How to

File Sharing Without Homegroup in Windows 10

Sharing Without Homegroup
Written by Kelly Houstan

Microsoft introduced the HomeGroup feature in Windows 7 in order to simplify file sharing along with other Windows users. You could share files, folders, printers, and many other devices over a network at your home or office. But, the HomeGroup service has been removed from Windows 10. However, you can still share files and folders over a network in Windows 10, without even the HomeGroup feature. Just read this article to know all about File Sharing Without Homegroup in Windows 10. Let’s begin!

The HomeGroup feature of Windows allowed users in order to share files and resources along with other Windows computers over a small network, say their home or office network. With HomeGroup, users could easily share documents, pictures, media, printers, etc. over a local network easily actually.

File Sharing Without Homegroup in Windows 10

File Explorer in Windows 10 also has a built-in share option that permits you to share a folder with many other people over a network. And unlike the HomeGroup feature, using this option, you guys can share files with any device of any OS. Also includes Android, Mac, Linux, etc. Here’s how you guys can do it,

In the absence of HomeGroup, you can also share files using one of the three given methods:

Option 1. Use Onedrive

  • Head to File Explorer.
  • Move on to the OneDrive folder where the files you guys want to share are located.
  • Right-tap on the file that you guys want to share.
  • Choose ‘Share a OneDrive link’.
  • On doing this, a link to your file will actually be created and placed on your clipboard.
  • You guys can paste and then send this link through your desired service such as email.
  • Your file will be shared as well.
  • You can also right-click on your file and then choose ‘More OneDrive sharing options’ in order to configure expiration date, password, edit access, etc.

Option 2. Use an App to Share

If you guys want to share files with someone only a few times and wouldn’t need a regular connection. Then you can use the Windows Share functionality. In order to share files using this method,

  • Head to File Explorer.
  • Now Locate the folder where the file that you want to share is present.
  • Choose one or more files you want to share. You can also share multiple files via pressing down the Ctrl key whenever selecting files.
  • Now, just tap on the ‘Share’ tab.
  • You have to tap on ‘Share’.
  • Choose the app that you guys want to share your file through.
  • Now follow any further instructions provided.
  • Your file will be shared now.

You can also send the selected files as an email through clicking on the Email in the Share tab.

Option 3. Share over a Network

In order to share files over a local network, you can use this method. Before, sharing your files over a network, you will have to turn on file and printer sharing options.

Turn on Network Discovery And Sharing Options

  • First, tap on the Start button on your taskbar.
  • Then click on the gear icon in order to open Settings.
  • Tap on ‘Network & Internet in the settings window.
  • Then tap on ‘Sharing options’.
  • The advanced sharing settings window will now open.
  • Also, under the ‘Private’ section, tap on the radio button for ‘Turn on Network discovery.
  • Make sure that the ‘Turn on automatic setup of networked connected devices’ checkbox is also checked.
  • Also, enable the ‘Turn on file and printer sharing’ radio button.
  • Further, you can expand the ‘All Networks’ block.
  • You can optionally turn on ‘Public folder sharing if you guys want people on your home network to be able to access or modify your default public folders as well.
  • You can also select to enable password-protected sharing if you want it.

Sharing Without Homegroup

  • Tap on ‘Save changes.
  • Network discovery will be enabled on your PC as well.
  • You can follow the same steps on each computer on your local network.
  • All the computers on your network will now appear in the ‘Network’ section of your File Explorer.

Configure file sharing over a network

There are some options that you have to turn on, if you guys want to be able to share files and folders in Windows 10, without even any problems or issues.

  • Open ‘Settings’ and then head to ‘Network & Internet.
  • Tap on ‘Sharing options’. This will now open advanced sharing settings.
  • In the ‘Private’ section, turn these options on:
    “Turn on network discovery”.
    “Turn on file and printer sharing”.
  • Then in the ‘All Networks’ section, select the following;
    “Turn off password protected sharing”.
  • Now tap on save changes.

Note: When password-protected sharing is turned on, then only people who have a user account on your computer can access your shared folders actually. As you’re using a home network and also sharing files with trusted devices, then you can turn off password protection.

Share Your Files Or Folders | File Sharing Without Homegroup

Once you guys have configured these settings on all your desired computers. Then you can share your files via following the steps below:

  • Had to File Explorer.
  • Head to the location of your file or folder that you want to share and right-click on it and choose ‘Give access to’ from the menu. Tap on ‘Specific people…’
  • In the ‘Network access’ window, you have to choose the users that you want to share your folder with. If you choose a specific user, then the user will have to provide the username and password. In order to access the resource or the user should be logged in to an account along with the same credentials on their device. If you choose ‘everyone’ in the drop-down list, then your resource will be shared along with everyone without even having to enter credentials.
  • Tap on the Add button after selecting the desired users.
  • To decide the access permissions, then tap on the drop-down menu under the ‘Permission Level’ column. Select read if you want the user to only view the file and not modify it. Choose read/write if you want the user to be able to read and then make changes to the shared file.
  • Tap on Share.

