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Is there an easy way to have my work laptop connect to a home workgroup for file sharing with my other PCs, but then easily switch back to connecting to my work domain when I'm at work?

I have the following setup:

  • Windows 7 Home Premium Server/HTPC
  • 2 Windows XP laptops
  • 1 Vista laptop (Work)

The work laptop connects to a work domain, the remaining computers are on a home workgroup for sharing files/printer.

Also is it possible to share files over my LAN while I'm connected to the work domain, but at home?

I've tried Live Mesh, but my 2 home laptops are very slow and don't work well with it. I also use Dropbox, but I'd like to be able to share larger files. I may be missing a simple solution here...

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would not recommend joining your home workgroup as making changes like that to your work machine could be worse than the problems it solves.

I recommend just using normal windows sharing - if you are on DHCP and able to connect to your home network without making any changes... create a new user on your work laptop called home (or whatever you want) and add a password.

Next, turn off simple file sharing, then right click on any directory and make sure that the user home has got full control file permissions over the directory and it is also shared with the same user.

Now, from any of your other machines, you can try accessing your work machine via \computername or \ip.address and logon using home and you should be able to access and use the shared files.

That being said, you said your problem with dropbox was the slowness - the latest version supports "lansync" which copies over the local network instead of going via the internet, so you may want to try that.

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I'll probably try that, as long as I'm not prevented from creating a new user on the work laptop. Live Mesh is what is slow for me, Dropbox works great, I just need something larger than the 2 GB limit. – jjeaton Dec 20 '09 at 1:07
I tried creating a new user from the command prompt and received "Access is denied.". Any other ideas? – jjeaton Dec 20 '09 at 1:38
As you are using Vista, you need an elevated command prompt, or try going in to the user and group manager MMC snap-in, however, you may have problems if they have restricted.... If it doesn't work, tell me as I have another idea that should work and I will edit my answer in the morning. – William Hilsum Dec 20 '09 at 3:32
Elevated command prompt did it for me. This works, but I am also able to access the rest of my network through the Windows 7 HomeGroup feature now that my laptop has been upgraded to Win7. – jjeaton Jul 14 '10 at 23:38

Check out Free IP Switcher. It allows you to quickly and easily switch your network and domain/workgroup settings when you change your location.

Key Features

  • Switch IP network settings "on the fly" without restarting
  • Switch Internet Explorer proxy-server settings
  • Switch your default printer
  • Switch your computer name and workgroup
  • Import current network settings to the setting
  • System-tray icon support, auto-start with windows

A network settings includes:
IP Address
Subnet Mask
Default Gateway
DNS Server
WINS Server
Computer Name
DNS Domain
Default Printer
Proxy Settings

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Are you tired of changing your network configuration on your laptop or computer every day? Always the same procedure?

NetSetMan allows you to apply different network settings as you need them.

alt text

NetSetMan is free for personal use.

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