HomeGroup simply doesn't work - no useful error message

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by eharris, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. eharris

    eharris Senior Member

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    I've got two Windows 7 Pro machines that I'm trying to connect using a HomeGroup (partly just to see if it's useful, since I'm already pretty comfortable with normal windows network sharing), but this new, "easy" sharing system simply isn't working. Nor is it giving me any useful error message.

    I set up a HomeGroup on my primary system, and shared a directory or two to get it started. No problem.

    I went to my living room PC and told it to join the HomeGroup. I very carefully typed the password in, and got an error saying something like "There was a problem connecting to the HomeGroup." That's it. "A problem." What kind of problem? Who the heck knows? I checked and re-checked the password, typed it in again, went back to the primary PC to verify I'd written it down correctly, etc.

    A bit of info about my setup:

    - Both systems are connected to the same-named workgroup. Both are definitely able to see each other on the network, since I'm already sharing directories on the network using the normal method. Aside from the fact that Win7 has a bug in it (that apparently has existed since Vista, based on a web search) where telling it to remember login credentials doesn't remember login credentials, that's working fine. (To hopefully solve that problem, I have manually created a certificate, but haven't turned the system on since then to see if it worked).

    - My primary PC has a wired connection to the router that's connected to my cable modem. The living room PC has a wired connection to a second router that's connected to the first one via 802.11N connection in "Wireless Bridge mode," which basically just connects it right to the router, daisy chaining the two routers together to create one eight-port wired router.

    - Both are Linksys routers, with the primary router being a WRT600N using the latest Linksys firmware, and the bridge router being a WRT150N using DD-WRT v24 preSP2 (Linksys' firmware doesn't offer a wireless bridge mode).

    I looked around on the Internet, and found only two possibilities. One person claimed that HomeGroups required IPv6, which most home routers don't yet support, but others quickly corrected him, saying they've got HomeGroups on IPv4 networks. Another person pointed out that HomeGroups will fail to work if a system has a public Internet connection of any kind, but both are connected only to "Home Network" and "Local Area Connection." No secondary public connections.

    I guess the most basic question is... where do I start? Everything seems to be working fine in terms of the network setup, but Windows gives me an absolutely worthless error when I try to set up a HomeGroup.
     
  2. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Do both of your computers show the homegroups symbol next to the network name?

    What settings do you have for your homegroups or Advanced settings?
     
  3. eharris

    eharris Senior Member

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    What is the homegroups symbol? Neither shows a network name (i.e. the workgroup name), only "Home Network" (one of the three categories I can choose). That does have the house icon, indicative of a home network, beside it. And on the right side of that block, it does say "HomeGroup: Joined"

    My HomeGroup settings have Pictures, Music, Videos, Printers listed as shared. Streaming is not selected.

    Advanced sharing settings for the "Home or Work (current profile)" section are:
    Network discovery: on
    File and Printer sharing: on
    Public folder sharing: on
    Media Streaming: on (even though it's not selected in the normal HomeGroups settings page)
    File sharing connections: 128-bit encryption
    Password protected sharing: on
    HomeGroup connections: Allow Windows to manage homegroup connections

    I'm reading these off of the primary PC, but since I haven't changed the defaults on either system, it should be identical on the living room PC.
     
  4. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I do not run homegroups, but I say the little blue icon next to the network when I had one selected. I have been reading about it and it appears only one computer has to have a homegroup set up so the other one can join. If you run the Homegroup trouble shooter, maybe it will find a problem.

    And it appears IPv6 is required to run Homegroups, but there are levels of it that seem to allow IPv4 to be used also. The trouble shooter will check the IPv6 setting.
     
  5. eharris

    eharris Senior Member

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    Ah, I see the icon under my computer name, not by the network, on the network diagram, of my primary PC (which is creating the HomeGroup). Since I can't successfully join the HomeGroup on the living room PC, I don't see that icon in the network settings screen there.

    I've run the troubleshooter on both systems, and neither does anything productive. It gives me some similarly obscure feedback ("Some solutions were applied. Try now"), when I tell it enough times that it didn't work, it gives me some options for more advanced help, but none apply (they're about a computer simply not being able to see a Homegroup, or about specific functions not working after the HomeGroup is successfully created). When I use the troubleshooter in advanced mode, which shows me a troubleshooting report, the only problem found is "You are not connected to a HomeGroup" (no kidding! If I was, I wouldn't need the troubleshooter!). All of the other problems it searches for are listed as "Problem not found."

    It's ironic that I've got normal file and printer sharing working just fine (the manually-created certificate worked, though mapped drives show up with the "X" icon over them even though they're connected. That's a minor annoyance I can live with), but this supposedly super-easy method doesn't work at all, and doesn't provide error messages that are verbose enough to actually troubleshoot.
     
  6. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I am sorry, but like I said, I do not use the homegroups. Maybe if we go through the steps of setting it up we can find something.

    You said you set up the homegroup on the living room computer. What version of Win 7 is it running?

    You started with Create a Homegroup and chose what you wanted to share. Then you click next and I get a IPv6 message saying it must be enabled. I go check IPv6 and it says it is running, with the DHCP set to obtain address automatically. Well, my IPv6 says no network access, so I cannot get past this to set up a homegroup. I must assume your system allowed you past this little problem.

