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The Bottom Line

With previous versions of Windows, a chapter like this about networking would have been at least twice as long. That's because with those older Windows, you had to set up all sorts of complicated network protocols (such as TCP/IP and IPX), pretty much by hand. Windows didn't do a good job of recognizing all your network devices, and the network configuration was a long, drawn-out process. (More trial and error than anything else, to be truthful.)

One of the true joys of Windows XP is how easy it makes home networking. Network devices are recognized automatically, and configuration takes place in the background. You still have to make the physical connections, of course, as well as click a few options in the various wizards. But all things being equal, connecting a network under Windows XP is relatively painless.


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