Sharing between XP & Win7: workgroups vs. homegroups?


Y

Yousuf Khan

Okay basic question here, are what were known as "workgroups" in XP and
earlier, now known as "homegroups" in Vista and later?

Why do you need to set passwords when creating a homegroup, when there
was none needed with workgroups? If you want to connect to an XP machine
with workgroups, do you need to disable or enable homegroups? Will a
password-enabled homegroup work with a non-passworded workgroup?

Yousuf Khan
 
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Z

Zootal

Okay basic question here, are what were known as "workgroups" in XP and
earlier, now known as "homegroups" in Vista and later?

Why do you need to set passwords when creating a homegroup, when there
was none needed with workgroups? If you want to connect to an XP machine
with workgroups, do you need to disable or enable homegroups? Will a
password-enabled homegroup work with a non-passworded workgroup?

Yousuf Khan
Connecting to an XP machine with Win7 is the same as always. And sharing
files on a Win7 machine is the same as always. I don't even know what a
"homegroup" is, and didn't need to know to share files between Win7 and XP.
For that matter, I ignored the Microsoft definition of "workgroups" as
well. If I want to connect to a machine, I always do it via its ip address,
and could not care less what "workgroup" or "homegroup" it is a member of.

YMMV - doing it this way may not be desirable for you.

Edit: OK, so I looked up the definition of "homegroup". And my reaction was
yippee freakin' doo....it does not change how I do things.

Look here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/features/homegroup.aspx
 
C

Char Jackson

Connecting to an XP machine with Win7 is the same as always. And sharing
files on a Win7 machine is the same as always. I don't even know what a
"homegroup" is, and didn't need to know to share files between Win7 and XP.
For that matter, I ignored the Microsoft definition of "workgroups" as
well. If I want to connect to a machine, I always do it via its ip address,
and could not care less what "workgroup" or "homegroup" it is a member of.

YMMV - doing it this way may not be desirable for you.
Same here, I use IP's and ignore workgroup names, but that works for
me because all of the IP's on my network are statically assigned.
People who use DHCP might have some issues with your and my approach.
 
R

Roy Smith

Same here, I use IP's and ignore workgroup names, but that works for
me because all of the IP's on my network are statically assigned.
People who use DHCP might have some issues with your and my approach.
I use a program called Network Magic from Cisco
(http://www.purenetworks.com/). It makes setting up a home network
super easy for those who are technically challenged.

--

Roy Smith
Windows 7 Home Premium

Timestamp: Sunday, February 21, 2010 5:31:18 AM
 
K

Ken Blake, MVP

Okay basic question here, are what were known as "workgroups" in XP and
earlier, now known as "homegroups" in Vista and later?

No.

First of all, homegroups are in Windows 7, not in Vista.

Second, homegroups and workgroups are somewhat different, and in
Windows 7, you can use either.
 
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Z

Zootal

Same here, I use IP's and ignore workgroup names, but that works for
me because all of the IP's on my network are statically assigned.
People who use DHCP might have some issues with your and my approach.
Yah, good point - I assign specific IP address to all of my machines, and
know what they are. Not all routers let you do this, and not everyone out
there knows how to find the ip address for any specific machine. In a case
like that, a workgroup and machine name can be real handy.

I'm back and forth between Linux and Windows so much that I don't bother
relying on what Windows thinks any individual box is called.
 
M

Mortimer

Zootal said:
Yah, good point - I assign specific IP address to all of my machines, and
know what they are. Not all routers let you do this, and not everyone out
there knows how to find the ip address for any specific machine. In a case
like that, a workgroup and machine name can be real handy.

I'm back and forth between Linux and Windows so much that I don't bother
relying on what Windows thinks any individual box is called.
I've never bothered with workgroups and the Network Neighbo(u)rhood / My
Network to locate other PCs on the network. I simply refer to resources by
entering the UNC name of the form \\server\share\folder\file wherever it's
needed - when doing a net use (or the Explorer "Map Drive") equivalent, when
setting up a connection to a shared printer or when setting up a SyncToy
folder pair.

