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Getting What You Ask For with Windows XP Professional's Make New Connections Network Wizard

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Microsoft expended a significant amount of effort to make sure the network connectivity in Windows XP Professional is seamless, easy to use and effective. In their efforts to make networking seamless they have made the interfaces for getting tasks done obtrusive and sometimes annoying. The basic building blocks of connectivity are there, yet the navigation could use fine-tuning. This article covers experiences with the New Connections Network Wizard, found in the Network Connections folder of the Control Panel. There is good news: Release Candidate 2 (RC2)'s Network Connections Wizard works.
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A Wizard for Every Occasion

Microsoft's reliance on wizards continues in Windows XP Professional, with nothing short of six different wizards for connectivity-related tasks. What's confusing is that there is an Internet Connections Wizard and a Networking Connections Wizard—both of which use the same pages or screens for fulfilling their tasks. There's also a Home Networking Wizard that lives up to the billing of a wizard because there are six options on its introductory screen and then a mysterious passing of icons with no explanation of what is happening. Are the icons representing a DHCP server install for quick IP connections? I combed over the Microsoft site and even emailed a question, and no one I ran into knows what's going on behind that mysterious Home Networking screen of passing icons, either. From previous experiences with RC1 and seeing the Internet Connections Wizard freeze halfway through a connection through a typical IP-based network, I decided to try RC2 on a dual-processor workstation that had an SMC card installed. Results: The Network Connections Wizard worked with the SMC network interface card this time, and even worked to the point of defining a VPN connection.

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