Sooner or later, almost everyone who uses Windows 2000 Professional is connected to a network. It may be a giant corporate network with hundreds or thousands of computers, a smaller "workgroup" network in a small business, or an even smaller network that connects two or three computers in your home so that they can share your Internet connection and printer. In each case, Windows 2000 is an excellent choice for networking, thanks to its reliability (you rarely have to run around the office to restart a crashed PC) and security features.
The biggest advantage of a network is that it can improve efficiency by letting you share files, folders, printers, and other resources. Networking also helps to prevent lost data, because it's so easy to back up your files onto different computers.
The biggest disadvantage of networking is the risk of security problems: Once files and folders become available to any computer on the network, you have to take care to ensure that only appropriate individuals can access them; see Chapter 17 for more on security options. The other unfortunate aspect of networking is that its configuration, terminology, and troubleshooting can be extremely complex.
This chapter is called Working on the Network, not Building a Network. Corporate Windows 2000 networks generally rely on Windows 2000 Server, installed by networking professionals. This chapter covers using a network that somebody else has designed and installed.
There is ...