Microsoft removed the HomeGroup feature from Windows 10 and it is no longer available in the latest April Update 1803. The HomeGroup appeared in Windows 7 and was intended to simplify the organization of a small home or office network. Using HomeGroup you can easily share files, folders and printers between your Windows devices. Although there is no HomeGroup in Windows 10, but you can still provide network access to your shared folders and printers using other built-in features of Windows 10.
In this article we’ll show you how to share network folders, files and printers on your Windows 10 1803 computer without using a HomeGroup (using only the built-in SMB Protocol functionality).
HomeGroup missing after Windows 10 1803
Since Windows 10 1803 it is no longer possible to create a HomeGroup. This feature has been removed in the latest builds. On the one hand, I think this is the right step. The HomeGroup setup is rather confusing and relatively complex for the home user.
After upgrading your Windows 10 to the version 1803, you will come across the fact that:
- The HomeGroup section does not appear in the Explorer navigation panel;
- The HomeGroup item is missing in the Control Panel. This means that you can’t create, join or leave a HomeGroup;
- You can’t share files and printers using the HomeGroup;
- All shared printers and folders created with the HomeGroup will be still available. But you can’t create new ones.
However, in Windows 10, you can still share resources that were previously shared within the HomeGroup. Simply, the sharing process looks a bit different.
How to Configure Sharing Options in Windows 10
For the correct operation of your computer with Windows 10 1803 as a server that shares folders and printers with other devices on the local network, you need to configure some network services and sharing options.
We described all these settings and services in the detailed article Windows 10 not showing computers in network.
In the Windows settings (on both computers), go to the Settings -> Network and Internet -> select your network connection (Ethernet or Wi-Fi) -> Change advanced sharing options.
Then in the Private section enable the options:
- Turn on network discovery;
- Turn on file and printer sharing.
In the All networks section select the following sections:
- Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can read and write files in the Public folder;
- Turn off password protected sharing.
Verify that the following conditions are true:
- All computers on your local network use unique names and IP addresses;
- The type of network is Private;
- If your network still has computers with old versions of Windows installed (XP, Vista), you will have to enable SMBv1 protocol support for their communication with Windows 10, and allow network access under the guest account (see the article);
- Change the startup type of the Function Discovery Resource Publication and Function Discovery Provider Host services to start automatically. Otherwise, when accessing network resources, you may receive the error 0x80070035: The network path was not found.
You need to set the same settings on another Windows 10 computer, which will be used as a client and access shared resources over the network.
How to Share a Printer on Windows 10 1803
In Windows 10, you can share a printer connected to your computer with other network devices. We assume that you have already connected the printer (via USB, LPT or wireless connection) and configured it on your computer.
Then follow these steps using the Windows 10 computer to which the printer is connected to:
- Go to the section Settings -> Devices -> Printers and scanners;
- Select the printer you want to share and click “Manage”;
- Open the “Printer Properties” section and go to the Sharing tab;
- Enable the option “Share this printer” and specify the network name of the printer. It is desirable that the name wouldn’t contain spaces and would consist only from English letters and digits (this printer name will be used to connect the printer on other computers);
Now you can connect this shared printer on another computer running Windows 10.
- Go to the section Settings -> Devices -> Printers and scanners;
- Press the button Add a printer or scanner;
- The system will search for new local and network printers;
- Select the printer you want to use and press “Add Device”;
- If the printer is not listed, select the option “The printer that I want isn’t listed”;
- Select the option “Select a shared printer by name” in the printer setup dialog box and specify the full network name of the printer, which includes the name (or IP address) of the computer on which the printer is shared. Use the following network name format \\Win10PCname\HPDeskjet2050 or http://Win10PCname/HPDeskjet2050/.printer
- Click Next. Now the wizard will install a new network printer and print driver.
- Now you can use this printer to print on a remote computer.
How to Share Files and Folders on Windows 10 without HomeGroup
Now let’s see how to share the local directory with other computers in your workgroup or domain over the network in Windows 10 April Update 1803.
- In Windows File Explorer locate the folder or file that you want to share;
- Right click on it and select Give access to -> Specific people;
- You can grant access to a specific account (with password access enabled: the user will be prompted for a password when accessing this network folder). Or you can enable access for all users, including anonymous (the Everyone group). In this case, the password will not be requested when accessing files in this network directory;
- When configuring permissions to access shared folder you can grant Read, Read/Write access or Remove access for the specific users or groups;
- If you have not previously enabled network discovery, you will be prompted to:Network discovery and file sharing
Do you want to turn on network discovery and file sharing for all public networks?
- No, make the network that i am connected to a private network (Network discovery and file sharing will be turned on for private networks, such as those in homes and workplaces).
- Yes, turn on network discovery and file sharing for all public networks.
- You will then receive a message that your folder is shared, and the link in the UNC format: \\Desktop-IOPF9\Distr. You can copy this link to the clipboard or send it to e-mail.
If you are setting up a home or office network, select that your network is private.
Now you can access this folder from another computer over the network. To do this, in the File Explorer window simply navigate to the address, for example: \\Desktop-IOPF9\Tools. For the convenience of the user, you can create a shortcut to the folder on your desktop or connect it as a network drive using the net use command.