Chapter 10. Hooking Up to the Internet

Plenty of people buy a PC to crunch numbers, scan photos, or cultivate their kids’ hand-eye coordination. But for millions of people, Reason One for using a PC is to access the Internet. Few computer features have the potential to change your life as profoundly as the World Wide Web and email.

To join the Internet party already in progress, you need three components: a connection, such as a modem, cable modem, DSL, or corporate network; an Internet account; and Internet software, like the Web browsers and email programs described in the next chapter.

Five Degrees of Online Readiness

If you have any intention of making your PC a citizen of the Internet, you probably fall into one of these categories:

  • Your PC can already get online. This is the case if, for example, you upgraded to Windows XP from an earlier version of Windows. (The XP installer is thoughtful enough to preserve your old Internet settings.) If you can already access the Internet, you don’t need the advice in this chapter, which explains how to set up an account yourself. Just skip to the following chapter.

  • You have an Internet account on another PC that you want to transfer. In this case, consider using the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard, described on Section A.7. It teaches your new Windows XP machine all about the settings that worked on the old machine.

    Alternatively, if you know all the configuration details for your existing account—your account name, local access number, ...

Get Windows XP Home Edition: The Missing Manual now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.