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Chapter 10. Hooking Up to the Internet > Establishing a Brand-new Internet Acco...

10.3. Establishing a Brand-new Internet Account

If you'd like to sign up for Microsoft's Internet service, called MSN (and by the way, Microsoft would love you to sign up for MSN), or a traditional ISP, you're ready for the New Connection Wizard.

  1. Choose StartAll ProgramsAccessoriesCommunicationsNew Connection Wizard.

    If you managed to mouse across that labyrinth of menus, the New Connection Wizard appears (Figure 10-1).

    Figure 10-1. You can use this same New Connection Wizard to set up a small office network, a corporate network, and so on, but for now, you want the Connect to the Internet option. To sign up for a standard Internet account, just keep clicking the first choice on each wizard screen. At the last step, you'll have to choose between signing up for Microsoft's own Internet service, called MSN, or an independent one like EarthLink or AT&T. In the end, these services are essentially identical, and let you use precisely the same features. The deciding factors should be the price of the service and the presence of a local phone number that your modem can use to dial in.

  2. Click Next. On the next screen, click Connect to the Internet, and then click the Next button.

    Now you reach an important juncture: the Getting Ready screen (third from top in Figure 10-1).

  3. Click "Choose from a list of Internet service providers (ISPs)," and then click Next.

    Here's where you tell the wizard whether you want to sign up for the pricier, but sanitized, world of MSN, or a standard Internet service provider.

  4. Click either "Get online with MSN" or "Select from a list of other ISPs," and then click Finish.

    If you choose MSN, the graphic design scheme of the wizard changes—suddenly you're in pastel land. This, of course, is the MSN Signup Wizard. Over the next few minutes, you'll be guided through the process of signing up for a new account. You'll be asked for your name, address, birthday, occupation, credit card number, and so on. You'll also be offered the chance to preserve your existing Microsoft-service email address (anything ending with @hotmail.com or @msn.com). (During the process, the computer will dial a toll-free number to connect with MSN.)

    If you choose "Select from a list of other ISPs," the wizard disappears, and Windows deposits you into a folder window containing two shortcuts: "Get online with MSN" (which opens the same wizard described in the previous paragraph) and "Refer me to more Internet Service Providers." Use the latter shortcut to sign up for traditional Internet accounts, as shown in Figure 10-2.

    Figure 10-2. In the U.S., the ISP Signup Wizard starts by calling a toll-free number to retrieve a list of Internet service providers that have deals with Microsoft in "your area" (in general, this means "in your country"). Click one, and then read the details of its deal in the scrolling right-side window. After settling on one, click the Next button to begin the signup process (providing your name, address, credit card number, and so on). Along the way, you'll probably be asked to select a local telephone number (that your modem will call to get online) from an existing list.



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