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HomeGroup replacement?

phillyTIM

Golden Member
Jan 12, 2001
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What do you guys replace (or will be replacing) HomeGroup with, now that feature has been taken out of Windows with the April 2018 build?

I have a client who uses the file & print sharing between her main desktop (Windows 10) and 2 laptops (Mix of WIndows 10 and a Windows 7 for now) ; and I don't want to change her to something that she'll be confused by, and OneDrive solution is not good for her.

Thoughts?
 
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corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
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And, in addition to that, I never used Homegroup. Since I already had a perfectly functioning LAN, all it did was clutter up my desktop with a non conforming icon.
 

phillyTIM

Golden Member
Jan 12, 2001
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Well that's great corkyg, kudos to you; but not everyone is technical to run a spiffy LAN like we can, so I'm just searching for a solution/replacement for the technically-challenged client.

Hence, my post here.

PS: If anything, this lack of comparable replacement shows just how Microsoft is jerking around its customers.
 

mv2devnull

Golden Member
Apr 13, 2010
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And, in addition to that, I never used Homegroup.
I tried to use it, but failed to learn. The old method was/is easy.

What was the justification of Homegroup to begin with and why did it became a bad idea?
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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Well that's great corkyg, kudos to you; but not everyone is technical to run a spiffy LAN like we can, so I'm just searching for a solution/replacement for the technically-challenged client.
Corkyg is basically TLDR; to use LDAP using a basic TCP/IP system.

Easiest way to set is using a router as the designated DHCP server, and have it hand off IP on the same subnet to each PC on network, unless you know how to setup a windows server machine.

Then each PC should be able to see each other under the Network tab in file explorer.
Now if you want to share a drive across the network, you would need to enable share or you can mount the drive on explorer.

Pro's... its basic level networking, you will have access to other PC's, you can designate shares on each PC.
Con, it will take a tiny bit getting used to.
Bigger Con, windows 10 SMB v2.0 is a PITFA, and may have some issues with devices with which use SMB like qnap / synology.
But seeing how the client is still stuck on windows homegroup, i dont think she will be using devices like that without asking for someone skilled to help set it up.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,958
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I tried to use it, but failed to learn. The old method was/is easy.

What was the justification of Homegroup to begin with and why did it became a bad idea?
The justification was that setting up Windows filesharing is a pain in the ass (ie. not particularly user friendly), but homegroup was poorly implemented, for some reason it cried if one user was on ethernet and the other on wifi (despite both being connected to the same router/dhcp), and for some reason it would just up and forget that it was set up, lose the password, be difficult to reset, etc. It was a nice idea, but horribly implemented.

Plus I think MS wants everyone to use OneDrive.
 

JoeBleed

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2000
1,408
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Bigger Con, windows 10 SMB v2.0 is a PITFA, and may have some issues with devices with which use SMB like qnap / synology.
Synology supports SMB v1 - v3 as best i can remember. Windows 10 supports 3, but i think i've read some/many still default to the lowest common denominator. If you wanted to get away from v1 you have to disable it manually. I thought they released an update to do this, but not 100% sure.

If anyone has a Synology NAS, i'd advise disabling v1 on it to make sure it isn't getting used. Qnap is probably the same.

As for windows networking, i've always done it the old way. i don't think it's necessary anymore, but i still put them in the same workgroup, create matching accounts and passwords on them, share and assign rights, then map drives. It's very annoying to do that, so you're better off either having a NAS or designate one box to share files so you only have to have matching accounts on that one and one or two accounts on your others. I don't like doing this past 3-5 computers. after that, you really should just spend a couple hundred on a NAS.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,039
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I pretty much agree with corkyg and others about HomeGroup. It was a nice idea that seemed to parallel the relatively short life of a WHS OS and the longer run we had with Windows 7.

