The Homegroup is a very useful networking feature that allows users to share their libraries, folders and devices with just a few clicks. Windows 8 allows you to manage Homegroup connections both from the Control Panel and PC Settings. Since we have covered the Control Panel in one of our tutorials, here's how to work with the Homegroup from PC Settings.
NOTE: In order for the Homegroup feature to work, you need to set the network connection correctly. This guide will help you understand how to set your active network connection: Simple Questions: What are Network Locations in Windows 7 & Windows 8?. Also, if you are not familiar with the homegroup feature, you should read this guide that explains all the important basics: What is the HomeGroup & How it Works.
How to Create a Homegroup from PC Settings
Open PC Settings. If you don't know how, read this step by step tutorial: Introducing Windows 8: Five Ways to Access PC Settings.
Then, scroll down to the Homegroup section and click or tap on it.
On the right of the PC Settings window, you will see some text saying "Create a homegroup"?> followed by some explanations and a Create button.
Click or tap Create. Windows 8 takes a while to create the homegroup, generate its password and default settings.
After a while, the Homegroup is created and a new set of options is displayed, about what to share with the other computers and devices that are part of the same Homegroup.
To learn to configure what is being shared on the Homegroup, read the How to Set What is Shared with the Homegroup from PC Settings section below.
How to Connect to a Homegroup from PC Settings
If the Homegroup was created by another computer on the network, Windows 8 shares that "A homegroup is available".
You are asked to enter the password set for the Homegroup connecting.
In the "Enter homegroup password" text box, type the password. Then, click or tap Join.
Windows 8 takes a while to connect and apply the default settings.
You are now connected and you can start sharing libraries and devices with other computers that are part of the Homegroup.
How to Set What is Shared with the Homegroup from PC Settings
After you have created a Homegroup or you have joined one, you can set what is being shared.
In PC Settings, in the Homegroup section look at the settings displayed on the right.
On the top, you have the Libraries and devices section with several switches. For each of the standard libraries, there is a switch that can be set to Shared or Not shared.
Set these switches so that you share only those libraries you want shared. Everything that is shared, is shared using Read only permissions. Other computers and devices cannot delete or modify the contents of your shared libraries.
If you scroll a bit lower, you see the Media devices section. Here you can set whether you allow all devices on the network, such as TVs and consoles to play media content shared by you.
If you set the switch to ON, your music, pictures and videos are available for streaming, from other devices on your network, including your Xbox or Playstation console.
How to View the Homegroup Password in PC Settings
If you have forgotten your Homegroup password and you need to use it on another computer or device, you can always find it in PC Settings.
Go to the Homegroup tab, click or tap on it and then, on the right, look for the Membership section.
There you will find the Homegroup password.
How to Leave the Homegroup from PC Settings
Leaving the Homegroup is done from the Membership section mentioned above. Beneath the password field, you have the Leave button.
Click or tap on it and then wait for a few seconds.
What You Can't Do from PC Settings
Unlike the Homegroup section in Control Panel, there are some tasks you cannot perform in PC Settings.
First of all, you cannot change the Homegroup password from PC Settings. Second, you can turn sharing on or off only for the default libraries existing in Windows 8: Documents, Music, Pictures and Videos. Additional libraries or folders can be shared only from File Explorer.
Last but not least, you cannot set the permissions assigned to the libraries you share. The default permissions assigned are Read only.
As you can see, managing the Homegroup is done with ease, also from PC Settings. Creating a Homegroup, joining or leaving the Homegroup - all these tasks are performed with ease, both with touch and a mouse and keyboard.