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How To Setup And Configure A Home Or Business Network In Vista

How do I setup and configure a network in Vista? If you have setup networks using windows xp you probably won’t have too much trouble setting up a network in Vista. Or will you? In Vista you have to click a lot more options and or dig through a bunch more layers in order to accomplish the tasks compared to XP.

The first thing we have to accomplish is giving our workgroup a name and naming our computers. The default workgroup name in Vista is Workgroup. Sounds pretty lame so let’s rename the workgroup to something that makes more sense to us. I like to name my workgroup something I would recognize as being mine. For example I use my last name Millar. You will have to give every computer in your home/business the same workgroup name. While we are renaming the workgroup we can also accomplish giving our computer a name at the same time so our computer is recognized by the network. Give every computer a different name. For example you could use WS1 and WS2. WS1 would be work station 1 and WS2 would be work station 2. To rename the workgroup and give your computer a name do the following:

  • Click Start and then click Control Panel
  • On the left side click Classic View and then scroll down the list and double click System in the left window click Advanced system settings.
  • In the system properties sheet box click on the Computer Name tab. Type in a computer name that you will recognize as I stated above you could use WS1 on your second computer type in WS2.
  • Notice there is also a box named workgroup. Type in the workgroup name you would like to use for example use your last name. All computers must have the same workgroup name. View the diagram below to confirm your settings.

computer name  workgroup

Ok, now that we have renamed all computers and named our workgroup it is time to manage our network settings.

To manage your network settings do the following:

  • Click Start and then click Control Panel once in Control Panel double click Network and Sharing Center then in the left portion of the window click on Manage network connections.
  • Next right click Local area connection and select properties. Uncheck Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6 and then place a checkmark in Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
  • Click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) until it is highlighted blue and then click on Properties. Make sure Obtain IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server address automatically are selected as illustrated below.
  • If you happen to have a static IP address, (most people at home do not but some bussinesses might) click the radio button for Use the Following IP Address and enter in the IP Address, Subnet Mask, and Default Gateway. You will also need to enter in your DNS server addresses.


local area connection

Next we have to select our network location Public or Private. I always choose Private. To do this go back to the Network and Sharing Center and select Private. While you are in the Network and Sharing center you will notice a section called Sharing and Discovery. Turn the following options on while you are in there. Network DiscoveryFile Sharing and Printer Sharing. Turn the following option off. Public Folder Sharing.

Your network is now setup and configured properly unless you have some sort of weird hardware in which case you may need a certified technician to come in and help you out, you could pick me to help you. We can now share some folders to test our work.

  • You will first have to add User Accounts to your computer before you can share any folders. Each user you want to share folders with will have to have a user account on your computer. Click Start and then click Control Panel then click User Accounts. Add an account for everyone you wish to share folders with.
  • When you create a new user account you will have two options for account types.
  • Standard User: A standard user can use most software and change system settings that do not affect other users or the security of the computer.
  • Administrator: An Administrator has complete access to the computer and can make any desired changes.
  • For detailed instructions on setting up user accounts and folder and file sharing please read How To Setup Configure Vista File Sharing.
  • Now that we have added all the user accounts to our system we can safely share folders. To share a folder navigate to the folder you would like to share and right click the folder and then select properties.
  • Next click the Sharing tab and then click share. Give the folder a share name and you are done. See the illustration below.

sharing  folders

You may also be interested in reading:
How To Troubleshoot Networking Issues In Vista
OSI Model
How To Setup and Configure Port Forwarding
How To Setup and Configure Remote Desktop

Happy Computing! Peace.