If you have a full-time Internet connection such as a cable modem, DSL, or company network, you don't have to do anything special to connect the Internet; you're connected constantly (although you may be required to enter a password each time you go online).
If you have a dial-up modem, however, you should now have a Connection icon in your Start→Settings→Network and Dial-up Connections folder. When you want to go online, you can double-click this icon (Figure 11-2, left). The Connect To dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 11-2, right. Just press Enter, or click Dial, to go online.
It's often more convenient, however, if your PC dials automatically, on cue, whenever you connect to a Web page (with Internet Explorer) or send/receive email (with Outlook Express). You can turn on this feature when you use a dial-up connection the first time; an option to connect automatically appears on the sign-in screen.
If you chose an automatic connection and want to go back to a manual connection (where you're prompted for a phone number of password before connecting), or vice versa, follow these steps:
Right-click the connection icon you want to modify; choose Properties from the shortcut menu.
The Connection Properties dialog box appears.
Click the Options tab.
If you turn on "Display progress while connecting," "Prompt for phone number," or "Prompt for name and password, certificate, etc.," you'll be presented with the Dial-up ...