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.
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 HomeGroup was "great" in the pre-cloud and pre-mobile era the company notes; the feature has run its course and has been replaced by modern alternatives so Microsoft.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:
Now You: Have you used HomeGroup functionality on your Windows machines? (via Günter Born)
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