Why can't I connect to other PCs?

There could be a number of reasons why you can't connect to other PCs on your home network or share files and printers with them. Look for a specific problem and possible solutions in the following table. For more info about sharing files and folders with other people, see Share files and folders.

Problem
Possible solutions

You haven't created or joined a homegroup.

A homegroup links PCs on your home network so that you can share pictures, music, videos, and printers. Creating or joining a homegroup is the easiest way to share files and printers on a network.

Note

  • HomeGroup is available in Windows 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows 7. You can join a homegroup on a PC running Windows RT 8.1, but you can't create a homegroup or share content with the homegroup. In Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic, you can join a homegroup, but you can’t create one. HomeGroup is unavailable in Windows Server 2008 R2.

To create or join a homegroup

  1. Open HomeGroup by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Settings (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the lower-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer up, and then clicking Settings), tapping or clicking Change PC settings, tapping or click Network, and then tapping or clicking HomeGroup.

  2. Tap or click Create, or enter the homegroup password, and then tap or click Join.

You're not using a homegroup, and the folder or printer you're trying to get to hasn't been shared.

We recommend that you use a homegroup to share files and printers on your network, because it's much easier to set up. File and printer sharing without using a homegroup is a two-part process. First, you need to turn on the Find devices and content slider as described in the following steps. Second, you need to set sharing properties on the item itself.

The Find devices and content slider is turned off.

To find PCs, devices, and content on your network

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then tap Change PC settings.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer up, click Settings, and then click Change PC settings.)

  2. Tap or click Network, and then turn on the Find devices and content slider.

Network discovery is turned off.

Follow the steps in the previous section to turn on the Find devices and content slider.

Password-protected sharing is turned on.

Password-protected sharing is on by default for PCs in workgroups. When password-protected sharing is turned on, people using other PCs on your network can't get to your shared folders or printers unless they have a user account on your PC. There are two ways to turn on file or printer sharing:

  • Create identical user accounts on all PCs in the workgroup (recommended). For more info, see Create a user account.

  • Turn off password-protected sharing. To turn off password-protected sharing, follow these steps:

  1. Open Advanced sharing settings by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering advanced sharing in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Manage advanced sharing settings.

  2. Click the chevron The chevron icon to expand the current network profile.
  3. Under Password protected sharing, click Turn off password protected sharing, and then click Save changes. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

Note

  • Password-protected sharing is unavailable on PCs that are on a domain.

  • You can only join a domain if your PC is running Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

The PCs aren't in the same workgroup.

To join or create a workgroup

  1. Open System by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you're using a mouse, pointing to the upper-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer down, and then clicking Search), entering System in the search box, and tapping or clicking System.

  2. Under Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings, tap or click Change settings. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

  3. In the System Properties dialog box, on the Computer Name tab, tap or click Change.

  4. In the Computer Name/Domain Changes dialog box, under Member of, tap or click Workgroup, and then do one of the following:

    • To join an existing workgroup, enter the name of the workgroup that you want to join, and then tap or click OK.

    • To create a new workgroup, enter the name of the workgroup that you want to create, and then tap or click OK.

You don't have access permissions for the file or folder you're trying to get to.

Contact the owner of the file or folder to ask for permission.

If you're on a corporate network, you'll need to contact your IT admin.

Group Policy might be blocking the connection.

If the PC you're trying to connect to belongs to a domain (for example, on a corporate network), it's possible that the IT admin has enabled a policy that blocks connections to domain-joined PCs. Contact your IT admin for assistance.

Your PC doesn't have the latest updates for your router.

To make sure you have the latest updates, check with the router manufacturer.

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