HomeGroup can be useful even in networks that include a mix of computers running Windows 7, earlier versions of Windows, and other operating systems, such as Mac OS X and Linux. Although only the Windows 7 computers can use HomeGroup features, HomeGroup coexists nicely with the traditional sharing methods that you'll need to use to share with users of other operating systems . (For details about those methods, see "Sharing Resources with Older Windows Versions" on page 627.)

If you have only a single computer with Windows 7 but you also have networked media devices (for example, an Xbox 360 or a digital picture frame), HomeGroup can be useful . On that computer, after you create a homegroup you can discover these devices and play media to them more easily than you can with earlier Windows versions .

For users, setting up HomeGroup is a straightforward process . On one computer—it doesn't matter which one because HomeGroup is a true peer-to-peer networking system without a designated server/controller—you create a homegroup . Then, on other computers, you join the homegroup .

For details about setting up HomeGroup, see "Creating a Homegroup" on page 611 and "Joining a Homegroup" on page 613.

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