Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Windows Vista & Home Server

This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Networking Vista to a Windows XP Computer

I'd bet that most people who read this book have a copy of Windows Vista on their newest computer and at least one other computer that uses Windows XP.

Perhaps it used to be your primary computer, and now it's been demoted as a machine for the kids or your spouse, or it's a file server that contains your MP3 files, perhaps. I have a computer at home full of 1980s tunes, including a few by Cyndi Lauper. I am not ashamed that I dance like a moron when I vacuum.

So, let's set up both the Vista machine and the XP machine to talk to each other, starting with Windows XP.

Recommended: Convert Your XP Computer to NTFS

For file sharing, I recommend that your XP hard drive should be formatted as an NTFS drive, not a FAT32 drive. NTFS is a newer, more secure disk-formatting technology.

File systems are created when you first format a hard drive. By default, XP uses NTFS, although if you upgraded from Windows Me or 98, it could still be configured as FAT32.

For security purposes, we're going to want to use NTFS because it gives us control over who gets access to what on a network computer.

To check the file system on your XP computer:

  1. Click the Windows button and then My Computer.
  2. In the My Computer window, right-click on your C: drive and choose Properties.
  3. Under file system, you should see NTFS (see Figure 11.7) or FAT32.
    Figure 11.7

    Figure 11.7 Make sure your Windows XP computer uses the NTFS file system.

If it shows NTFS, you're good to go. Skip to the next section. If not, here's how to convert a FAT32 drive to NTFS:

  1. Click the Windows button and then select Run.
  2. Type cmd in the Run box and click OK. A Command prompt window opens.
  3. At the flashing cursor, type convert c: /fs:ntfs (see Figure 11.8).
    Figure 11.8

    Figure 11.8 If you need to, convert your XP system's hard drive to the NTFS file system.

  4. Windows converts the drive to NTFS.

Create a Password-Protected User on XP

Now let's password protect one of your XP user accounts:

  1. Click the Windows button, Control Panel, User Accounts.
  2. Click on the account name you want to use to share a folder, and choose Create a Password (see Figure 11.9).
    Figure 11.9

    Figure 11.9 Passwords protect one of the user accounts on your XP system.

  3. Type a new password and retype it; then click Confirm.
  4. If, at this point, a Windows XP dialog box asks whether you want to make your files and folders private, choose No.

Disable Simple File Sharing

If you have Windows XP Pro on your system, disable simple file sharing.

It will interfere with the File and Printer Sharing feature, so we need to turn it off, as follows:

  1. Click the Windows button, All Programs, Accessories, Windows Explorer.
  2. Click the Tools, Folder Options, and select the View tab.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the Advanced Settings box and uncheck Use Simple File Sharing (Recommended) (see Figure 11.10).
    Figure 11.10

    Figure 11.10 Turn off simple file sharing on your XP Pro computer. It's the last item in this figure.

  4. Click Apply, and then click OK.

Enable File and Printer Sharing

Now, enable File and Printer Sharing on your XP computer. To do this:

  1. Click the Windows button, Control Panel, Network and Internet Connections, Network Connections.
  2. In the Network Connections window, right-click the Local Area Connection and choose Properties.
  3. In the Local Area Connection Properties window, check File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks (see Figure 11.11).
    Figure 11.11

    Figure 11.11 Enable File and Printer Sharing on your XP computer.

Without a check mark here, you won't be able to share any of your folders or files from your XP Pro or XP Home computer.

Synchronize Workgroup Names

Make sure that the XP computer is a member of the same network workgroup as the Vista computer.

From the Vista end of things, computers on the same home network can be members of any workgroup and the Vista computer will detect them. On the XP end of things, the workgroup name appears to be important. For your sanity, standardize on the same workgroup name for all computers that will share data. The default workgroup name most people use is the imaginative name WORKGROUP (as I mentioned earlier in this chapter in the section, "Networking Vista to Vista").

Here are the steps to change the name of your network workgroup on both types of computer.

How to Change the Workgroup in XP

Let's start with how to edit the workgroup in Windows XP.

  1. Click the Windows button, Control Panel, System.
  2. Click the Computer Name tab and then click the Change button next to where it says To Rename This Computer or Join a Workgroup, Click Change (see Figure 11.12).
    Figure 11.12

    Figure 11.12 Change the workgroup on your XP computer.

  3. Under Workgroup, type WORKGROUP and click OK.
  4. You'll need to restart the system for the changes to take effect.

How to Change the Workgroup in Vista

Now let's edit the workgroup in Windows Vista.

  1. Click the Windows button, type System in the Search box, and click System when it appears in the Start menu.
  2. Under the Computer Name, Domain, and Workgroup Settings, you see the name of the system's workgroup listed.
  3. To change it, click Change Settings and then click Continue when the UAC warning appears.
  4. On the Computer Name tab, click Change, edit the Workgroup name, and then click OK (see Figure 11.13).
    Figure 11.13

    Figure 11.13 Click Change to modify the name of the workgroup on your Vista computer.

  5. You'll need to restart the system to finish.

Testing 1,2,3: Is This Network On?

With all these tweaks in place, both your Windows Vista computer and Windows XP computer should be able to "see" each other. Here's how to test that.

Is Windows XP in the Right Workgroup?

  1. Click the Windows button, Control Panel, Network Connections; then on the left-hand side, click My Network Places.
  2. On the left side of the Network Places window, click View Workgroup Computers.
  3. Have patience while the system sniffs out the network. Wait times for machines to appear can vary. Sometimes it's a few seconds, and sometimes it's a few minutes.
  4. If nothing appears, scoot back to the section "How to Change the Workgroup in XP" on p. 366 (this chapter) and make sure the computer is set to the same workgroup as the Vista computer.

Is Windows Vista in the Right Workgroup?

  1. Click the Windows button and then Network on the right side of the Start menu.
  2. Wait for the computer to scan the network. Watch the green bar at the top to see the scanning progress. All computers on your network appear (see Figure 11.14).
    Figure 11.14

    Figure 11.14 Browse your network from Vista.

  3. The computers are represented in different ways. If the icons have blue screens, they are (ironically) detected and online. You should also see that your router will have a router icon and some computer names will be duplicated because they will have media-sharing enabled.

Troubleshooting XP-to-Vista Networking

Sometimes XP just refuses to work with your network. And even if you put all the preceding settings in place and do everything right, sometimes it just won't do what it is supposed to do. Vista won't see your XP computer, and your XP computer won't see anything but itself, or everything but itself.

There could be a dozen issues causing this, because a network consists of lots of hardware, software, and operating system settings. Think of it this way: If you bit into a sandwich and it tasted bad, you'd check the bread, the mayo, the mustard, the lettuce, the cheese, the roast beef, and so on until you discovered the nasty bit. A network is a multi-decker sandwich, and finding the bad bit can be extremely difficult. That said, there are some obvious things you can try that might coax it to work:

  • Change the network connection from wireless to wired (if an option) or from wired to wireless.
  • If wireless, make sure you are connected to the right wireless network and not your neighbor's network.
  • If available, update the driver for your network or wireless card.
  • Update the system BIOS or update chipset drivers.
  • Leave it be. Sometimes a bit of patience leads to XP suddenly waking up and finding the network and displaying it.
  • Reboot. It's panacea for all PC ills, but it can work. I suspect that the network stack in XP is buggy, and sometimes it hangs. A reboot can refresh it.
  • Refresh the My Network Places window by hitting F5 or clicking View Workgroup Computers a second time. On Vista, right-click in the network window and choose Refresh.
  • After you get the XP machine to see the network, the Vista computer will then in turn make the XP machine appear in the Vista network window.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020