General Procedures

The preceding sections of this chapter outline the fundamentals of networking and the various components that make up Windows XP’s built-in support for networking. As stated earlier, Windows is really only concerned with the connections directly attached to the computer, so building a network essentially means configuring the connections for each computer involved.

The following sections explain the procedures for building and connecting to different types of networks. It’s important to realize that there are limitless combinations of networking hardware and software, and it’s obviously impossible to cover them all.

Setting Up a LAN

Connecting two computers to form a basic peer-to-peer workgroup is fairly easy with Windows XP, as long as you have the proper equipment, drivers, and an hour or two. Ideally, you should be able to set up a functioning workgroup in less than ten minutes, but that doesn’t include fishing for drivers, resolving hardware conflicts, or running a cable through your attic.

We’ll start with a basic peer-to-peer workgroup consisting of two computers. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Two computers, each presumably running Windows XP. Although you can connect a Windows machine to a machine running any networkable operating system (Windows 9x/Me, Windows NT/2000, Mac, Unix, etc.), for the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume that both machines are running Windows XP.

  • At least one network adapter (see NIC in Section 7.1, earlier in this chapter) installed in ...

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