There are lots of good sources for Windows networking information. And despite all the great web sites, Usenet news groups, books, friends, and colleagues available to help out, not everyone gets it all right.

Here are some common beliefs about Windows networking that just aren’t true. You’ll probably run into some of them as you look for help with your Windows XP network. Don’t let your troubleshooting get sidetracked by them.

MisconceptionWindows networking requires the NetBEUI protocol.

Fact: Nothing in Windows networking has ever required NetBEUI. All network functions are available using TCP/IP.

Explanation : Windows 95 installs NetBEUI by default, so some people think that it’s required. You can remove NetBEUI and use a different protocol in Windows 95. All later versions of Windows install TCP/IP by default.

If you do want to use NetBEUI, here are instructions on implementing NetBEUI in Windows 2000.

MisconceptionThe NetBEUI protocol isn�t available in Windows XP.

Fact: You can install NetBEUI from the Windows XP CD-ROM. See Windows XP Network Protocols for details.

Explanation : NetBEUI is an unsupported protocol in Windows XP. That doesn�t mean that it won�t work. It means that Microsoft recommends not using it, and that they won�t provide technical support if you have problems with it.

Misconception: Windows 95 can’t read a shared disk on another networked computer if the disk uses the FAT32 or NTFS file system. Windows 95/98/Me can’t read a shared disk on another networked computer if the disk uses the NTFS file system.

Fact: The file system of a shared disk is irrelevant. Every computer knows how to read its own disk and make its contents available to other computers over the network.

Explanation : The original release of Windows 95 can’t read a FAT32 partition on its own local hard disk. Windows 95/98/Me can’t read an NTFS partition on their own local hard disks. These restrictions don�t apply to networked disk access.

Misconception: It isn’t safe to use TCP/IP for file sharing on a local area network, because other Internet users will be able to see your files.

 : TCP/IP is unsafe only when all of these statements are true:

  • The computers are connected to a hub or switch, and a DSL or cable modem is connected to the uplink port.
  • Each computer receives its own public IP address from your Internet service provider.
  • There’s no hardware or software firewall blocking outside access.
  • In that case, use NWLink IPX/SPX or NetBEUI for file sharing and un-bind file sharing from TCP/IP.

Your network is isolated from the Internet, and it’s safe to use TCP/IP for file and printer sharing, in these common configurations:

  • All of the computers connect to the Internet through a hardware router.
  • One computer has an Internet connection and shares it with the other computers using a program such as Microsoft’s Internet Connection Sharing.

Misconception: A network with Windows XP Home Edition can have a maximum of 5 computers. A network with Windows XP Professional can have a maximum of 10 computers.

Fact: There�s no limit to the number of computers that can be connected to a network.

Explanation: Windows XP Home Edition allows a maximum of 5 other computers to access its shared disks and folders simultaneously. Windows XP Professional allows a maximum of 10 other computers to access its shared disks and folders simultaneously.

Misconception: Un-install the Qos Packet Scheduler component in your network connections. It reserves 20% of the available bandwidth for XP�s own use and slows down your network and Internet access.

Fact : Windows XP doesn�t reserve any bandwidth for itself. 100% of the bandwidth is available for programs that you run. See the Microsoft Knowledge Base article Windows XP Quality of Service (QoS) Enhancements and Behavior for more information.