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• Microsoft Vista Home Networking Setup and Options
The most daunting part of upgrading to Windows Vista may be trying to figure out where in the layers of menus the networking and file-sharing options are hidden.

• Do It Yourself: Roll Your Own Network Cables
It may not be something you do everyday, but having the supplies and know-how to whip up a network cable on the spot can be very handy.

• Tips for Securing Your Home Router
Seemingly minor and easily overlooked settings can still have profound security implications. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your wired or wireless home router ó and by extension, your network ó is as secure as possible.

  Most Popular Reviews

• Microsoft Windows Home Server
If you have a home network, you'll welcome the easy file sharing, remote access and the image-based backup features of Windows Home Server.

• Iomega StorCenter Network Hard Drive
Iomega's fourth generation StorCenter Network Hard Drive brings many of the features found in higher-end storage devices down to an attractive price.

• MikroTik's The Dude
This free tool delivers many of the same capabilities that you'd find in pricey network monitoring tools. As long as you don't mind tinkering, The Dude is a decent network utility that should be worth the download.


Running XPís built-in troubleshooting tools is a good first step after completing the preliminaries above. Open XPís Network Connections folder and click Network Troubleshooter.

The Help and Support Center opens, showing a series of networking problems and tasks.

Under Fix a problem, click the entry that best describes your networking problem, and XP will lead you through a troubleshooting procedure for that specific problem. For example, hereís the first screen of the File and Printer Sharing Troubleshooter.

Click the button that best describes your problem, put a check mark in the I want the troubleshooter to investigate settings on this computer box, click Next, and continue.

If youíre having problems connecting to web sites, news groups, or E-mail, click Diagnose network configuration and run automated networking tests, then click Scan your system. This option runs a series of tests and presents the results.

Some of the results are simply informative. For example, Computer System shows the name that you assigned to the computer, and Operating System shows whether you have XP Home Edition or XP Professional. For each test, the result appears as FAILED or PASSED.

Click the plus sign next to any result for more detailed information. Here, Iíve done that for Default Outlook Express Mail to see why that test failed. The detailed results show that the outbound mail server that I specified canít be found Ė its name starts with smtp, but I entered it incorrectly as stmp.

If youíre having problems with connectivity using the TCP/IP protocol, click the entries under Pick a task and follow the steps that they give. Earthweb HardwareCentral earthwebdeveloper CrossNodes Datamation

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