Windows 10 Quick Tips – Disable Homegroup


What Is Homegroup

windows-homegroupThe Windows Homegroup allows people to share files, printers and other devices on a Local Area Network (LAN) without having to install drivers on the individual computers or keeping multiple copies of files on several computers. This can be very handy for less tech-savvy people who need the convenience of such a service.

As usual, there is a downside to having this service running, especially if you never use it. It can not only slow down your computer’s performance (if your computer lacks oomph to begin with), but also have detrimental effects on your Internet connection’s throughput.

If you do not use or otherwise need this service running, then this week’s Quick Tips article will show you how to shut it down. Disabling the Homegroup is a 3-step process, including a Setting, a couple of Windows Services, and a Registry hack. Read on…

How To Leave the Homegroup

If your computer is connected to the Homegroup, you will have to “leave” it before we can move forward with this exercise. You can do this by opening Control Panel and choosing Homegroup.

Note: You can open the Control Panel by clicking the Start button and typing Control Panel, then selecting it from the offered menu.

  1. If you are part of the Homegroup, you will see an option labeled: Leave the homegroup…
  2. Clicking this link will open another window with three choices, one of which is Leave the homegroup. Since that is what we want to do, click it.

If you are not part of a Homegroup, you should see something similar to this:


control-panel-homegroup

How To Disable Homegroup Services

Simply leaving the Homegroup will not keep Windows from running the associated Services in the background. Let’s turn those off, too.

  1. Open the Task Manager by using the CTRL + SHIFT + ESC keys (I hold the CTRL + SHIFT keys and tap the ESC to get this done.)
  2. Click the Services Tab
  3. At the bottom of the window is a link labeled Open Services

You should now be here:

homegroup-services

There are two services you want to change: HomeGroup Listener, and HomeGroup Provider. In the above image you will notice that I have already disabled the HomeGroup Listener Service.

Double-click on the Service you want to change. That will open a Properties sheet:

homegroup-properties-sheet

The above image shows how it should look when you’ve Disabled the Service.


  1. Be sure you have the General Tab selected
  2. Change the Startup Type to Disabled
  3. Click the OK button

Note: If the Service is currently running, the Stop button will not be greyed out and you can click that to stop the service immediately.

Note #2: You will want to disable both of these Homegroup Services to complete this task.

The Registry Hack

Each step you have followed so far has gotten slightly more technical and this last requirement is no exception. In Windows 10, to completely disable the Homegroup functionality from your computer, you will have to make a change to the Windows Registry. This step is not absolutely required and only needs to be done if you also want Homegroup removed from File Explorer as well.


Standard Warning

The next few steps involve using the Windows Registry Editor. The standard warning is, before any changes are made to the Registry, Back It Up! If you don’t know how to do that, here is a Windows 10 Quick Tips post that will show you how.

Open The Windows Registry Editor

  1. To open the Windows Registry Editor, use the Windows Key + R Hotkey combination to open a Run Box
  2. In the Run Box, type regedit and hit Enter or click the OK Button

Over and above the the forgoing warning, this particular Registry change is not for the faint of heart. It will require a particular attention to detail. Remember, the Registry is the heart and soul of a Windows system and even the simplest of mistakes can render your system inoperable. You have been warned!

homegroup-registry-path

Once in the Registry, follow this path until you reach the proper key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes\CLSID\{B4FB3F98-C1EA-428d-A78A-D1F5659CBA93}

Note: There are two similar entries in the Registry: .CLSID, and CLSID. Make certain you have chosen the correct key! (The one without the preceding ‘period’)

  1. Right-click the Key indicated in the above image
  2. Choose New
  3. Choose DWORD {32-bit} Value

Note: If you get a Permissions Error, see below, then return here to continue.

In the right panel of the Registry Editor you should now see an entry labeled New Value #1:

new-value-before

You will want to rename that value to: System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree

The Data Value will automatically be set to 0 (zero) which will remove it from File Explorer.

new-value-after

The above image shows you how it should look when you have finished following the previous steps.

Permissions Error

permissions-error

If you receive a Permissions Error, then do the following:

  1. Close the Error window
  2. Right-click the Key again, and this time choose Permissions…
  3. In the window that opens, click the Advanced button (Kudos to Ken for noticing this)
  4. In the next window, choose Change
  5. In the window that opens, enter your Windows Account Name (in my case, it’s Richard; imagine that)
  6. Click OK
  7. Choose the Users Account in the top panel
  8. Check the box labeled Full Control in the bottom panel
  9. Click OK

permissions-settings

Here’s another screen shot that might help your out:

permissions-change

I like to re-boot the computer after making changes to the Registry if for no other reason then to make sure all the settings changes have taken effect.

Reversing Things to Get Homegroup Back

If for some reason down the line you would like to undo everything and get Homegroup back, it is much easier than what we’ve just experienced. Two simple steps will suffice:

  1. Delete the Registry Value you created
  2. Change the Startup types of the two Homegroup Services to Manual (instead of Disabled)

This will bring Homegroup back into File Explorer and the Homegroup Services will always be available when you boot your system.

Final Words

If you have made it this far, you are a stalwart person, indeed! This is not the quickest Quick Tips article we ever covered, but it does go a long way towards cleaning up unwanted features that you may never use. I say, “If you don’t use it, lose it!”

Homegroups were introduced way back in Windows 7 and were a big improvement over the much-maligned Guest Accounts in Windows XP. Homegroups are password-protected and encrypted plus you can share with everyone on a LAN, or specify individuals. They are useful tools for those who wish to share without having to know complex technical sharing mechanics. They are great if you need them, but a slight burden if you don’t.

Many claim that by disabling Homegroups they have seen a noticeable improvement in their Internet connection speed, however, I must say that I have seen no discernible difference. I have a measly 10Mbps connection so that may have something to do with it. I’m sure all of us at DCT would be interested in hearing if you have disabled Homegroups and, if so, have you noticed any positive results?

As always, if you have any helpful comments and/or suggestions, please share them with us,

Richard

 

About the Author

Richard Pedersen

Richard received his first computer, a C-64, in 1982 as a gift and began dabbling in BASIC. He was hooked! His love for computing has led him from the old “XT” boxes to the more modern fare and from clunky 10MB hard drives to smooth and fast modern day SSD drives. He has run BBS services, Fido mail, and even operated his own computer repair business.

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