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Remote Media Streaming and HomeGroup: Access Windows 7 from Anywhere

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 5/31/2011

Windows 7 comes with two plugins that easily allow you to access your Windows 7 Media Center from nearly anywhere. You just need to set up the plugins, and then you're ready to go. Learn more in this Windows 7 tutorial.

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    Remotely Viewing Your Media

    The Microsoft Corporation released Windows 7 in 2009. This was an update to Windows Vista. This operating system is mainly for personal computers, but there is a server version of the program as well. Windows 7 also comes with many features that are quite different than its predecessor. One of those features is the ability to remotely control your media center.

    You may be wondering how to go about accessing Windows 7 Media Center remotely. Well, this is done by a Windows Media Player plugin known as Remote Media Streaming.

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    Importance of Remote Access

    Remote Media Streaming If you own Windows 7 Starter, Professional, Home Premium, Enterprise or Ultimate edition, you already have this plugin on your computer. It’s even included in certain versions of Windows Vista. If your computer has Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 to Windows XP, you need to download the program. You also need to get the plugin if you have a Windows phone, Firefox or Mac OS X.

    OK. Why would you want to remotely stream media? Most of us have a library of stuff on one computer, usually our home computer or laptop. But, if you are working at another computer, you may not have access to the library.

    And, it’s a pain to try and copy all of your media over to the other computer. You are usually dealing with tons of music, video and photo files. It’s too much work to try and transfer this data to a different computer.

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    Running Remote Media Streaming

    So, how does the Remote Media Streaming plugin work? Well, you store your library on one computer, and then you remotely access that computer from another one like a laptop or even an office computer. To use the plugin, both computers must have Windows 7.

    To stream your media on the other computer, simply set up an online ID. Most people use their Windows Live email address, but you can designate any ID that you want. Open up Windows Media Player on the remote computer, and follow the below steps:

    • Go to Stream.
    • Select Allow Internet access to home media.

    Windows Media Player will now walk you through the process of remotely accessing the media stored on the remote computer.

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    But, what if you are just on another computer in your house? Well, you can set a HomeGroup. This networks different devices in your HomeGroup home, including computers, printers, media and folders. This is also a plugin that’s included on newer versions of Windows.

    The HomeGroup is password protected, ensuring that no one outside of the home gets access to your group. To setup a HomeGroup, follow these instructions:

    1. Go to the Control Panel, and Network and Internet.
    2. In Network and Internet, go to HomeGroup.
    3. Set up a new HomeGroup, select Create.
    4. If you want to join a HomeGroup, select the Join now option.

    Microsoft makes accessing Windows 7 Media Center remotely fairly easy. You just need to set up your Windows Media Player or your HomeGroup, and you’re set. And, best of all, it’s completely free to use.