Making use of HomeGroups in Windows7

Over the weekend, I was trying to setup HomeGroups for a Windows7-only network, for a SOHO network in Vancouver. The steps appear to be straightforward but getting it to work with printing was quite a different story.

One desktop runs the Windows 7 64bit Professional edition with a locally attached Brother MFC printer. This desktop PC will act as the print server for the other PCs on this SOHO LAN. To do this, I set the membership for this desktop to a Home network and walked through the wizard to assign an easy to remember password. I went to the advanced network configuration and ensured file and printer sharing was enabled, and turned off prompts for passwords where access to shared resource is concerned.

On another wireless laptop, we have a laptop running the 32-bit edition of Windows7 Professional. I joined the laptop to the existing Homegroup we have setup on the desktop, typed in the same password, and the wizard fails. Laptop is not able to connect. I turned off Windows firewall on both deskop and laptop but that didn’t work either.

After redoing the network settings for Homegroups multiple times, I finally fixed it by disabling Symantec Endpoint on the laptop and Windows Security Essential on the desktop. Who would have thought of that? I was able to join the Homegroup now and am able to share files. Printing is still not quite working and I think it may be be related to 64bit printer driver and I’ll get this resolved soon enough.

The setup was frustrating and obviously we will need to enable the Symantec Endpoint and Windows Security Essentials eventually. I’ll elaborate on configurations in future posts as soon as I get it stable. If you have any suggesstions in getting it to work, comments are appreciated.

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