I tend not to bother with IP addresses, partly because it's easier to
remember a PC name than its IP address and partly because my present Dlink
router doesn't seem to have a way of getting its DHCP to permanently
allocate the same address to a given PC, unlike the (now brain-dead) Netgear
router that it replaces. I suppose I oughtn't to be a cheapskate and
actually buy another Netgear instead of using the Dlink which I happened to
have spare.

The only time I use IP addresses is if the router/PC stops resolving
hostname to IP and I need to access something quickly and can't be arsed to
reboot the PC(s) and/or router.
 
Z

Zootal

I've never bothered with workgroups and the Network Neighbo(u)rhood /
My Network to locate other PCs on the network. I simply refer to
resources by entering the UNC name of the form
\\server\share\folder\file wherever it's needed - when doing a net use
(or the Explorer "Map Drive") equivalent, when setting up a connection
to a shared printer or when setting up a SyncToy folder pair.

I tend not to bother with IP addresses, partly because it's easier to
remember a PC name than its IP address and partly because my present
Dlink router doesn't seem to have a way of getting its DHCP to
permanently allocate the same address to a given PC, unlike the (now
brain-dead) Netgear router that it replaces. I suppose I oughtn't to
be a cheapskate and actually buy another Netgear instead of using the
Dlink which I happened to have spare.

The only time I use IP addresses is if the router/PC stops resolving
hostname to IP and I need to access something quickly and can't be
arsed to reboot the PC(s) and/or router.
I'm a bit of a control freak :). Plus I need static IP addresses for my
web, ftp, and half-life servers.

Linksys routers are pretty good, the older WRT54G models (up to V3 or so,
before Linksys emasculated the hardware to keep us from messing with the
firmware), but you have to use alternative firmwares because for some
reason only known to Linksys, they refuse to put static ip ability into
their firmware. I use a couple WRT54Gs, V2 and V3 with tomato firmware.
They are rock solid. Avoid alchemy or talisman - despite the years of work
put into them, they are still flaky.
 
C

Char Jackson

Linksys routers are pretty good, the older WRT54G models (up to V3 or so,
before Linksys emasculated the hardware to keep us from messing with the
firmware), but you have to use alternative firmwares because for some
reason only known to Linksys, they refuse to put static ip ability into
their firmware. I use a couple WRT54Gs, V2 and V3 with tomato firmware.
They are rock solid. Avoid alchemy or talisman - despite the years of work
put into them, they are still flaky.
I'm running 6 Linksys WRT54GL's here, all with dd-wrt firmware. The
GL's are basically the old WRT54G v4 model, the last good model in
that line.
 
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Y

Yousuf Khan

Mortimer said:
I tend not to bother with IP addresses, partly because it's easier to
remember a PC name than its IP address and partly because my present
Dlink router doesn't seem to have a way of getting its DHCP to
permanently allocate the same address to a given PC, unlike the (now
brain-dead) Netgear router that it replaces. I suppose I oughtn't to be
a cheapskate and actually buy another Netgear instead of using the Dlink
which I happened to have spare.

The only time I use IP addresses is if the router/PC stops resolving
hostname to IP and I need to access something quickly and can't be arsed
to reboot the PC(s) and/or router.
That's unusual, all Dlink routers that I've had before always had a
mechanism for assigning static DHCP IP addresses to machines, based on
their MAC addresses. Besides, dynamic DHCP addresses are absolutely
necessary when you have mobile computers coming and going on your network.

Yousuf Khan
 
Y

Yousuf Khan

No.

First of all, homegroups are in Windows 7, not in Vista.

Second, homegroups and workgroups are somewhat different, and in
Windows 7, you can use either.
Is the idea that they are going to stop using workgroups in favour of
homegroups after this?

What was the reason for bringing out homegroups, which wasn't available
in workgroups?

