Sharing in a HomeGroup

In addition to sharing out individual folders, as was possible in previous versions of Windows, HomeGroup also shares out Explorer Libraries
  • Explorer libraries aggregate multiple locations on a physical file system, and present them in a logical view.
  • Each scope of a library is backed by an network share
  • This allows multiple SMB shares to be aggregated into one library location
  • Each library is published to the network

Users can browse either shared Explorer libraries or shared folders when browsing a HomeGroup computer, which is exposed in a dedicated node in Explorer labeled as HomeGroup. In the sample screenshot below, we see a user browsing their HomeGroup from a computer named Jeremy-laptop and logged in with the user account Jeremy.

From this screenshot we can see several things:
  • Even though HomeGroup is primarily a network technology, it exists as a separate node from the Network node in the Explorer navigation pane.
  • The list of computers under the HomeGroup node shows the user that that shared folders and libraries belong to.
  • While logged into the local computer (with the computer name Jeremy-laptop) we see that the HomeGroup list in the navigation pane shows both local entries and remote entries. Every user that shares out folders or libraries on the HomeGroup gets a unique entry in the HomeGroup, even if they are on the same computer.
  • While viewing the HomeGroup computer we see that the user Jeremy on Jeremy-PC has both libraries (which are a collection of folders) and unique file folders shared out to the HomeGroup. They are all combined into the same view.

Browsing Media in a HomeGroup

Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center are both capable of browsing and consuming media that is shared on the HomeGroup. Windows Media Player will show other HomeGroup PCs under Other Libraries. These other libraries contain the same contents as the explorer library scopes. These scopes are also accessible through compatible UPnP media playback devices like the Xbox 360 and the Roku Soundbridge.

Media Center will show other HomeGroup PCs under the Shared tab.

  • Media Center uses the WMP Media Sharing Service for Music, Video and Pictures.
  • Recorded TV is enabled by directly accessing the network share \\\public\recorded TV.
  • Media Center can play back recorded TV that is not DRM protected from another HomeGroup PC or make a copy for playback while travelling.

Sharing printers in a HomeGroup

When a user shares their printer in the HomeGroup Control Panel, all USB-connected printers that are installed on that local PC are automatically shared:
  • If the printer has drivers certified by WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Lab), the printer will be silently installed on all HomeGroup PCs.
  • If the printer does not drivers that have been certified , the printer will display a notification, and also show UI in the HomeGroup control panel, asking the user to elevate to install the printer driver.
    • This notification will only show once in the tray and always show in the control panel until the user has acted on it

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Several programs and features built-in with Windows, like Internet Information Services, must be turned on before they can be used. A variety of other features are turned on by default, but can be turned off if they are not used.

To turn off a feature in earlier versions of Windows, it had to be uninstalled completely from the computer.
In Windows 7, the features remain stored on the hard disk so its easy to be turned back on when needed.

If you turn off a feature in Windows 7, you really does not uninstall the feature, and it also does not reduce the amount of hard disk space used by Windows features.

Follow the steps below to turn Windows features "On" or "Off":

* Click the
Start button, go to Control Panel, select Programs, and then click Turn Windows features On or Off. If prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, just type the password or provide confirmation.

*To turn a Windows feature on, select the check box next to the feature. To turn a Windows feature off, clear the check box. Hit

Certain Windows features are grouped together in folders, and some folders include subfolders with extra features. If a check box is partly checked or is dimmed, then a few of the items inside the folder are turned on and some are turned off. To check the contents of the folder, just double-click it.

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If you’re having problems installing CoPilot application on Mini 1010 and 1011 systems, please follow the steps below to resolve it.

1. Insert the Micro SD card in the 1st blank filler (the one with the white sticker).
2. Insert the 1st blank filler in the 2nd blank filler (the one with the red sticker). Please refer to the picture below:

3. Insert the 2nd blank filler in the card reader slot. ]
4. The card will be detected and you will be able to install the software.

You will most likely get confused with the proper installation of the card since the package contains 1 Micro SD card and 2 dummy fillers. The CoPilot application is integrated in the Micro SD card. The Activation License Code is in the business card that is sent along with the SD card.

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DELL has recently launched the "Windows 7 Free and Easy Upgrade from Vista" program on select platforms. This promotion will enable Dell to be at par with their retail partners by letting customers purchasing a Dell PC starting October 5, 2009, to have Windows 7 installed on their PC by October 22. Below is Dell’s recent announcement:

Let Dell do the heavy lifting and upgrade your new PC to Windows 7 for you.

For those customers who are waiting for Windows 7 to arrive, Dell has a deal for you. Dell is expanding their upgrade program with a new option - the Windows 7 Free and Easy Upgrade program - which takes the hassle out of upgrading a PC to Windows 7 because Dell will do it for you. Now customers can purchase popular PCs like the Inspiron 15 or 17 laptop, Studio 15 laptop, Inspiron 546 or Studio desktop and Dell will install Windows 7 Premium on it before shipping.

As the program name implies, there are no additional charges associated with this. Dell’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to order a new PC powered by Windows 7 and get on with the daily business, and around Oct. 22, or soon after the new PC will arrive. Of course for those customers who prefer a do-it-yourself, Dell is still offering the Windows 7 Technical Upgrade program, in which a customer buys a qualifying PC with Vista Home Premium, Vista Business Pro or Vista Ultimate, and registers for the Windows 7 upgrade kit, which then ships within a few weeks of October 22.

Dell is looking forward to the customer’s feedback on this new option in our upgrade program, and depending on customer response, Dell will investigate adding additional PC models as well as expanding it on a global basis. Go to
For more details, head over to the Direct to Dell blog:

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DELL recently integrated their Alienware line of laptops to use hybrid graphics technology that enables switching between expansion graphics card (which is basically what is ordered by the customer) when connected to AC Adapter and integrated graphics card when the laptop is on battery power.

This new technology will automatically switch the laptop to integrated graphics when it’s on battery.

If you think that you’re missing the correct graphics card or you have the wrong graphics card installed on your Alienware M17x, try doing the following to turn on your preferred graphics:

1. Connect your laptop to AC power.

2. Hit on '
Fn-F7' key to toggle between integrated and expansion graphics. You may be required to restart the system.

3. Make sure that your BIOS settings are configured to enable hybrid graphics and integrated graphics.

The Alienware M17x uses hybrid graphics technology as a way to conserve power when you’re on battery mode.

When you in the integrated mode (laptop is powered by battery only), the nVidia 9400 graphics will be seen in the Device Manager, system performance will also be less on integrated and some applications and/or games which require intensive graphics solutions will not work.

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