Win Me - Networking with Me

HARDWARE CONNECTIONS First, you will need an Ethernet card with an RJ45 socket for each computer in your network, as well as some UTP Ethernet cables with RJ45 connectors attached. A hub with four to eight ports (depending on the number of computers in your network) will be required to facilitate the connections between the computers.

Once you've obtained the hardware, it's time to install the network cards. Gain access to your system by removing its cover, and locate a free PCI slot. Ground yourself by touching an unpainted part of the chassis (or use an anti-static strap) while handling the network card, gently insert it into the slot and screw it down so it doesn't come loose. Put the cover back and boot up the machine.

When Windows Me loads, it should inform you that it has found a new device and it should automatically install the driver for it. You should have your card's driver disc handy, though, just in case your particular card is not detected properly.

Next, connect one end of your UTP Ethernet cable to the Ethernet card and the other to a free port on the hub. Do this for each computer and then supply power to the hub.

RUN THE WIZARD Setting up a network requires a little more than just connecting a few loose ends. You will need to configure your computers so that they are on the same page and can see each other on the network. Windows Me contains a Home Networking Wizard that can be found in the My Network Places folder, which lies on the Desktop.

When you run the wizard, the first screen you see lets you either make changes on the current computer or create a floppy disk for use on another computer. Creating a floppy will allow you to install the wizard on other Windows 9x machines, so you can follow the same procedure on all machines.

You can also create a floppy disk after you've run the Wizard, so select "I want to edit my Home Networking settings on this computer" and click Next. Don't be confused with the next screen - it is simply asking if you will be accessing the Internet through the network. For this exercise, select "No, this computer does not use the Internet" and click Next.

The next screen is the Computer and Workgroup names screen. You will be asked to enter a one-word name for the computer you are currently on, which should be unique and possibly descriptive. For the workgroup, enter a one-word name that will be common to all computers on the network. For example, if one of your machines is in a workgroup called Home, the other computers on your network will also have to be in a workgroup called Home to access it. After you're done, click the Next button.

SHARED RESOURCES In the next screen you can select which resources will be shared across the network. The wizard allows you to share any printers that it finds on your system, and your My Documents folder. Select the things you wish to share and proceed to the final screen, which again offers a chance to create a networking wizard floppy disk. Create one if you like, and then click Finish. Restart your computer when prompted.

Note: you can share other drives or folders by right-clicking them and clicking Sharing. Be sure to give each shared resource a descriptive name.

PROTOCOLS Your computer(s) should now be configured properly to access each other over a network. You can try this by double-clicking on the My Network Places icon on the desktop and exploring Entire Network. If you can't see anything and all your settings are correct, then check your networking protocols. In the Control Panel, double-click Network, and under the Configuration tab make sure that NetBEUI (a simple and common Windows protocol) is installed. If it isn't, click the Add button, select Protocol from the list and click Add once more. From the next screen, select Microsoft from the list of manufacturers, select NetBEUI from the right-hand column, click OK twice and restart your computer when prompted.

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Elias Plastiras
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