Windows 7 HomeGroup

HomeGroup is a new home security feature of WIndows 7. HomeGroup resemble how you protect your home (an analogy I use in the Mac OS X Security book as well): Keep the outside doors locked and keep the interior doors unlocked (unless you’re on the crapper). HomeGroup can be initiated by any Windows 7 version other than Home Basic and Starter editions. Any Windows 7 machine can join a HomeGroup though and it is not a backwards compatible feature, meaning that if you’re still running Windows 95, 98 or Millineum don’t bother to upgrade (you probably can’t read this site anyway). But 2K to Vista, you gots’ta upgrade to play (not that this one feature is worth the upgrade). Provided all the computers that will be in your inner ring are running Windows 7, the new HomeGroup feature of Windows 7 allows you to share specified resources with others who join the HomeGroup by having each join using a password – a password that is different from the one to join the wireless network. Guests can access the network for Internet, or other untrusted access, without being given the password to join the HomeGroup. I’m not sold that anyone will allow guests to access the Internet in this fashion but I can see scenarios where it could happen (do people still have LAN Party’s). To setup a HomeGroup, click on the HomeGroup link at the bottom of the Network and Sharing Center. Then, click on the Create a HomeGroup button, selecting which Libraries to share to the inner circle (HomeGroup) by checking or unchecking the boxes. Click on Next to create the HomeGroup and distribute the provided password, or reset it in the Network and Sharing Center. Next, from each client, join the HomeGroup and then click on HomeGroup and then sharing options to control which resources to share from your computer. Now about the crapper comment from earlier, you can specifically exclude files in the inner ring as well. So if you’ve shared out a resource you do have the ability to get a little more granular with your controls. It’s not 802.1x, but for a little home tinkering security whatnot, it’s not half bad… File sharing still works pretty much the same, which means you can do almost all of this without using the “HomeGroup” feature, but it does make it a little easier for those new to sharing resources!