Managing Your Home Network Settings
After configuring your workgroup and computer names, it's time to manage the settings for your network adapter. Again if you've used a Vista Upgrade or the Windows Easy Transfer your network adapter settings should already be correct. If not, then you go back to the Network & Sharing Center in Vista or Windows 7 and choose Manage Network Connections (Vista) or Change adapter settings (Win 7) which will bring up your network connection icons.
From here you simply right click on the adapter, choose Properties, and you will find yourself in the more familiar "Connection Properties" window. If you see multiple network adapters listed, be sure to click on the appropriate one. For example, if youre using a wireless connection, right-click the that icon rather than the one for Local Area Connection, which refers to the wired network adapter.
NOTE: Internet protocol 6 (TCP/IPv6) is also available in Windows Vista/7. Computers that use both IPv4 and IPv6 might encounter a rare problem where it cannot resolve names and connect to Internet resources. This happens due to incorrectly configured DNS servers and you need to contact your ISP if this occurs.
Network Location Choices
In Windows Vista you have two options for Network Location: Public and Private. In Windows 7 you get three --Home, Work and Public. You must choose the Network Location the first time you connect your PC to the network. The network location is what determines your Windows firewall settings.
- Public: If you're connecting to a network in a public place, for example a coffee shop or airport, you'll choose a Public location type. Choosing Public will limit discovery of other computers and is designed to keep your computer from being visible to others on the network. Public offers the most security.
- Home/Work/Private: This is the appropriate option for any home or office network, as it will automatically configure the firewall settings to allow for communication between devices.
At this point, your Vista/7-based PCs should now be connected to your home Ethernet network, and visible to Windows XP systems as well. From Vistas Network & Sharing Center, you can now configure individual Sharing & Discovery settings that pertain to file, folder, printer, and media sharing (provided you specified a Private network locationif you chose Public, most of these will be locked down by default).
In Windows 7, you have an additional option to set up a HomeGroup (under choose homegroup and sharing options), which enables quick and easy sharing of documents, music, pictures, and more -- alas, between Windows 7 systems only. Just enter in the common 10-character password on all of your Windows 7 systems, and the data types you specified will be automatically shared without any further configuration needed. If you do want to tweak individual sharing settings a la Vista, use the Change advanced sharing settings option.
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