Yousuf Khan
 
Y

Yousuf Khan

glee said:
"HomeGroup" is only for Windows 7 computers (it doesn't exist on Vista
or earlier systems). It is used to connect Windows 7 computers to each
other to share document and media libraries.

It has no relevance to your networking of Windows 7 with Vista or XP.
Okay, interesting, so what's the advantage over workgroups? Couldn't you
do all of that with workgroups?

Any idea why it takes so long for a Windows 7 computer to discover other
computers on the network? It could be several minutes after startup
before a Windows 7 machine lists other machines on the network. That's
part of the reason why I'm asking about homegroups vs. workgroups, is
there some interference between them?

Yousuf Khan
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

I'm a bit of a control freak :). Plus I need static IP addresses for my
web, ftp, and half-life servers.
Linksys routers are pretty good, the older WRT54G models (up to V3 or so,
before Linksys emasculated the hardware to keep us from messing with the
firmware), but you have to use alternative firmwares because for some
reason only known to Linksys, they refuse to put static ip ability into
their firmware. I use a couple WRT54Gs, V2 and V3 with tomato firmware.
They are rock solid. Avoid alchemy or talisman - despite the years of work
put into them, they are still flaky.
The statement "they refuse to put static ip ability into their
firmware" surprised me.

I have a WRT54GS, originally V2.1, currently running Linksys firmware
V4.7. It has always let me use static IP addresses in my network.

On the setup page under DHCP, there are two entries for this. First is
"Starting IP Address", where I can change only the last octet - I guess
because my subnet mask is 255.255.255.0. The next field is the maximum
number of DHCP users.

I can - and do - manually assign any unused IP address which is less
than the starting address and more than the sum of the two values (up
to 255, of course).
 
C

Char Jackson

The statement "they refuse to put static ip ability into their
firmware" surprised me.

I have a WRT54GS, originally V2.1, currently running Linksys firmware
V4.7. It has always let me use static IP addresses in my network.

On the setup page under DHCP, there are two entries for this. First is
"Starting IP Address", where I can change only the last octet - I guess
because my subnet mask is 255.255.255.0. The next field is the maximum
number of DHCP users.

I can - and do - manually assign any unused IP address which is less
than the starting address and more than the sum of the two values (up
to 255, of course).
You're describing standard DHCP functionality, and yes of course
Linksys includes that in every firmware release. I believe Zootal was
talking about 'static' DHCP (sometimes called 'reserved' DHCP), which
is where you configure the router to assign a specific IP address to a
given MAC address every time. Stock Linksys firmware doesn't provide
that functionality, AFAIK, but 3rd party firmware does.
 
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G

Gene E. Bloch

On Mon, 22 Feb 2010 17:24:51 -0800, Gene E. Bloch
You're describing standard DHCP functionality, and yes of course
Linksys includes that in every firmware release. I believe Zootal was
talking about 'static' DHCP (sometimes called 'reserved' DHCP), which
is where you configure the router to assign a specific IP address to a
given MAC address every time. Stock Linksys firmware doesn't provide
that functionality, AFAIK, but 3rd party firmware does.
OK.

I manually assigned the static IP addresses in the setup of each device
or computer as I installed it. That seemed good enough for me, since it
remains permanent - except for a Replay TV, which even when it had an
assigned IP address would occasionally get a new one from the router.
That was a bug, and since the company went out of business, it's not
going to be fixed. It's moot anyway - I have retired the box.

Anyway, I'm not too sure of the advantage of having the router assign
it, since you still have to tell the device not to use DHCP. Might as
well enter an IP at the same time.

No, I see one advantage. Keep DHCP on in the device, and it will get
the same address each time - in a given network. Carry it to a new
network and that DHCP will give it an IP address, but if the capability
exists there too, it will always be the same on that network, though
not necessarily equal to the value given by the first router.
 
C

Char Jackson

OK.

