This is part of a new weekly series featuring content written by the Lenovo Companion App Content Team
With Windows 8.1, it’s easier than ever to set up a home network. You can connect multiple PCs to printers, smartphones and other wireless devices to share music, videos and documents.
The quickest way to start “networking” with other devices in your home is to set up a HomeGroup. Any computer running Windows 8.1 can create or join a HomeGroup. It’s the simplest way to share files and folders, and takes seconds to set up:
First, Prepare Your System For Sharing On A Home Network
For a HomeGroup to work, you’ll need to turn on the "Find devices and content" feature:
- Swipe in from the right edge of your screen
- Go to Settings, then Change PC settings
- Tap or click Network
- Tap or click Connections, and select your network connection
- Turn on Find devices and content
Turning on this feature automatically adjusts firewall and security settings. You can turn it off at anytime.
Next, Create or Join a HomeGroup
If you’re setting up a new computer, your HomeGroup will be created automatically. If a HomeGroup already exists on your network, you'll be asked to join it instead of creating a new one.
After following steps 1 and 2 above, you can:
Add a HomeGroup: Tap or click “HomeGroup,” then “Create.” Note the auto-generated password, which will be required when adding another Lenovo system to the group.
Join a HomeGroup: Enter the HomeGroup password and tap or click “Join.”
Next, select the libraries and devices you want to share within the HomeGroup and set permission levels.
Once your HomeGroup is set up, the easiest way to access shared files is through File Explorer. Tap or click “Search" in the upper right corner of your screen. Enter “File Explorer” in the search box, where you’ll see user account names for available libraries. Simply click or tap on a library for full access to folders and files.
To share individual files or folders, select the item you want to share and click or tap the “share” tab. You can share with all members of your HomeGroup, or select a specific user account to share with one person.
If you don’t want an item to be shared, select “stop sharing.”
Another HomeGroup feature is the ability to share media within your network. You can send pictures to a digital frame, share music on a network media player and even send movies to your TV—no more USBs, clunky transfers or crowding around a monitor for entertainment!
If you want to allow devices like TVs and game consoles to play shared content, simply click or tap the control under Media devices. Just keep in mind that shared media isn't secure, so anyone connected to your network can receive it.
Read more about streaming content to multiple devices in this blog post.
- If a system is turned off or hibernating, it won't appear in the HomeGroup.
- For a printer to be accessible in a HomeGroup, the computer the printer is connected to must be turned on.
- If you can’t see shared items on a network, ask the person who’s sharing them for the path (which should begin with \\pcname\) and enter it in your address bar.
- If you’re not prompted to enter a password when searching for a HomeGroup to join, it’s likely because there isn’t one available. You can create a new HomeGroup by following the steps above.
Turning on “Find Devices and Content” changes your firewall settings, which can be a security risk. Check out more security tips to protect your computer in this blog post.
Lenovo Companion—Your New Go-To App
If you like reading this type of content, make sure to check out the Lenovo Companion app that is preloaded on all Windows 8 and 8.1 Lenovo and Think systems.You can find it on your system in the Lenovo Apps section on the Windows Start Screen.
Lenovo Companion is filled with exclusive content to help you learn about your new Lenovo or Think system. You'll find quick-reference “how to” articles on everything from getting to know the preloaded apps on your system to how to use your new trackpad. And, in select countries, you'll be able to stay up-to-date on technology news with articles and blogs from trusted sources, partners and Lenovo Insider bloggers.
Be sure to note...the new version of Lenovo Companion is only available on Windows 8.1. So, if you’re running Windows 8 or an older version of Windows, now is the time to upgrade. Continue reading more about Lenovo Companion in this blog post.
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