To get your home network ready to share information and equipment, you need to run the Network Setup Wizard once on each computer in the network. Before you work through the following steps, you should think about the names you want to assign to your network and to each computer. A short, descriptive name for the network, such as HOME, works well. Your computer names should indicate to whom the computer belongs or where it is located, such as BEDROOM or KITCHEN. If you use descriptive names, when you are looking for information and as your home network grows, it will be easier for you to identify which computer you are connecting to.
To run the Network Setup Wizard, follow these steps:
Select Start, Control Panel. The Control Panel opens.
If your page title is Pick a Category, select Network and Internet Connections (see Figure 3.1). The Pick a Task window appears.
Figure 3.1. The Control Panel in Category view.
Select Network Connections from either the screen shown in Figure 3.2 (if your Control Panel is in Category view) or the one shown in Figure 3.3 (if your Control Panel is in Classic view). The Network Connections window appears (see Figure 3.4).
Figure 3.2. The Control Panel in Category view.
Figure 3.3. The Control Panel in Classic view.
Figure 3.4. The Network Connections window.
Click Set Up a Home or Small Office Network. The Welcome to the Network Setup Wizard page appears (see Figure 3.5).
Figure 3.5. The Network Setup Wizard.
Click Next. The Before You Continue page appears.
Click Next. The Select a Connection Method page appears (see Figure 3.6).
Figure 3.6. The Select a Connection Method page.
Ensure that the option This Computer Connects to the Internet Through Another Computer on My Network or Through a Residential Gateway is selected and then click Next. The Give This Computer a Description and Name page appears (see Figure 3.7)
Figure 3.7. The Give This Computer a Description and Name page.
Enter descriptive information for this computer and then click Next. The computers in this example use the names BEDROOM and FAMILYROOM. The Name Your Network page appears (see Figure 3.8).
Figure 3.8. The Name Your Network page.
Windows XP can be networked in one of two modes: workgroup or domain networking.
In workgroup networks, Windows computers participate in a so-called workgroup for ease of connectivity. It is possible for a physical network to consist of more than one workgroup. Imagine a business setting with multiple departments, where it would be advantageous to primarily see the computers in your immediate department but yet have the ability to see your colleagues' computers in other departments at the same time. This is what workgroup networking offers.
With domain-based networking, you install a central server called the domain controller. This computer acts as the central repository for all logon identities used on the network and allows everyone on the network to see the other computers that are connected. In addition to providing centralized user accounts, you can use domain-based networking to maintain a standard desktop profile as well as enforce security settings from a centralized location, among many other benefits. For more information on domain-based networking, you can check Microsoft's website.
Enter a short description for your network and then click Next. This example uses the default workgroup name MSHOME. The Ready to Apply Network Settings page appears.
Click Next. The You're Almost Done page appears.
Select Just Finish the Wizard; I Don't Need to Run the Wizard on Other Computers. The Completing the Network Setup Wizard page appears (see Figure 3.9).
Figure 3.9. The Completing the Network Setup Wizard page.
Click Yes when you're prompted to restart your computer.