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Now, Let's Get Down to Business

Thankfully, the next series of steps on the Network Connections Wizard now works on RC2; in RC1, they would periodically crash on the server and workstation used for compatibility testing. The laptops use dial-up, which worked fine in RC1, and continues to perform in RC2. Figure 3 shows the options available in the next step of the Network Connections Wizard: connect directly to the Internet, connect to the workplace via VPN, or connect directly with other computers.

Figure 3-This is where all roads converge in the Network Connections Wizard—your selection of connectivity path

At first glance, this looks like a pretty straightforward dialog box. But what's missing is the navigation down each of these areas and the lateral movement back to the screen shown in Figure 3. The wizard does not allow for you to move laterally, therefore in parallel steps, through these options. Instead, you need to go through each one serially and then come back to the screen shown in Figure 3 to start over again. Further, each additional step of the wizard doesn't have a shortcut back to this location; you are navigating back here through several intermediary screens. This is really a waste of time for users because everyone from the neophyte to the most seasoned administrator likes to get several tasks done at once. In making this wizard easy-to-use, Microsoft is forcing users to be so serially focused that they cannot do anything else.

WARNING

Advanced Connection Alert: After having tested all three approaches, it was found that the Advanced Connection in RC2 only allows for configuring connections from others' computers to yours. In the existing release of Windows XP, you can't configure your PC to see anyone else—you can only configure your PC to be seen by them. This limitation, even in a pre-release candidate of an operating system, has security issues written all over it. The suggestion is to avoid this type of connectivity option until Service Pack 1 for Windows XP arrives sometime in 2002.

Completing the series of steps, next comes defining whether you will be using a dial-up connection or a broadband connection. Because the Personal Information dialog box was dismissed earlier in the process, only the broadband connections selection is now available. Figure 4 shows what this dialog box will look like at this step in the wizard.

Figure 4-Getting through the Network Connections Wizard steps.

With Broadband selected, the wizard continues and completes the connection. I found my workstation able to see the Internet from that point forward.

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