If you are a fan of the HomeGroup feature, here is bad news for you. Starting with the recently released Windows 10 Build 17063, Microsoft is retiring the HomeGroup feature. It is no longer fully functional and will be removed in the near future.
The HomeGroup feature is a simplified solution from Microsoft to provide file sharing ability between all computers in your home network without the hassles of complex permissions, setting up folder shares and accessing them via UNC paths. With HomeGroup, you were able to share photos, music and videos files, various office documents and also printers. Also, you could allow other family members to change files that you have shared.
According to Microsoft, Windows HomeGroup was a terrific feature in the pre-cloud and pre-mobile era, but now it is outdated. The company now offers the following alternatives for file sharing:
- File Storage:
- OneDrive is a cloud-first, cross-device storage and collaboration platform for all of the pieces of data that matter most in your life – like your files, your photos, your videos, and more.
- OneDrive Files On-Demand takes cloud file storage a step further, allowing you to access all your files in the cloud without having to download them and use storage space on your device.
- Share Functionality: For those who prefer not to use the Cloud to connect their devices, the Share functionality for folders and printers allows you to see the available devices and connect them to and from other PCs on your home network.
- Easier Connection: No more remembering cryptic HomeGroup passwords in order to connect to another PC. You can now simply connect through your Microsoft Account email address across devices.
So, HomeGroup may continue to function on machines with the Fall Creators Update installed. However, it may not work in the release that follows. The user profile used for sharing and the file/folder/printer shares will continue to work.
- How to Create a HomeGroup in Windows 10
- How To Add HomeGroup Desktop Icon in Windows 10
- How To Change HomeGroup Password in Windows 10
- Add HomeGroup Context Menu in Windows 10
- How to remove HomeGroup icon from Windows 10 File Explorer
What do you think about the discontinuation of the HomeGroup feature?
Personally, I never found it very useful compared to the traditional network file sharing built into Windows which is very robust, reliable and easy to use. While Microsoft recommends you OneDrive, Windows SMB networking is still the best way to share files locally between computers in a network and it isn't going away anywhere.