Last night I stayed up far later than I should have reinstalling Windows 10 on our desktop, and I wanted to network it with the other machines since it's not running like dog shit now.

Unfortunately, there's a phantom Homegroup on our network which meant I could neither connect to it, or find a suitably intuitive way to delete it and create a new one. Here's the first thing you need to know about Windows Homegroups - they're fucking viral. If there's one machine on the network that has heard about a Homegroup at any point in the past, it'll infect all the others with this bullshit.

So you have to shut down every Windows 7+ machine on the network, or repeat these steps on them, whichever is more palatable. The first thing to do is open up services.msc (hitting start and simply start typing it is the easiest way on Windows 10) and then track down and stop the following services (I'm not sure they're all necessary, but I can't be bothered testing which ones aren't):

  • HomeGroupListener
  • HomeGroupProvider
  • Peer Name Resolution Protocol
  • Peer Networking Grouping
  • Peer Networking Identity Manager

Next, browse to \Windows\ServiceProfiles\LocalService and find the hidden folder AppData - you'll need to escalate privileges to access it, so pasting the entire path you'll find from various other forums won't work. Then dig deeper into Roaming\PeerNetworking and delete all the things.

Start the services we stopped above, and then navigate to the Homegroup control panel and with any luck the ghost Homegroup is gone. If it's not, then you likely left another machine on that you forgot about... maybe a laptop that's not really sleeping?

I think this is a "don't shoot your own foot off" decision, but it's annoying as fuck that it's such a convoluted process to create a brand new Homegroup.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle

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