How to Browse the Network Workgroups in Windows

Neither Windows 7 nor Windows Vista pays much attention to workgroup names. No matter how you set up the network, all computers on the network appear in the Network window. Even computers with a different workgroup name show up. Windows XP, on the other hand, follows the workgroup paradigm a little more seriously.

Browse workgroups in Windows 7 and Windows Vista

To see the workgroup name, just click a Computer icon in the Network window. The bottom portion of the window displays the workgroup name.

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To see the workgroups, you organize the window to display Computer icons in workgroup categories. To make that happen, right-click in the window and choose Group By→Workgroup from the shortcut menu.

To restore Normal view, right-click in the window and choose Group By→None.

If you don’t see the information at the bottom of the window, use the Organize button on the toolbar: Choose Layout→Details Pane.

Browse the workgroup in Windows XP

When you open the My Network Places window, you first see a listing of network folders and perhaps some Internet locations. That’s handy for accessing resources on the network, but it doesn’t show you workgroup information.

To see the computers in the workgroup, choose the link View Workgroup Computers from the list of network tasks on the left side of the My Network Places window. The window changes to show only the computers assigned to your PC’s workgroup; you see the workgroup name shown on the Address bar.

To see all workgroups on the network, click the Up button on the toolbar. You see any additional workgroups on the network. To browse those workgroups, open their icon and you see the list of computers and other resources available.

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If you click the Up button one more time, you see a window describing the entire network named, ironically, Entire Network. The icon labeled Entire Windows Network represents the peer-to-peer network your PC uses.

Don’t fret over the hierarchy of the network-and-workgroup structure as presented in Windows XP. The bottom line is that you can easily access shared folders within the My Network Places window, regardless of in which workgroup those computers reside.

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