Why can't I join a homegroup?

There could be several reasons why you might not be able to join a homegroup. First, try running a Fix It wizard to diagnose and fix common problems with joining a homegroup.

To run a HomeGroup Fix It wizard

  1. Click this button:

    Picture of a Fix it button

    Fix this problem

  2. Click Run, and then follow the steps in the wizard.

If running the Fix It wizard doesn't solve the problem, refer to the following list:.

  • There might not be a homegroup available on your network. To create one, see Create a homegroup.

  • You might not be connected to the network that the homegroup is on. To connect to a network, follow these steps:

    1. Click the network icon (Picture of the wireless network icon or Picture of the wired network icon) in the notification area of your taskbar.
    2. Click the network you want to connect to, and then click Connect. You might be required to enter a network security key.

    After you've connected to the network, you can join a homegroup if one exists on your network.

  • Computers must be running Windows 7 to join a homegroup. HomeGroup is available in all editions of Windows 7. In Windows 7 Starter and Windows 7 Home Basic, you can join a homegroup, but you can’t create one.

  • The network location might not be set to Home. HomeGroup only works on home (private) networks. To change your network location, follow these steps:

    1. Open Network and Sharing Center by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type network, and then click Network and Sharing Center.

    2. Click Work network or Public network, and then click Home network.

      Picture of Network and Sharing Center
      Network and Sharing Center
  • The other computers in your homegroup might not be in the home, might have left the homegroup, or might be turned off, sleeping, or hibernating. For information on changing power saving options, see Change, create, or delete a power plan (scheme).

  • The computer on which the homegroup was created might have been restarted and no one has logged on to it. Some services that HomeGroup needs don't start until after logon. Make sure someone logs on to the computer that initially created the homegroup.

  • Network discovery is turned off. To turn on network discovery, follow these steps:

    1. Open Advanced sharing settings by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type network, click Network and Sharing Center, and then, in the left pane, click Change advanced sharing settings.

    2. Click the chevron Picture of the chevron icon to expand the Home or Work network profile.
    3. Click Turn on network discovery, and then click Save changes. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    For more information about network discovery, see What is network discovery?

  • One or more required services aren't running. The Peer Networking Grouping and HomeGroup Provider services must both be running. Here's how to check this:

    1. Open Administrative Tools by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type administrative tools, and then click Administrative Tools. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    2. Double-click Services. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    3. In the Status column next to the Peer Networking Grouping and HomeGroup Provider services, you should see the word "Started." If you don't see this, double-click the name of the service, and then click Start.

  • The peer networking idstore.sst file is corrupted. If you see the message "Windows cannot set up a homegroup on this computer. Error code 0x80630801." and you're unable to start the Peer Networking Grouping service using the above procedure, follow these steps to remove the corrupted file:

    1. Click the Start button Picture of the Start button.
    2. In the search box, type command prompt.

    3. In the list of results, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    4. Delete the idstore.sset file found in the \Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService\AppData\Roaming\PeerNetworking folder of your system drive (for example, drive C).

    5. Restart your computer, and then try joining the homegroup.

  • Your computer already belongs to a homegroup. You can only belong to one homegroup at a time.

  • Your system administrator has turned off HomeGroup on domain-joined computers.