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From the author of Configuring Windows 7 Networking

Configuring Windows 7 Networking

When you first connected to the Internet with Windows 7, you were prompted to select a network type (Home, Work, Public). You should use Home for a home network, Work for a network at your workplace, and Public for an unsecured wireless network. Home and Work are designed to share resources, while Public is not. If necessary, use the Network and Sharing Center to change the network type before continuing.

To complete network configuration of your new Windows 7 computer, click Advanced Sharing Settings in the left pane of the Network and Sharing Center. Home or Work settings are shown first. Figure 15 shows a portion of the Advanced Sharing Settings dialog.

Figure 15 Using the Advanced Sharing Settings dialog.

Configuring Windows 7 for XP-Style "Simple File-Sharing"

Choose the following options in Home or Office to configure Windows 7 to provide simple file sharing similar to what Windows XP uses by default:

  • Network Discovery: Turn On…—Turning this off will make your computer "invisible" on the network.
  • File and Printer Sharing: Turn On…—Turning this off will prevent your computer from sharing any resources.
  • Public Folder Sharing: Turn On…—When turned on, permits read/write access to the Public folder on your computer from any computer on the network.
  • Password Protected Sharing: Turn Off…—If you don't use password protected sharing and have a wireless network, be sure to use WPA or WPA2 encryption with a strong encryption key to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the network.

Configuring Windows 7 for More Secure File-Sharing

If you want to provide better security for your shared resources, choose Password Protected Sharing: Turn On…. If you use this option, you must set up usernames and passwords for each user you want to share your resources with.

Configuring Windows 7 for Media Streaming

Windows 7 provides easy media streaming without the need to expose your media folders to possible access. To enable media streaming, click the Choose Media Streaming Options link. From the next dialog, click Turn on Media Streaming.

By default, all media on your computer will be shared with computers running Windows Media Center 11 or greater (Figure 16). Each computer with Windows Media Center 11 or greater or device configured for media streaming will show up in this dialog.

Figure 16 Configuring Windows 7 for media streaming.

To configure default settings for streaming, click the Choose Default Settings link shown in Figure 16. To customize settings for a particular device, click Customize.

The Choose Default Settings and Customize dialogs enable you to share media with a particular star rating or higher, and also enable you to use parental controls to limit access to Recorded TV, audio, photos, and video. Figure 17 shows the Customize dialog (Choose Default Settings is similar).

Figure 17 Customizing Windows 7 media streaming.

To learn how to customize sharing, click the How Do I Customize Sharing? link shown in Figure 17.

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