Cannot create/use/connect to homegroup nor share files through a network

I really don't know what is going on with my computers but I am having the most frustrating time trying to setup a little networking file share with my desktop with my new laptop.
I've had my desktop since about May and I just bought my laptop a few days ago. Both computers have windows 7 64 bit home premium. I have mcafee on my laptop and norton antivirus on my desktop. I own both of these computers and am the only user so I am the administrator.
First of all, the homegroup works fine on my laptop. I go to create homegroup, works totally fine. I can create a password and it shows through explorer that I am connected to a homegroup. The problem comes from my desktop. I open up the homegroup window through explorer and my desktop detects that there is a homegroup setup through my laptop (named AndyMobile-PC). So I click Join homegroup and I type in the password I created from my laptop and even thought it is the EXACT password from the laptop, the desktop pc says "Error: windows cannot setup a homegroup."
So I decided to shut off the homegroup on my laptop and restart it. I go to my desktop and try creating a homegroup and I can't even do that. Every time I go to the homegroup folder and clicking "create homegroup" windows says "cannot setup homegroup." I've looked online through this website for people who have the exact problem and microsoft techs say to delete the "idstore.sst" in the "C:\Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\AppData\Roaming\PeerNetworking" and I've done that on both pcs and still the same thing happens. The laptop works fine while the desktop does not.
So I figure the homegroup won't work, I try to just share the files manually through explorer with the\\ANDY-PC\SHARED\PUBLIC way and I managed to have my laptop and desktop recognize each other through those pathways. My laptop recognizes ANDY-PC (which is my desktop) and the 2 folders I have shared from my desktop as well as a Public folder. I cannot connect to the 2 folders I have shared from my desktop. Every time I try to connect to it it says "You do not have permission to access to these folders, try contacting your system admistrator." I can open up the public folder but I've tried sharing things by drag and dropping documents into that public folder but those documents do not show up on either end. I put some pictures and songs from my desktop into the public folder and it does not even show up on on my laptop and vice versa.
I'm out of ideas. I am running a DNS server address on my desktop so I tried setting one up on my laptop but the same stuff happened and nothing worked. People say rebooting in safe mode could work but I'm not familiar with safe mode so I haven't tried that. Nor have I disabled my antivirus because I'm afraid if that is the key to making it work then I won't want a homegroup or network anyway as I don't want to run my computer without protection. The main thing I've read to work is doing a clean install but I just got my laptop so that can't be it. My only option left is to clean install my desktop but I really don't want to do that because I'm afraid of backing my stuff up and something not backing up right and losing all my stuff. I back my stuff up regularly but there's gotta be another way of making it work without doing that but if that's my last option, I will really consider it if that will make it work.


Noob Whisperer
Well it's completely up to you, but you are running the two most problematic software packages when it comes to getting networks to work in windows 7, McAfee and Symantec/Norton and not in that order. There are viable alternatives for an antivirus solution like MSE which doesn't seem to be quite so much a pain. You need to uninstall both products from both machines in order to move the diagnostic processes along, if you are not willing to do so then I can only wish you the best of luck and good wishes.
Download and run the Norton Removal Tool to uninstall your Norton product | Norton Support
How to uninstall or reinstall supported McAfee consumer products using the McAfee Consumer Products Removal tool (MCPR.exe)

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