Windows 10: Microsoft retires HomeGroup - gHacks Tech News

Windows 10: Microsoft retires HomeGroup

Microsoft plans to remove the HomeGroup functionality from its Windows 10 operating system. The company made the first step towards that goal in the most recent Insider Preview version of Windows 10 as it disabled it in that build.

In "a note about HomeGroup" in the release announcement of the Windows 10 Insider Build, Microsoft confirms that HomeGroup will be retired.

The company introduced HomeGroup in Windows 7 as a new option for home users to access printers, files, and media in home networks. The core idea was to assign all devices to a single HomeGroup to share access to files and printers between all devices.

It is unclear how popular the feature was and is. It is clear however that it was never the only option that Windows users had in this regard, and it was not the best either for certain use cases. You could not add Mac OS X or Linux devices to a HomeGroup for instance.

The end of HomeGroup

windows homegroup retire

Easily connecting to and sharing the important pieces of your digital life with those who matter most has never been easier with today’s Modern PCs and the cloud. Whether it’s connecting PCs and printers on your home network via the Share functionality in Windows or using OneDrive to share a photo album of your last vacation, Windows 10 makes connecting multiple devices and sharing content streamlined and simple. And it’s because of that evolution that with today’s build you’ll start to see us retire the HomeGroup service.

While Microsoft removed the HomeGroup feature starting with the recently released build, it has not touched the user profile that is used for sharing nor the file, folder and printer shares; these continue to work.

As it stands right now, Microsoft will pull HomeGroup from the next feature update of Windows 10 that will be out in March 2018. This won't affect the feature on previous versions of Windows, nor on previous versions of the Windows 10 operating system.

Microsoft's explanation for the retiring of the HomeGroup feature is that it is not needed anymore. HomeGroup was "great" in the pre-cloud and pre-mobile era the company notes; the feature has run its course and has been replaced by modern alternatives so Microsoft.

Microsoft recommends two company features to replace HomeGroup on devices running Windows 10:

  • OneDrive for file storage.
  • The Share functionality to share folders and printers without using the cloud.
  • Using Microsoft Accounts to share data between apps that support syncing (e.g. Mail app).

Now You: Have you used HomeGroup functionality on your Windows machines? (via Günter Born)

Windows 10: Microsoft retires HomeGroup
Article Name
Windows 10: Microsoft retires HomeGroup
Microsoft announced plans to remove the HomeGroup functionality from the next major version of its Windows 10 operating system.
Ghacks Technology News

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    1. jupe said on December 20, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Never understood its usefulness, I’ve always just used the inbuilt file sharing since NT4, I’m quite happy they are removing it because it’s one less thing that I have to disable via GPO, and a couple less services running on a fresh install.

    2. Dave said on December 20, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      I never used it because of the lack of compatibility across different OS.

      I won’t ever use onedrive either because the tiny bit of “cloud” services we use are already done with google.

      Too complicated, too late M$.

      If M$ wants to one up google and apple, come up with a mobile OS that works on any device and continues to receive current security updates.

      Apple OS updates routinely kill off older (only a few years) devices and android is the worst flustercluck of different OS versions anyone has ever seen.

      Cure those issues and people will flock like ants to a picnic.

    3. Klaas Vaak said on December 20, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      I hate that thing whose icon sometimes appears on my desktop screen when I fire up my Win 8.1/64-bit PC. I don’t have a home network so am not interested in this feature.

    4. Jacques said on December 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      How would you achieve this without a home group please?
      I have 10 computers on a network all of their documents point to 1 PC so that if changes are made on any document it is the same everywhere. There is one folder however with sensitive info only available on that PC and 1 other, I do this by unsharing that folder and then sharing it on the home group which I have created with that 1 PC. So all computers can see all documents except for that 1 folder which only 1 other PC can see.
      Any ideas, anyone?

      1. Doc said on December 20, 2017 at 11:19 pm

        The old File and Printers Sharing feature (that has been there since Windows for Workgroups) should work just fine. There’s plenty of support for it on the Web. I’ve never used Homegroup on my PCs; simply sharing a folder (or printer) over the network has always been sufficient.

    5. Kyle said on December 20, 2017 at 11:12 pm

      I use it all the time on my local network. I do not want to connect to the cloud just to connect my local computers. MS can shove it! Tired of useless features being added while useful features are being removed.