Accessing the shared folder | File Sharing Without Homegroup

There are basically two ways you can use, in order to access the shared folder from another computer.

  • You can just simply paste the link in the File Explorer address bar.
  • Also, you can open the ‘Network’ drive on the left panel of File Explorer, and then access the shared folder.

To access the shared folder from an Android device, you have to Open ES File Explorer > tap the three-bar menu icon on the top-left > click ‘Network’. There, you’ll see all the shared folders on this network.

If there is a Problem | File Sharing Without Homegroup

If you guys are not able to access the shared content, it is also possible that your device is not able to map the computer name of the sharing computer to its IP address. In these case, you should replace the computer name in the path link directly along with its IP address. You guys will find it in the ‘Network & Internet’ section of settings, now under ‘View your network properties.

If the problem persists, it is possible that your device’s firewall is actually blocking it. To see if this is the problem, you can temporarily turn off the firewall on both the devices and then try accessing the shared content then. To turn off the firewall,

  • Just open Settings.
  • Head to ‘Update & Security’.
  • Tap on the ‘Windows Security’ from the left pane.
  • Tap on ‘Firewall & network protection’ under Protection areas.
  • Windows Defender Security Center window will now open. Tap on ‘Private network’ under Firewall & network protection heading.

Sharing Without Homegroup

  • Next, disable the toggle that is under Windows Defender Firewall.

Now, if you guys can access the shared content, it means that the problem was being caused via the firewall. In order to fix this,

  • Just open Windows Defender Security Center window as above.
  • Tap on Allow an app through a firewall.
  • Make sure that ‘file and printer sharing is enabled for the private network.

How to Share Printers

In previous versions, the easiest method in order to share a printer was using HomeGroup. However, now even without the feature, you can still share a USB printer along with other users in the local network.

Important: If you have a printer along with a built-in print server, it’s recommended to use that feature. You can also refer to the printer manufacturer support website for the instructions on connecting the device to the network. If you’re dealing with a print server, then you only need to follow the steps below in order to share the printer and connect the computers.

Share printer on Windows 10 | File Sharing Without Homegroup

To share a printer on Windows 10 (assuming it’s already installed), use these steps:

  • You have to pen Settings.
  • Tap on Devices.
  • Then tap on Printers & scanners.
  • Now under the “Printer & scanners” section, choose the printer that you want to share.
  • Press the Manage button.
  • Then click the Printer properties option.
  • Tap on the Sharing tab.
  • Now check the Share this printer option.
  • In the “Share name” field, specify a new short and also descriptive name. (If this is the only printer on the network, then you can use the default name.)
  • Press the Apply button.
  • Npw tap on the OK button.

After you guys complete the steps, the printer will be available to network users, however, only if the computer is on.

Connect the computer to a shared printer

In order to connect devices to the shared printer, just use these steps:

  • Just open Settings.
  • Tap on Devices.
  • Now click on Printer & scanners.
  • Tap on the Add a printer or scanner button.
  • Choose the printer from the list.
  • (Optional) If the discovery feature doesn’t really work, click The printer that I want isn’t listed option.
  • Select the Select a shared printer by name option.
  • Now type the path of the printer location:\\\PRINTER-SHARE-NAME

In the command, you have to make sure to change the “” and “PRINTER-SHARE-NAME” for the IP address (or computer name) and also name of the printer.

A quick tip:

You can also press the Browse button to select the shared printer.

  • Tap on the Next button.
  • Press the Install driver button (if applicable).
  • (Optional) Specify the name of the printer connection. Such as, Network Printer.
  • Tap on the Next button.
  • Press the Finish button.

When you complete the steps, you should be able to successfully send a print job to the network printer as well.

Connect old devices to a shared printer

If you guys are running an old version of Windows 10, Windows 8.1, or Windows 7. Then the steps to connect to the printer will be slightly different actually.

To connect an old computer to a network shared printer, just use these steps:

  • In order to open Control Panel.
  • Tap on Hardware and Sound.
  • Then tap on the Devices and Printers option.
  • Press the Add a printer button.
  • Choose the printer from the list.
  • If the discovery feature doesn’t work, then just click The printer that I want isn’t listed option.
  • Choose the Select a shared printer by name option.
  • Type the path of the printer location:\\\PRINTER-SHARE-NAME

In the command, make sure to change the “” and “PRINTER-SHARE-NAME” for the IP address (or computer name) and share the name of the printer that you’re trying to connect.

A quick tip:

You can tap on the Browse button to locate and choose the shared printer.

  • Press the Next button.
  • Tap on the Install driver button (if applicable).
  • (Optional) Specify the name of the printer connection. Like Network Printer.
  • Tap on the Next button
  • Press the Finish button.

After you guys complete the steps, remember that users will only be able to print as long as the device sharing the printer is powered on and also connected to the network. If the computer is sleeping, hibernating, as well as powered off, no one will be able to print.


Well, That is all from my side. If you want to know more about this article or have any queries. Then feel free to ask me anything in the comments section below.

Have a Good Day!

Also See: How to Disable Touchpad in Windows 10

About the author

Kelly Houstan

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