With HomeGroup, Microsoft's latest take on peer-to-peer networking, you or a network administrator can make Libraries available to other Windows 7 users.For example, if you choose to let others access your Original Photos archive, you can make it a publicly available folder so that other people on the network can access the photos in it. HomeGroup also lets you share printers.
Microsoft improved this style of networking in several ways this time around. First, HomeGroup requires password security before PCs can be connected to the network. Once such security is in place, you can require users to enter a password before accessing HomeGroup files. In the past, Windows was far too lax about letting users set up home networks that were wide open to anyone who sat down at a PC.
Even though it's more secure, HomeGroup is easy to set up, thanks to the included setup wizard and configuration dialog box. By default, HomeGroup makes all of a computer's Libraries sharable. However, Windows 7 makes it easy for you to decide what to share and what not to share.
You can also share individual folders, but Libraries are better for sharing files. Users and administrators have the option of letting other people view but not edit Library files.
And unlike in earlier takes on Windows peer-to-peer networking, a PC can belong to both a HomeGroup and an older business domain or Active Directory (AD) network.
On the negative side, HomeGroups must consist of Windows 7 members only. Mac OS, Windows XP, and Windows Vista won't work with it. Still, if you're moving all of your PCs to Windows 7, it's a handy and easy way to set up peer-to-peer networking.
With Easy Connect and its underlying Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP), your help-desk, with your permission, can remotely connect to your Windows 7 PC to fix HomeGroup problems. This arrangement is much superior to the traditional "What do you see on your screen now?" back-and-forth of past years.
Remote Assistance did the same kind of work in XP and Vista. But Easy Connect is simpler and more secure. In addition to adopting password security, Easy Connect uses Windows 's built-in Teredo IPv6 network protocol tunneling over the Internet to provide more-secure connections between you and your tech-savvy troubleshooter.