At Home with HomeGroup in Windows 7

Posted by sumeethevans on December 31 2008, 10:01 PM. Posted in Windows "7".

Like many places we’ve spent the past few weeks under quite a bit of snow, which is pretty unusual for Seattle!  Most of us on the team took advantage of the snow time to install test builds of Windows 7 on our home machines as we finalize the beta for early 2009—I know I felt like I installed it on 7000 different machines.  We’re definitely looking forward to seeing folks kick the tires on the beta when it is available. For more information on the beta, please stay tuned to http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7 which is where we will post information about participation.

This post is about a Windows 7 feature that covers a lot of territory—it is about networking, user interface, sharing, media, printing, storage, search, and more.  HomeGroup is a way of bringing all these features together in a way that makes it possible for a new level of coolness in a home with multiple PCs running Windows 7.  A lot of us are the sysadmins for our own homes and for many others (friends and family).  We set up network topologies, configure machines, and set things up so they work—HomeGroup is designed to make that easier so it can be done without a volunteer sysadmin.  It makes for some challenges in how to describe the feature since the lack of such a feature has each of us creating our own private best practices or our own techniques for creating and maintaining a home network.  HomeGroup is about making this easier (or possible for everyone else) and at the same time giving you the tools to customize and manage—and no matter what, under the hood the file and printer sharing, media sharing, and networking you are already familiar with is there should you wish to stick with the familiar ways. HomeGroup is a deep feature that builds on a lot of new infrastructure/plumbing new to Windows 7, though in this post we’ll talk about it from the experience of setting up a network. 

This is a feature that is one you should just use and see it working, rather than trying to read about it as it covers so much territory in writing. 

This post is by Jerry Koh a lead program manager in the Core User Experience team, with help from a number of folks across the dev team

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