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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.

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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.

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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 and by extension, your network is as secure as possible.

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I can't see my other computer(s) in Network Neighborhood, or they appear and disappear.

Ahhh, this is the question that has been asked since before Time began... or at least since Microsoft bundled networking into their products!  There are entire Web sites that are devoted to the subject of Windows networking (one of the most comprehensive is J. Helmig's WOWN site), but I just might be able to save you some time. 

1) First, make sure you have all the Network pieces installed.

2) Make sure you are logged in! 
File and printer sharing depends on your being logged into Microsoft Networking.  You can do this two ways:

 

  • Windows Login. If you set the Primary Network Logon box as shown below, you will be automatically logged into the network when Windows starts up.  Network Properties
    Note that if when Windows first asked you to login (when you first installed it or when you turned on your new computer for the first time) and you didn't enter a password, you still get logged in to Network services each time Windows starts.  Windows just doesn't ask you for a password any more.  If you entered a password, Windows will prompt you for it and you must enter it to successfully login.

    If you press the Escape (ESC) or any other key, you won't be logged on and won't be able to see anything in Network Neighborhood!

    If the Primary Network Logon is set to Client for Microsoft Networks or Microsoft Family Logon, you must enter a password when the logon box comes up, or if you don't have a password, you must press the Enter key to successfully logon.  

    If you press the Escape (ESC) or any other key, you won't be logged on and won't be able to see anything in Network Neighborhood!
     

3) Set the Default Protocol
I've found this simple thing to cure many misbehaving networks, especially ones with both Win98 and 95 machines.

Go to the Advanced tab of the same protocol on each adapter (I suggest NebBEUI... as shown below) and check the Set this protocol to be the default protocol box.  

Setting the Default protocol

4) If this doesn't solve your problem, you may need to work through the procedures in this MS article (Q192534).

5) Personal firewall software can interfere with Windows Networking operation.  See this tip and also this one.

6) Finally, the WOWN troubleshooting section is also helpful.

 



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