If i give access to a folder root, fine, you have list priv of the root (library folder), but unless given what is deemed FULL CONTROL over the root folder, there would be different permissions available for the sub folders, and/or the individual content of the folders, to go even further. This wouldnt make things difficult, as having the novice user click on share with entire HG or possibly specific users that also have an account on the local sharing pc.

Good example to reflect a need for this. Ok, share the pictures library, but i would have multiple folders in the pictures folder and other locations to make up the library. This may include wallpaper, family photos, projects, icons and then the playboy folder. Now i dont want junior to have access to the playboy folder. To go further, may have a tree'd out subsystem inside the wallpaper folder, which i do. Most (pics) are fine, but then you got clothed, bikini, and nude. A better example, since you have multiple variations of "maturity". Hannah montana for the girl would fall under clothed or whatever lets say, junior is interested in girls, so bikini for him, not the little girl lets say, and the nude for me (thats right). Now, if i want them all included in the pic library, which would be quite alright and normal for my own account to use and see and have all the access to. But I cant direct the HG to specify to only allow certain eyes to see certain shared/allowed HG library folders, and the subfolders along with content.

To end, like i said, i dont have the nag of having to enter all the user/pass everytime for shares, know what i'm doing around those parts... tried tested bruised and used... i just want more, given that its been ... 7 or 8 years now. I could go on the rant about newer technology used in other OS's that arent implemented or even in the work order slot. I'm just wanting something that was introduced long ago, and then they quit on it, buried, and just about forgotten until now. Now its trying to rise from the ashes. Still the needed attention to this feature and PART of what will make this OS a true Family/Business network OS. No office is going to switch to a mac just because of some facial recognition technology, or switch to 7 because it has some novice way of sharing to EVERYONE on the network, it could be made to appeal to a novice user and not scare them to death with still having the ability to share and not share with specific users of its choice of a given HG. I could see if there was no such thing as HG, but half the work has been done now, the rest should really actually be quite easy IMHO.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 May 2009   #9
Digger

XP/win7 x86 build 7127
 
 

One main point that I have failed to bring up or mention, believe it or not (haha). This is the way that HG and media center extenders use and interact with eachother. This is a major point of the HG/Library functions/use. Basically for most of the same reasons. So that when someone logs onto the MC, i can still have my libraries the way i like, they have their own set of media to choose from thats specifically shared to them, not just EVERYONE or HOMEGROUP again. This is really the main reason why i have alot of gripe. The implementation of the HG and the combo of it and MC and how MC makes use of the Library features. Or for better words, lack there of.
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 Dear Microsoft, Homegroups still not right, why?




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