      1. Anonymous said on February 10, 2018 at 10:45 am

        I agree with Kyle 100%, I have 6 computers homegrouped, and use it every day. Windows One drive free storage space is not big enough to hold all of data on some of my computers.I don’t plan on paying for more just because they remove the homegroup feature.

        1. Farmers said on February 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm

          You still have the ability to share folders etc using Workgroup networking, which hasn’t gone away.

    6. Anonymous said on December 21, 2017 at 4:01 am

      i think it would benefit business users for businesses but for home users it wont be essential for everyday use

    7. Andrew said on December 21, 2017 at 6:03 pm

      Makes sense as it was never used.

    8. Mike Mckay said on December 23, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      The homegroup function was like many other M$ products severely flawed and often appeared like it wasn’t even ready for beta release

      Many users have had issues with machines not being able to see each other despite being in the same homegroup, others not even being able to see or join the homegroup and various other problems none of which I have ever seen an MS support staff member offer a solution or fix for despite following countless threads on various sites including the MS support site about these issues

      In their defence however I think the idea was good, and when it works it works well. But when it doesn’t even Microsoft don’t seem to have the faintest idea why its not working nor how to fix it. Which I guess for M$ with their habit of using end users for their beta testers on barely beta worthy products and updates isn’t really that surprising

      All I think multi PC users needed was a slight “buff” and some extra features to the workgroup approach, which admittedly MS did try to do, but as is often the case they tried to do too much without enough testing and then left users to figure it out themselves whilst they pretended there wasn’t even a problem whilst at the same time “retiring” their home server product which wasn’t actually too bad, go figure….

    9. JoW said on December 24, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      This has been a joke since day 1. Ever tried to set one up? Look on the Net and you find thousands of frustrated users who p**** away DAYS and M$ response never once nailed it. Even saw one rep say format your disk.

      WTF? You have 3 or 4 networked PCs and to share they want you to go to the Cloud? LMFAO….

      What a freaking joke.

    10. Farmers said on December 25, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Like others here, I still used Workgroup (as opposed to Homegroup) networking. The only problem I’ve found on Windows 10 is that if the ‘Server’ machine is logged on with a MS account nobody can access any shares from it. It only works if it’s a Local account on that machine. The ‘Client’ machines can be logged on however you wish, it makes no difference.

      I use this mainly for running programs from the ‘Server’ or copying files to and from it, so ‘Cloud’ networking is out of the question for me.

    11. JW500 said on December 29, 2017 at 1:33 am

      I agree this is stupid. There was a good program called “Network Magic” that worked fine until Cisco pulled support. Then I turned to Homegroup which was hit and miss. Right now, to move a large file or two (too large to email) from one computer to the next is a big hassle. Half the time, you can’t access the networked computer even though the folder is set to share or it wants a password even if there is no password enabled on the computer.

      1. farmers said on December 29, 2017 at 11:12 am

        Yes, you do still have to ensure the ‘Security’ tab for the folder you share has been checked to ensure ‘Everybody’ has permissions to access it. The password thing is also often associated with ‘advanced sharing settings’ in the Network & Sharing Centre. Under ‘all networks’ there’s an option to turn on password-protected sharing – which it’s as well to keep an eye on, as Windows keeps turning it back on by itself when a ‘feature update’ gets installed.

        I’ve also found that if you sign in using an MS account on the ‘server’ machine you don’t seem to have a cat in hell’s chance of accessing shares from anothermachine. It will always present a login prompt to access the share, that doesn’t seem to accept any meaningful combination of user & password.

    12. Joe said on March 12, 2018 at 4:28 am

      My peeve with the old peer-to-peer Workgroup networking at home was the unreliability of connectivity due to master browser, backup browser and forced election behavior.
      I attempted to do nightly backups over the Workgroup during overnight hours. Invariably a master browser would not respond to queries (probably due to the load of the backup process on the pcs and bandwidth), then an election would be forced, then the backup would fail while it was in progress due to loss of connectivity.
      It didn’t take me long to figure I was better off with an additional local hard drive just for storing backups of the primary C:\ drive.
      I was happy to try Homegroup when it was introduced (never again for backups over the network, though), being that it was promoted to be like having a domain without a real domain controller.
      Homegroup always seems to have its own set of problems, though.
      Granted, I always had, and still do have, a mix of Windows versions on my home pcs that makes the problems more likely. It shouldn’t be that way, though.

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