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Sharing Files, Printers, and Other Stuff on Your Network

Now that your computers are communicating, you can turn to the task of starting to do something useful with them. This chapter looks at how to share files, printers, and other devices among the computers in your home network.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Now that your computers are communicating, you can turn to the task of starting to do something useful with them. In Chapter 2, "Project 1: Making Your Computers Talk to Each Other," you went through your first project. In this and subsequent chapters you will continue to take the steps required for particular solutions. This chapter looks at how to share files, printers, and other devices among the computers in your home network.

Running the Network Setup Wizard

To get your home network ready to share information and equipment, you need to run the Network Setup Wizard once on each computer in the network. Before you work through the following steps, you should think about the names you want to assign to your network and to each computer. A short, descriptive name for the network, such as HOME, works well. Your computer names should indicate to whom the computer belongs or where it is located, such as BEDROOM or KITCHEN. If you use descriptive names, when you are looking for information and as your home network grows, it will be easier for you to identify which computer you are connecting to.

To run the Network Setup Wizard, follow these steps:

  1. Select Start, Control Panel. The Control Panel opens.
  2. If your page title is Pick a Category, select Network and Internet Connections (see Figure 3.1). The Pick a Task window appears.
  3. Figure 3.1

    Figure 3.1 The Control Panel in Category view.

  4. Select Network Connections from either the screen shown in Figure 3.2 (if your Control Panel is in Category view) or the one shown in Figure 3.3 (if your Control Panel is in Classic view). The Network Connections window appears (see Figure 3.4).
  5. Figure 3.2

    Figure 3.2 The Control Panel in Category view.

    Figure 3.3

    Figure 3.3 The Control Panel in Classic view.

    Figure 3.4

    Figure 3.4 The Network Connections window.

  6. Click Set Up a Home or Small Office Network. The Welcome to the Network Setup Wizard page appears (see Figure 3.5).
  7. Figure 3.5

    Figure 3.5 The Network Setup Wizard.

  8. Click Next. The Before You Continue page appears.
  9. Click Next. The Select a Connection Method page appears (see Figure 3.6).
  10. Ensure that the option This Computer Connects to the Internet Through Another Computer on My Network or Through a Residential Gateway is selected and then click Next. The Give This Computer a Description and Name page appears (see Figure 3.7)
  11. Figure 3.6

    Figure 3.6 The Select a Connection Method page.

    Figure 3.7

    Figure 3.7 The Give This Computer a Description and Name page.

  12. Enter descriptive information for this computer and then click Next. The computers in this example use the names BEDROOM and FAMILYROOM. The Name Your Network page appears (see Figure 3.8).
  13. Figure 3.8

    Figure 3.8 The Name Your Network page.

  14. Enter a short description for your network and then click Next. This example uses the default workgroup name MSHOME. The Ready to Apply Network Settings page appears.
  15. Click Next. The You’re Almost Done page appears.
  16. Select Just Finish the Wizard; I Don’t Need to Run the Wizard on Other Computers. The Completing the Network Setup Wizard page appears (see Figure 3.9).
  17. Click Finish.
  18. Click Yes when you’re prompted to restart your computer.
Figure 3.9

Figure 3.9 The Completing the Network Setup Wizard page.

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