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What’s New with Networking in Microsoft Windows XP

What’s New with Networking in Microsoft Windows XP

Microsoft Windows XP has a new look! Not only has Windows XP cleaned up your desktop, but now operating system tasks that you perform frequently are easier to find. In all the folders, look for the most commonly used tasks in the Tasks list located in the left pane. And what’s included with Windows XP for home networking is even better. Easier wizards, new security features, and some new advanced networking features make this a great time to start networking computers in your home.

Tip

To use this book, you will need at least one computer that uses Windows XP Home Edition or Professional, and at least one other computer with Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition, Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me), or Windows XP on it. The exercises throughout this book use Windows XP Home Edition and Windows 98 Second Edition to demonstrate how to create your home network. The procedures you use to network other Windows operating systems with Windows XP are either the same or very similar.


So, what’s new with home networking in Windows XP? First, you can take advantage of improved Plug and Play technology. When you plug in your network hardware, Windows XP finds it, installs it, and tells you if it needs any disks. Most network hardware is installed without any interaction from you. Once your network hardware is installed, Windows XP can detect if it’s plugged in. If you have problems with your network, you can easily confirm that your network hardware is installed, plugged in, and correctly configured.

The simplified Network Setup Wizard is smarter than ever. With a few clicks of your mouse, the Network Setup Wizard helps you choose the right options, set up Internet Connection Sharing, share your files and printers, and make your network secure. In addition, you can use your Windows XP CD to add computers with other supported Windows operating systems to your network, or you can create a floppy Network Setup Disk. The Network Setup Wizard walks you through network setup on each computer that you want to add to your network.

Once your network is set up, advanced networking features in Windows XP let you create a network bridge, easily set up a wireless network, and make Internet gaming a seamless and secure experience. Plus, you can use the new Internet features of Windows XP—such as Windows Messenger’s voice and video capabilities—from all the computers on your home network.

As you start using your network, you will find that you can quickly access shared files on all the computers on the network. The Network Setup Wizard creates a single Shared Documents folder on each computer from which you can share files with the other computers on your network. Just drop the files into the Shared Documents folder, and you are ready to go.

Another new feature in Windows XP is automatic discovery of printers. When you add a printer to a computer that is on your network, the printer is automatically made available to the other computers on the network.

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