Networking in New Ways

In Windows Vista, Microsoft introduced the Network And Sharing Center as the one place to go for most network-related tasks . The concept annoyed some longtime Windows veteran users, who discovered that common network tasks they had learned to accomplish with simple shortcuts in Windows XP now required extra clicks or keystrokes .

The Windows 7 Network And Sharing Center (shown in Figure 1-9) gets a usability overhaul designed to reduce clutter and make common tasks easier to find .

« Network and Internet ► Network and Sharing Center

Control Panel Home

Change adapter settings

Change advanced sharing settings

View your basic network information and set up connections

*$HTPC-410-7000 (This computer) View your active networks

Connect or disconnect

Network

Home network

Access type: Internet HomeGroup; Joined Connections: Ijj) Local Area Connection

Change your networking settings

See also HomeGroup Internet Options Windows Firewall

"S^i' Set up a new connection or network

Set up a wireless, broadband, dial-up, ad hoc, or VPN connection; or set up a router or access point.

^gl Connect to a network

Connect or reconnect to a wireless, wired, dial-up, or VPN network connection.

^^ Choose homegroup and sharing options

Access files and printers located on other network computers, or change sharing settings.

j^lj Trou bl esh oot probl em s

Diagnose and repair network problems, or get troubleshooting information.

Figure 1-9 Most common networking tasks are accessible within a click or two of the Network And Sharing Center.

If you're accustomed to networking in Windows XP, you have a lot of catching up to do . In the networking section of this book, we explain how Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) and Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) work together, for example, and how the Link Layer Topology Discovery subsystem helps you build a visual map of your network . Networking changes that are new in Windows 7 include a much-improved interface for connecting to wireless access points n

The most significant addition to the networking capabilities in Windows 7 is the Home-Group feature, which allows two or more computers running Windows 7 to share files and printers and stream media without the hassle of managing individual user accounts and permissions . Figure 1-10 shows the interface for managing shared files in a homegroup .

Figure 1-10 The HomeGroup feature offers a simplified interface for sharing files, printers, and digital media between computers running Windows 7 .

If your network includes computers running earlier versions of Windows, you'll need to set up shared access using more traditional techniques . The differences from Windows XP-based networks are profound. You can specify different levels of security for sharing and, on individual files and folders stored on NTFS volumes, you can specify which accounts and groups, if any, are allowed to access those files.

Our coverage of Windows 7 networking begins in Chapter 17, "Setting Up a Small Office or Home Network."

Keeping Your PC Speedy and Safe 17

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