The problem I had with it, in addition to what corkyg says about the icon clutter, was security. In WHS-2011, you might think you could set exclusive permissions or limited permissions on shared folders, and then discover that everyone in the Homegroup still had access to folders for which you wanted exclusive user-specific permission assignments. To resolve that, I eliminated participating systems from the HomeGroup, set "Full control" permissions for "System" and "Creator-Owner," and gave ownership to either "Administrators" or a specific administrator account, in addition to assigning full permissions to the specific intended user.

I can see how this can be tedious for recent-generation mainstreamers. that's why we see the obvious "set-it-and-forget-it" trends in general.

If one has a peer-to-peer network without a dedicated server, things are still pretty easy. If you want to replace something like WHS-2011 with a Windows Server Essentials version, then you have to make decisions about using it in its default role as a Domain Controller. In that situation, joining a workstation to the domain creates an entirely new user profile, and the workstation user will either go through a tedious migration of desktop features and settings, or he (or someone from "corporate IT") would run a program like Forensit User Profile Wizard, which can be had for free as shareware.

And the downside of joining the domain becomes apparent when such a server is "down." You eventually lose the cached profile at the workstation, and you lose internet access because the workstation's DNS settings have been changed. If you're confident that the server won't have such an "downtime" experience, perhaps not so bad.

Otherwise, despite the lower security provided, peer-to-peer is the way to go, especially if you have no dedicated server anyway. And without the HomeGroup feature of older Windows OS versions, it's the only way to go.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,391
3,918
126
Got a home PC network with... 5-6 Windows 10 PCs on it. Currently, I can only see one other computer. :eek:

While it existed, HomeGroup at least kept the computers visible to each other. Absent that, what steps do I need to take to fix it so all these Windows 10 PC can, always, see each other?

*Yes, Network Discovery and File Sharing is turned on. It's not that simple.
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
29,193
291
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You have to Right Click on Drives/Folder and set Users Permission and security.

If Access controlled is Not in issue you can choose User as Guest and disable the Password control of the Sharing.

Yeah it slightly complicated but one time set and you are done for the near future.

In general.

Because of the extensive use of HomeGroup it hard to find a detailed description of how to do Regular Sharing in Win 10.

This following link includes extensive info for Win 7 (and some fo 8).

In Win 10 if you invoke the old Control Panel and click on Network Sharing you can fine most of the Menus as decriberd on the pages liked above.

https://www.howtogeek.com/school/windows-network-sharing/


:cool:
 
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aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
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Got a home PC network with... 5-6 Windows 10 PCs on it. Currently, I can only see one other computer. :eek:

While it existed, HomeGroup at least kept the computers visible to each other. Absent that, what steps do I need to take to fix it so all these Windows 10 PC can, always, see each other?

*Yes, Network Discovery and File Sharing is turned on. It's not that simple.
ahhh this is one of the main peeves i have with windows 10 and updates.
Because each update it always seems to break network discovery somehow...

First make sure your network is set on private, so firewall rules for public does not apply.
Make sure all PC's are located in the same Workgroup.
Make sure discovery is set on.

Then press win+R to get a command prompt.
Type : Services.msc

Make sure these are running:
  • DNS Client
  • Function Discovery Resource Publication
  • SSDP Discovery
  • UPnP Device Host
Id set them on automatic, so they always start on bootup

And each time you go though a major update, you may need to reset them.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,391
3,918
126
Something I'm coming to realize is this:

Network Discovery works perfectly and instantaneously IF, and ONLY IF I have SMBv1 enabled. I'm sure you are aware of the problem there, given the security threat that service poses. It has now been over 6 months since those hacks, and Window's own internal networking services still depend on it for full functionality? The apparent neglect is mind blowing.

Anyways, are you guys operating with SMBv1 disabled?
 

lupi

Lifer
Apr 8, 2001
32,539
260
126
ahhh this is one of the main peeves i have with windows 10 and updates.
Because each update it always seems to break network discovery somehow...

