One of the best features of today's computers is their capability to connect to and communicate with one another over networks. Whether you are working at home, at the office, or away from home, you might want to set up a network, too. Setting up a network allows you to connect your computer to other computers so that you can easily share files, media, and devices. You might also want to set up a network to connect your computer to your Xbox, TiVo, and other devices, such as a network printer.
For Windows 7, Microsoft has introduced new networking tools that replace the tools used in earlier releases of Windows. Although there are many changes, the earlier functionality has remained, and new features have been added. Before diving into the specifics of the new networking features, I'll discuss the essentials of setting up a home or small-business network for use with wired and wireless networks. If you run into problems setting up your networking, see the troubleshooting tips at the end of this chapter.
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