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Windows XP Network Setup

Operating System: Windows XP Home or Pro Hardware Required:

  • Network adapter for each system (this may be an integrated Ethernet or an add-in card installed into an available slot.)
  • Cables: Straight Through "patch" cable for connections through a hub, switch, or router; or a "cross-over" cable when connecting only two computers to each other.

Configuring the network:
Start by clicking on Start and then on Control Panel. In the control panel, click on Network and Internet Connections.

  • Click on the "Identification" tab, then enter a unique name for the computer and enter a workgroup name. The workgroup name should be the same for all systems on the network (i.e. "HOME" or "WORK").
  • Click on the "Access Control" tab. "Share-level access control" should be selected.
  • Click on the "Configuration" tab. Click on the File and Printer Sharing button. Select what resources you want to share with the network (files and/or printers.) Click OK when done. Note: If you do not want to make your files or printers available to others on your network, skip this step.
  • TCP/IP protocol should already be in the list. TCP/IP is required to access the Internet. Click on TCP/IP and then on the "Properties" button. Click on the "Bindings" tab. Leave the checkmark next to "Client for Microsoft Networks. Remove the checkmark next to "File and printer sharing" since this could expose your computer to "hackers" across the Internet. We will use a different protocol for your internal network.
  • On the Configuration tab, click "Add", select "Protocol" from the list. Click on Microsoft, and select IPX/SPX then click on OK.
  • You should be back to the main network properties window. Click OK to save your changes. Windows should copy files and may ask for the Windows CD and/or the network driver disk. Once all the files have been copied, Windows must restart.

Sharing Stuff:
By choosing to share your files or printer, your computer should now be available as a resource on your network. The name you gave your computer should show up in your network neighborhood, even when no one else is connected on the network. (As a rule, only computers that are sharing resources show up in the Network Neighborhood.) However, until you actually configure sharing of your drive, directory folder, or printers, none of your resources will be available to anyone else.

To share an entire drive:

  • Open My Computer, right-click on the drive letter you want to make available across the network, select sharing.
  • On the Sharing tab of the drive properties window: select "Shared As" and enter a name or letter for the drive (the default name is the drive letter.)
  • Select the type of access you want others to have:
    Read-Only - they can view or copy files, but not change or delete them.
    Full - allows others to view, change, delete or create new files
    Depends on password: If one is entered, the network user will be asked for it before they gain access to your files. Read-Only - they can view and copy files. Full - they can view, copy, add, change or delete files on your shared drive. (These can be different passwords!)

To share a single folder (subdirectory):
Open My Computer; open the drive and any folder that contains the folder to share. Right-click on the folder you want to make available across the network, select sharing. Enter the name, access and any passwords.

To share a printer:
Open My Computer; open the "Printers" folder. Right-click on the printer to share on the network, select "Sharing". Enter a name for the printer and (optional) password.

Using shared stuff across the network:

  • Browse method: Open Network Neighborhood, double click on the computer that has the drive or folder shared, and double-click on the folder to open. If a password was specified, enter it when prompted.
  • Map method: Right click on Network Neighborhood, select "Map Network Drive". Select a drive letter to use, then enter the name of the computer and folder being shared in the form: \\server\folder If you want to have this network folder available every time you start up, add a checkmark to "Reconnect at login" (the other computer must already be turned on and sharing the resource on the network.)
  • Printers: Open the "Printers" folder; double click on "Add a printer"; Select "Network Printer" Use browse or enter the \\server\printer name to use. Choose the type of printer from the Windows list or use the driver disk that came with the printer.

Network Security:

  • Password access: Use a password to limit access to your files or printers. Then only people with the password can then access these devices.
  • Limit access: Only share a folder on the local drive, not the whole drive letter. This limits what files and information other network users can see.
  • Read-Only: If people do not need to add, change or delete files, only configure read-only access to your drives or folders.
  • System shares: By adding a dollar-sign "$" to the end of the network share name, you are identifying it as a "system share" - these names are not displayed on the network. To access it, the network user must know the exact name of the drive, folder, or printer. (i.e. enter "my-share$" as the name of a folder instead of "my-share" to hide the name from network users.)

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