First make sure your network is set on private, so firewall rules for public does not apply.
Make sure all PC's are located in the same Workgroup.
Make sure discovery is set on.

Then press win+R to get a command prompt.
Type : Services.msc

Make sure these are running:
  • DNS Client
  • Function Discovery Resource Publication
  • SSDP Discovery
  • UPnP Device Host
Id set them on automatic, so they always start on bootup

And each time you go though a major update, you may need to reset them.
I was left only able to communicate with my 1 Win 8 machine until going through and adjusting these, now all the computers and folders have shown back up. Didn't see any of this mentioned in the MS articles covering removal of homegroup.
 

JoeBleed

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2000
1,408
30
91
I was left only able to communicate with my 1 Win 8 machine until going through and adjusting these, now all the computers and folders have shown back up. Didn't see any of this mentioned in the MS articles covering removal of homegroup.
Just wondering, what had to be adjusted? as in, what wasn't right?
 

phillyTIM

Golden Member
Jan 12, 2001
1,942
10
81
Glad (but sorry) to see that I'm not alone, left out in the cold by Microsoft to recover from their removal (without a comparable, if not better solution) of the best home sharing technology to date on a Windows OS.

My client had it working great for years (ever since the 2009 introduction of Windows 7).
 
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lupi

Lifer
Apr 8, 2001
32,539
260
126
Just wondering, what had to be adjusted? as in, what wasn't right?
Of the 4 services he mentioned, my machine only had 1 in auto and 2 running. Put all 4 in auto and running and suddenly file explorer shows all other computers and folders.
 

phillyTIM

Golden Member
Jan 12, 2001
1,942
10
81
Great info, thank you; but it's really quite unacceptable to expect typical users to tend to all the time.

I mean, I love to make money on the side to help out my client, but this is more of a nuisance now that major updates are TWICE a year!!!!


ahhh this is one of the main peeves i have with windows 10 and updates.
Because each update it always seems to break network discovery somehow...

First make sure your network is set on private, so firewall rules for public does not apply.
Make sure all PC's are located in the same Workgroup.
Make sure discovery is set on.

Then press win+R to get a command prompt.
Type : Services.msc

Make sure these are running:
  • DNS Client
  • Function Discovery Resource Publication
  • SSDP Discovery
  • UPnP Device Host
Id set them on automatic, so they always start on bootup

And each time you go though a major update, you may need to reset them.
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,391
3,918
126
Make sure these are running:
  • DNS Client
  • Function Discovery Resource Publication
  • SSDP Discovery
  • UPnP Device Host
Id set them on automatic, so they always start on bootup
Great info, thank you; but it's really quite unacceptable to expect typical users to tend to all the time.

I mean, I love to make money on the side to help out my client, but this is more of a nuisance now that major updates are TWICE a year!!!!
I was thinking we could write a small script that takes this action. If that makes it easier for end users. Although they would have to trust we're not handing them a virus.... and they probably shouldn't accept scripts from strangers. Unless we... vouch for the authenticity of it? We could get around to sponsoring some helpful files like that.

If you save this as a .cmd file and run it as admin, it'd be a pretty quick startup for those 4 services. Anyone know if there are negative consequences to starting them this way?

Code:
net start Dnscache
sc config Dnscache start= auto
net start FDResPub
sc config FDResPub start= auto
net start SSDPSRV
sc config SSDPSRV start= auto
net start upnphost
sc config upnphost start= auto
 
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B-Riz

Golden Member
Feb 15, 2011
1,481
610
136
Something I'm coming to realize is this:

Network Discovery works perfectly and instantaneously IF, and ONLY IF I have SMBv1 enabled. I'm sure you are aware of the problem there, given the security threat that service poses. It has now been over 6 months since those hacks, and Window's own internal networking services still depend on it for full functionality? The apparent neglect is mind blowing.

Anyways, are you guys operating with SMBv1 disabled?
I was going to create a new thread but searched and found this thread.

