How to share files on Windows 10 over a network without HomeGroup

Microsoft introduced the HomeGroup feature in Windows 7 to simplify file sharing with other Windows users. You could share files, folders, printers and other devices over a network at your home or office. However, the HomeGroup service has been removed from Windows 10. But, you can still share files and folders over a network in Windows 10, without the HomeGroup feature.

Note: For Window 7/8.1 users, nothing is changed. Your HomeGroup will work just like before. But, you won’t be able to join it from a Windows 10 computer.

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

Step 1: Configure file sharing over a network

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

1. Open ‘Settings’ and go to ‘Network & Internet’.

set up file sharing in Windows 10

2. Click ‘Sharing options’. This will open advanced sharing settings.

set up network file sharing on Windows 10

3. In the ‘Private’ section, enable these options:
“Turn on network discovery”.
“Turn on file and printer sharing”.

enable network discovery and configure sharing options

4. In the ‘All Networks’ section, select the following;
“Turn off password protected sharing”.

windows 10 file sharing without password

5. Click ‘Save changes’.

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

If you are using another Windows 10 computer to access shared resources, apply all the above settings to that computer too.

Step 2: Share files on Windows 10 without HomeGroup


Once you’ve set up network discovery and file sharing settings, you can share files with anyone on the network. Here’s how,

1. Open the File Explorer and copy all the files that you wish to share, into a folder.

2. Right-click on that folder, and select ‘Give access to’ > ‘Specific people’.

share files without HomeGroup on Windows 10

3. In the ‘Network access’ window that appears, you can choose a user, or enter the device name you want to share the folder with. Otherwise, select ‘Everyone’, and allow everyone on the network to have access to the folder. Then click the ‘Add’ button.

Share a Folder Without Creating Homegroup

4. From the ‘Permission level’ drop-down menu, you can choose how users will be accessing the contents of the shared folder.
Read – Users can only view and open the files.
Read/Write – Users can open, modify, delete the files, and even create new files and folders.

File sharing between computers without HomeGroup

5. Click the ‘Share’ button.

After completing the steps, you’ll get a link that other users can use to access the folder.

copy shared folder link

Note: To see all the folders that you’ve shared, just enter the following path in the File Explorer.
\\localhost

Step 3: Accessing the shared folder

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

  1. You can simply paste the link in the File Explorer address bar.
  2. You can open the ‘Network’ drive on the left panel of File Explorer, and access the shared folder.
access Network Drive in Windows 10

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

How To Access Shared Folder On Windows 10 using Network service

Step 4: Stop sharing

To stop sharing a folder, simply right-click on it, then select ‘Give access to’ > ‘Remove access’.

That’s it! Hope the above guide helped you share files and folders on your home network without requiring the HomeGroup feature.

Also Read: How to share files with nearby devices on Windows 10
Answers on Microsoft support: Network file sharing is not working on Windows 10