    My router does not appear to do IPv6, so maybe that is where my problem is.
     
  7. eharris

    eharris Senior Member

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    No, the host system is the primary PC. The living room PC (HTPC) is trying to join the HomeGroup.
    I did not get an error or warning about IPv6 on either system. In fact, when I look at my network properties, my system apparently does have an IPv6 address, though I see nothing in my router configuration to indicate that it's playing any role in that assignment.

    When I create the HomeGroup on my primary PC, it simply creates it. No errors, no indication of any problem. It's when I attempt to join the HomeGroup from the HTPC that there's a very generic error message. The HTPC also has no trouble seeing that the HomeGroup exists. It tells me what user set it up on what computer, and that it's available to join. Only after I enter the password and it churns away from 30 seconds or so does it give me an error.
     
  8. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    I found my setup problem was Zone Alarm was blocking IPv6, which I was getting the error messages. I can now set up a Homegroup on my computer, but I do not have another Win 7 computer to check it with.

    In your situation, I do not have the personal experience to answer your question. But it seems some routers are not IPv6 aware and cannot process the IPv6 packets. I do not know if this would apply to your system, but there are ways around this problem which involve making IPv6 packets look like IPv4 packets. Maybe someone else would know for sure.
     
  9. eharris

    eharris Senior Member

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    I've finally updated the third PC in the house to Win7, and have a little more insight into where the problem might lie, but still no idea why.

    My wife's PC, connected to the same wired router as mine, is now running Windows 7, and during setup, it found and successfully connected to the HomeGroup my PC defined. The HTPC that can't connect to the HomeGroup is connected to a router that's connected wirelessly to my main router, and is in wireless bridge mode using DD-WRT (an open source firmware offering a number of features over manufacturer-developed router firmware).

    So, it appears that this problem might be caused by one of three things: the two-router hop, a compatibility issue with the older WRT150N router, or by DD-WRT. The primary router is still using Linksys firmware, though I plan to switch it over to DD-WRT because of some performance issues with the Linksys firmware, so once I find the time to set that up, I should be able to determine whether or not DD-WRT is the issue.

    HomeGroups definitely makes sharing "stuff" easier, though it's not without its wrinkles and problems. Sharing a printer has been causing some odd problems (I got access denied errors on my wife's printer a bunch of times in a row last night, and it eventually started working for no obvious reason, but today, my wife called me while I was at work to tell me that the printer was no longer working on her computer, even though hers is the one it's connected to).
     
  10. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    Are the homegroup services enabled and set to automatic startup type?
     
  11. eharris

    eharris Senior Member

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    I haven't done anything to disable the HomeGroup services on the HTPC, and as I said above, it will let me attempt to join the HomeGroup, but it fails in the last step (after I've entered the password). None of that should be doable without the HomeGroup service enabled.
     
  12. VanDamme

    VanDamme New Member

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    Had the same problem today...couldn't get it to work, same error, troubleshooting useless... the simplest solution is just use homeplugs. Sorted!
     
  13. eharris

    eharris Senior Member

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    homeplugs?

    I found the simplest solution was to simply map to the remote shared directories in the traditional manner. \\Computer\directory. Even without HomeGroups working, that works.
     
  14. VanDamme

    VanDamme New Member

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  15. eharris

    eharris Senior Member

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    Oh, I see - you're saying that going to a powerline (wired) network connection solved the HomeGroups problem? That's interesting. I wonder if there are some known limitations/issues with HomeGroups on wireless networks.
     
  16. VanDamme

    VanDamme New Member

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    Yep. Works as it should over powerline/homeplugs... regarding known limitations/issues with HomeGroups on wireless networks... well... I think we have just got one... I am sure MS won't tell us ;) usually we'll learn the hard way spending time with google asking why the hell thing doesn't work :)
     
  17. aka

    aka Honorable Member

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    HomeGroup doesn't work for me either. 3 computers claim to be on it, but they're never 'available'. The trouble shooter always tells me the modem has no connection to the internet, which is false. But what would the modem have to do with the HomeGroup anyway?
     
  18. Mitchell_A

    Mitchell_A Excellent Member

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    I've read a few reports of some routers not being compatible with homegroup.
    Mostly Linksys routers but some D-Link in there as well.
     
  19. aka

    aka Honorable Member

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    So far I've been unsuccessful with Belkin, Encore, and Linksys routers. And also no joy with my latest toy............a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 / DD-WRT
     
  20. eharris

    eharris Senior Member

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    I found a "solution" that might work for some of you, but it didn't work for me:

    http://www.sevenforums.com/network-sharing/20819-wireless-homegroup-workgroup.html

    Supposedly if you set your SSID to the same as your network ID in Windows, it'll work wirelessly. That hasn't been the case for me, though, and really, it shouldn't matter because in my case, all the computers are on wired connections, but the routers are connected wirelessly. Windows should have no way of knowing that there's a wireless connection in the mix.

    I'm guessing that the WRT150N is not compatible with Homegroups, based on Mitchell's response. My WRT600N apparently works fine with HomeGroups, though. It's definitely not DD-WRT, though. Both routers are now running it as their firmware, and the two computers connected to the WRT600N are still "HomeGrouped."
     

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