I manually assigned the static IP addresses in the setup of each device
or computer as I installed it. That seemed good enough for me, since it
remains permanent - except for a Replay TV, which even when it had an
assigned IP address would occasionally get a new one from the router.
That was a bug, and since the company went out of business, it's not
going to be fixed. It's moot anyway - I have retired the box.
That's also how my network is set up. All IP's are manually configured
and static.
Anyway, I'm not too sure of the advantage of having the router assign
it, since you still have to tell the device not to use DHCP. Might as
well enter an IP at the same time.
No, the device is configured to use DHCP, as you described below. It's
only the router that gets configured.
No, I see one advantage. Keep DHCP on in the device, and it will get
the same address each time - in a given network. Carry it to a new
network and that DHCP will give it an IP address, but if the capability
exists there too, it will always be the same on that network, though
not necessarily equal to the value given by the first router.
Exactly.
 
G

glee

Yousuf Khan said:
Okay, interesting, so what's the advantage over workgroups? Couldn't
you do all of that with workgroups?

Any idea why it takes so long for a Windows 7 computer to discover
other computers on the network? It could be several minutes after
startup before a Windows 7 machine lists other machines on the
network. That's part of the reason why I'm asking about homegroups vs.
workgroups, is there some interference between them?
Well, between two or more Win 7 computers, Homegroup just makes sharing
a little easier. It also allows media streaming and some other little
features. If you don't have more than one Win 7 computer, it doesn't do
anything for you.

When I upgraded my Vista system to Win 7, it asked during the final
configuration if I wanted to set up a Homegroup,. and I answered NO, so
I don't have a Homegroup enabled, just a Workgroup.

I don't see any delay with the computers discovering each other. I have
one Seven laptop and one XP Home laptop (both wireless), and an XP Pro
desktop (wired). You could try removing the Homegroup on Win 7, and see
if it makes a difference. Control Panel> Homegroup, click Leave
Homegroup> Leave Homegroup.

Otherwise, there is some other issue on the network, but I don't think
it is a general Win 7 issue.
 
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Y

Yousuf Khan

glee said:
Well, between two or more Win 7 computers, Homegroup just makes sharing
a little easier. It also allows media streaming and some other little
features. If you don't have more than one Win 7 computer, it doesn't do
anything for you.
Well, I will have two Sevens eventually. Right now one (less important)
machine is serving as a guinea pig for compatibility issues. Once I
resolve most of its issues, then I'll get to the other machine.
When I upgraded my Vista system to Win 7, it asked during the final
configuration if I wanted to set up a Homegroup,. and I answered NO, so
I don't have a Homegroup enabled, just a Workgroup.

I don't see any delay with the computers discovering each other. I have
one Seven laptop and one XP Home laptop (both wireless), and an XP Pro
desktop (wired). You could try removing the Homegroup on Win 7, and see
if it makes a difference. Control Panel> Homegroup, click Leave
Homegroup> Leave Homegroup.
Actually, I already did try to disable the Homegroups. I'd see a
computer on the Workgroup after several minutes, even though the
computers are pingable to each other, and I can directly access the
machines by using their absolute network names, such as
"\\machine1\folder1", or "\\machine2\printer1", even before they were
visible to the Seven machine's network neighbourhood.

So I thought that maybe disabling Homegroups would aid in discovering
Workgroups sooner. After I disabled the Homegroups, I couldn't see the
other machines at all, and even the local machine own name wouldn't show
up in the list. So I re-enabled the Homegroups, and all of a sudden the
machines in the Workgroup all showed up at once! It's confusingly weird,
not sure what's going on here.
Otherwise, there is some other issue on the network, but I don't think
it is a general Win 7 issue.
Prior to this Seven install, I used to notice from the event logs that
my XP workgroup machines used to force a lot of master browser elections
between each other (i.e. source MRxSmb, event id 8003) constantly. On
some days there would be one such event every couple of hours or less.
Other times, it wouldn't have an issue for several days in a row.

Do Homegroups work in this same way? That is do they elect each other to
be masters and servants?

Yousuf Khan
 

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