forget home groupos --"classical networking" should work and is easier.
Apart from the tips given in the previous post this should always work if the computers cam see each other. You shouldn't be forced to have the same user ID's / passwords on all the machines. Networking is still slightly broken -- the little window that requests the User ID and password when you try and connect to the remote machine from W7 doesn't allways appear
--not a Windows internals expert but it's something to do with the .NET framework not being 100% correct yet. (Note don't confuse .NET framework with NETWORK - it's simply a way of programming apps to work with windows).
For example if you need to share drive D
on the W7 machine in Network right mouse click and cchoose MAP network drive
now put \\xpcomputename\D
in the folder (or lan Ip address - e.g \\188.8.131.52\D
) in the folder name.
You'll now see the logon screen (which you should normally get if the system was working properly). Enter User / password for the XP machine and Drive 'D' wilkl connect.
Now if you click the remoter computer icon in the Network list you'll see the rest of your shares without any problem -- it's a bit of a hassle but I really don't like having a bank of machines all with the same user id and password.
(If this doesn't work PING the machines -- normally failure here will be either via Firewall problems. AV software or Network shares not defined correctly. While testing internal Networks it's usually easier to turn off all firewalls and AV software.
Now for printing - especially if you are sharing a printer connected to a 32 bit machine and you are running a 64 Bit OS (or vice versa).
We have to "Poodlefake" the local machine (the one you are logged on to) to think that thge remote printer is actually attached to it rather than the remote machine. This avoids all sorts of printer driver problems - especially with 32/64 bit mixes.
So 1) Add printer -- but set it to add LOCAL (Yes I know the printer is on the remote machine but still set it as adding a LOCAL printer).
2) Create LOCAL Port
3) For the port name type in \\remotecomputername\printersharename
4) now your LOCAL machine will prompt you for a driver -- select your model and install the driver - if it's not yet available in W7 you'll have to get a driver --but there's loads of printers now added to W7.
(works both ways around --if XP needs to print something on a printer attached to a W7 X-64 machine do the same on the XP machine).
Ensure before you start that you can connect to the remote machine first --either via the user / password method set out in the previous post or by connecting initially to a shared drive as I've explained in this post.