Home Network Setup connecting Windows 7, XP and Vista

By Techblissonline Staff Updated on 28th July 2014 Filed Under: Tech Tips, Windows 7, Windows Tips, Windows Vista, Windows XP

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Do you want set up a home network connecting computers running Windows 7, XP and Vista? Here is a tutorial on setting up a network of computers running Windows 7, Vista and Windows XP.

If all your computers run windows 7, then the easiest way to set up a home network is to create a Homegroup. When you install windows 7, a Homegroup is automatically created. If a Homegroup already exists on your home network, you can join it.

To join or add a computer to Homegroup, click Start >> Control Panel and type HomeGroup in the search box. Then click HomeGroup >> Click Join now and then complete the wizard.

If you don’t see the “Join now” button, there might not be a Homegroup available. Make sure that someone has created a Homegroup first or you can choose to create a Homegroup yourself. But it is important to remember that in Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic, you can join a Homegroup and you can’t create one.

A Homegroup links all computers in your network running windows 7 and sets it up for file and printer sharing i.e. you can share files, documents, pictures, music, videos and printers with other computers on the network. You can even protect your Homegroup with a password, which you can change at any time. The other computers can then join this Homegroup, using this password.

Home Network Setup connecting computers running windows 7, xp and vista

Often, not all computers that you run may have the same windows OS. Some computers may be running windows xp, a few may be running vista and a few others may be running windows 7. So, how do you network these computers to enable network file sharing.

First you need to set up the physical network.I am not going to detail how to set up the physical network here and there will be a separate tutorial on it.

Assuming that your physical network is setup connecting all the computers, the following need to be done for the computers in the network to find each other. If a few computers in the network run windows xp, it is important to use the same Workgroup name for all other computers in the network. You must also keep in mind that the default Workgroup name is not the same in all versions of Windows.

Change Workgroup name on computers running Windows XP

The first step is to ascertain the Workgroup name in a computer running Windows XP. This is how you can find it.

  • Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  • In System Properties window, click the Computer Name tab to see the workgroup name. Your computer name is what you had given when you installed windows xp. To change the name, click Change, type the new name in Computer name, and then click OK.

Make sure that you give the same Workgroup name in all other computers (in the network) running windows xp.

Change Workgroup name in computers running Windows Vista or Windows 7

The next step is to find and change the workgroup name in all other computers running Windows Vista or Windows 7.Follow the steps outlined below in all such computers, to change them to the same workgroup name as in computers running windows xp.

  • 1. Click the Start button , right-click Computer, and then click Properties.
  • 2. Under “Computer name, domain and workgroup settings”, you will find the current computer name and workgroup. Click “Change settings”. A “System Properties” windows will pop up. In the “Computer Name” tab, click “Change”. In the “Computer Name/Domain Changes” window, type the name of the workgroup you want to use, under “Workgroup” and then click “OK”. You will then be prompted to restart your computer, for the new workgroup name to take effect.

Change Network location in computers running Windows Vista or Windows 7

Next, check the network location in all computers running Windows Vista or Windows 7. It should be “Home” for your Home network.

Open Network and Sharing Center by clicking Start >> Control Panel >> Network and internet >> Network and Sharing Center. The network location type is displayed below the network name. If it is “Public“, it implies that the computer is connected to a network that’s available for public use. If it is “Work“, it implies that the computer is connected to a network that has some level of protection from the Internet and contains known or trusted computers. If it is “Domain“, the computer is connected to a network that contains an Active Directory domain controller. Domain is used in large enterprises while small businesses use “Work“.

To change the network location, click the network location link (for eg.,Public network) or the customize link, and then select the network location you want.

By changing your network location to “Home” or “Work”, network discovery is automatically turned on. You can also turn on these sharing options individually.

Turn on network discovery, file sharing, public folder sharing, and printer sharing

To turn on network discovery, file and printer sharing, and public folder sharing in Windows 7, do the following.

  • 1. Open Advanced sharing settings by clicking Start >> Control Panel. In the search box, type network, click Network and Sharing Center, and then in the left pane, click Change advanced sharing settings.
  • 2. Click the dropdown icon (chevron) to expand the Home or Work network profile.
  • 3. Select the options to turn on network discovery and file sharing.
  • 4. Under Public folder sharing, do one of the following.
    • To share your Public folders with people using other computers in the network, click Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open files.
    • To share your Public folders so that people using other computers in the network can open files in them and also create or change files, click Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open, change, and create files.

Finally, Click Save changes. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

To turn on network discovery, file sharing, public folder sharing, and printer sharing in Windows Vista, do the following

  • 1. Open Network and Sharing Center by clicking Start >> Control Panel >> Network and internet >> Network and Sharing Center
  • 2. Under Sharing and Discovery, click the drop-down icon (chevron) next to File sharing to expand the section. click Turn on file sharing, and then click Apply. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • 3. Click the drop-down icon (chevron) next to Public folder sharing to expand the section, and then do one of the following.
    • To share the Public folder so that people using other computers in the network can open files in it but can’t create or change files, click Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open files, and then click Apply. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation. This is the default setting.
    • To share the Public folder so that people using other computers in the network can open files in it and also create or change files, click Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open, change, and create files, and then click Apply. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.
  • 4, Next, click the drop-down icon (chevron) next to Printer sharing to expand the section, click Turn on printer sharing, and then click Apply. If you’re prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

If you’re using any firewall other than Windows Firewall, make sure you open up the following ports.

  • To find other computers running Windows Vista or Windows 7, open these ports – UDP 3702, UDP 5355, TCP 5357, TCP 5358.
  • To find other computers running earlier versions of Windows, and to use file and printer sharing on any version of Windows, open these ports – UDP 137, UDP 138, TCP 139, TCP 445, UDP 5355
  • To find network devices, open these ports – UDP 1900, TCP 2869, UDP 3702, UDP 5355, TCP 5357, TCP 5358
  • To make HomeGroup work correctly between computers running Windows 7, open these ports – UDP 137, UDP 138, TCP 139, TCP 445, UDP 1900, TCP 2869, UDP 3540, TCP 3587, UDP 3702, UDP 5355, TCP 5357, TCP 5358

That is it.You can also turn on password-protected sharing in computers running windows 7 and vista.

This is a detailed guide on setting up a home network connecting computers running Windows 7, XP and Vista.This enables network sharing to share files and more.

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One Response to “Home Network Setup connecting Windows 7, XP and Vista”

  1. I have followed everyone’s advice on the subject of sharing files between Windows 7 and Windows XP but I am still having problems. I can ping my XP machine from Windows 7 successfully yet Windows 7 doesn’t show XP in the Network. How can I overcome this problem?

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