I got bit by SMB1 and SMB2 being disabled feature after updating to 1803.

Don't get the pitchforks out, but I still have an XP file server box in use. :fearscream:

One thing I was doing before 1803, and fixed a lot of sharing issues even after turning off 'Password Protected Sharing' is as follows, but may not work for everyone, as I am using Win 10 Pro.

Start > Run > gpedit.msc > Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options > Network access: Sharing and security model for local accounts > Guest Only
 

lupi

Lifer
Apr 8, 2001
32,539
260
126
Really missing homegroup at this point. Folder sharing for me on 10 is a step beyond Fubar.

Have 2 10 desktops, a 10 laptop, and an 8 desktop. All folders are visible to all. Settings are the same on all. All 3 10 machines have full control of the folders on the 8. None can open any folders kn the laptop. On the 1st 10 desktop, I have full control while on the 2nd I can only get into 1 of the drive folders.

Glad they made this so much worse with almost no detailed info on how to make it work in the new environment.
 

JoeBleed

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2000
1,408
30
91
how to make it work:

1. put them all in the same workgroup. by default it may be "workgroup" unless that's changed in 8 and 10.
2. setup user accounts. either same username/password on every box or just know which box uses which un/pw
3. setup sharing permissions by right clicking on the drive or folder that you want to share, properties, click the share tab, then advance sharing
4. create the share name (files, movies, music, archive, or what ever)
5. click permissions
6. Some say just give everyone rights, i prefer to give the user accounts or groups rights individually. it's more work, but it's what i do. So to be easy, just give Everyone Change and Read rights. than apply the changes
7. Now set the file security rights by clicking on the Security tab from the same properties window from step 3.
8. Here is where you add the user accounts or groups. click Edit. Then click Add. type in the usernames or groups separated by a ; and then click check names to make sure they are right. if they're right, you should see their full name underlined. then click OK.
9. That brings you back to the security window where you'll now go to the each user account or group you added and select which rights you want them to have. if you want them all to have read/write then just click "Modify" and it will check the rest of the needed rights. read rights are default. click apply. pending on how many files are there, this could take a while.
10. now you're done as far as ability to access. now you should be able to brows to the share or map the drive.

It's the way i've done it ever sense i discovered windows NT 4. The only thing nice i have to say about home groups is it seemed to make it easier on people that refuse to use a centralized file server/share.

I'll tell you like i've told other small offices i've helped in the past, even if you don't or can't invest in a NAS, setting up one share on one desktop is a good start. makes creating backups much easier and helps keep files from having different versions from one computer to another.

If you're doing this in the home for family files, my above advice still works, but if it's only for you to access the other computers and you have an administrator account on each machine you can simply access them using the default admin share. pull up explorer and in the address bar just type in \\computername\c$ where "computername" is the actual computer name you're trying to access it. c$ represents the default admin share for C: drive. you could do d$ if you have a second drive or what ever drive letter shows up in explorer. with the exception of removable drives. they don't get admin shares.
 

lupi

Lifer
Apr 8, 2001
32,539
260
126
I'll have to wait till I'm in front of mine to read through that more thoroughly, but these are basically all just for me using the same local account name on each.

What was really odd, on the 2nd 10 desktop with c, d, and e shared I could only access e. All had same share settings but when you right clicked c or d to look at properties if didnt show the same options as e and had a message about security ownership could not be determined.
 

lupi

Lifer
Apr 8, 2001
32,539
260
126
Adding additional user details in the security tab has let me access the folders, but I'm running across security errors when I try and copy a remote folder onto another computer. It's giving me file access permission denied messages.

At least it did when I tried to copy a folder from computer A while on computer B to computer B desktop. I am now copying A's folder while on computer A pasting to B desktop through explorer without any errors.


May have given myself some type of folder security setting error when adjusting A, anyway to restore all settings to default and trying again? Tried to unshare and reestablish and that didn't seem to change anything.
 
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