Managing a network isn’t easy, especially if you’re not technically inclined in the first place. Eric Geier over at PracticallyNetworked.com looks at Network Magic Pro version 5.5 — network management software designed for regular people — to see if it delivers on its promise.
Network Magic is a software application that’s supposed to help the average person set up and manage a network. Even though Windows Vista and 7 are much more network-friendly than previous editions, Network Magic provides a consistent interface across different Windows and Mac versions. Plus it offers additional tools, which are supposed to help the ordinary user connect, secure, share, and troubleshoot with ease. Let’s see if they meet their promises.
Installing and Setting It Up
After downloading the free trial from the Pure Networks website, I ran the setup file and installed it with no problems.
After the installation, a wizard asks you a few questions, such as what personal folders and printers you want to share. Then you can create a password for the computer—new since our last review—which you must input before managing or monitoring with Network Magic. Additionally, you can sign-up for e-mail reports on the computer’s activity. Plus you can configure it to take scheduled pictures of the screen, so you have an idea of what the users are doing—also new since our last review.
Connecting to Wireless Networks
After the install and initial configuration, we wanted to connect to a Wi-Fi network. We found a Go Wireless button on the main Network Magic screen (see Figure 1) and shortcuts on the icon in the system tray. Either way brings you to the Wireless Connection Manger (see Figure 2).
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