Connecting several computers to a network on Windows

December 2016

Networking

on Windows 2000/XP

In order to configure each computer, you need only go to the control panel, then double-click on "network connections", and then right-click "local network connection", and select properties!

The various protocols installed are shown in the local network connection window. In order to be able to share your files, play games on the network, and use your printers, it is necessary to install the following protocols:

  • Microsoft network client
  • File and printer sharing for Microsoft networks
  • QoS packet planner
  • Netbios Nwlink
  • NWLink IPX/SPX/NetBIOS-compatible transport protocol (for old games)
  • TCP/IP Internet protocol

If one of these protocols is absent, click on "Install..." and add it.

Each computer must then be assigned an address, called an IP address in order to be able to communicate. In order to do this, you have to select "Internet protocol TCP/IP" and click on "Properties".

The assignment of IP addresses may be done automatically or be manually defined, which is preferable for a small LAN. We will commonly assign these addresses:

Computer no. 2
IP address: 192.168.0.1
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
Computer no. 2
IP address: 192.168.0.2
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
...
Computer no. xxx
IP address: 192.168.0.xxx
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
Once the IP address is allocated, you just have to close the window by clicking on OK (the DNS (domain name servers) will be left on automatic)

For optimal functioning, it is useful to check whether the network computers are part of the same workgroup. To do this, just right-click the workspace and select "properties". Under the tab "Computer name" you will see the name of the computer as well as the workgroup to which it belongs. In order to modify the work group and do the same for all computers, you just have to click on"Network ID ";

The next step is to make sure that all of the computers communicate well together.

  • At the command prompt (MS-DOS command window) by opening Run menu and typing:
    cmd
  • On PC no. 1, type the following command, which will allow you to verify whether PC no. 1 sees PC no. 2:
    ping 192.168.0.2
  • Then, try the following command, which allows you to verify whether the name given to a computer corresponds to the right IP address:
    ping ComputerName
  • ... and so on with the various computers on the network.

The command below allows you to see the network configuration details of the computer, in particular to see the running machine's IP address if it was automatically assigned:

ipconfig /all

The next step (optional) is to share the files of each PC. To do this, right-click the file to be shared, then click on "share", then assign a name to the file as it will be seen on the network.

Right-click the "Network places" icon on your desktop, and then click on "explore" (note: there is a difference between "explore" and "open"!!!), click on "all network", then on the workgroup; you will then see the computers and the files and folders that they share.

on Windows 95/98/Me

Right-click on the "network neighborhood" icon on your desktop and select properties or, if there is no network neighborhood icon on the desktop, go to the control panel and click on network".

The "Configuration" tab shows the various protocols and network cards installed. In order to be able to share your files, play games on the network, and share your printers, it is necessary to install the following protocols:

  • Microsoft network client
  • The name of your network card
  • File and printer sharing for Microsoft networks
  • IPX/SPX protocol
  • TCP/IP Internet protocol
If one of these protocols is absent, click on "Install..." and add the missing element.

In order to configure the IP addresses of each computer, you have to select "Internet protocol TCP/IP" and click on "Properties" in order to open the "TCP/IP properties" window.

The IP addresses of each computer can be assigned manually or automatically. The manual method allows you to master the address plan of your network in the case of a network consisting of a small number of machines! The following IP addresses will commonly be given:

Computer no. 1
IP address: 192.168.0.1
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0
Computer no. 1
IP address: 192.168.0.2
Subnet mask: 255.255.255.0

In order to ensure optimum functionality, it is useful to check whether the network computers belong to the same workgroup. Under the tab "Identification" of your "network" window, you will see the name of the computer as well as the workgroup to which it belongs. In order to modify the workgroup and do the same for all computers, you just have to click on"Network ID "; the next step is to make sure that all of the computers communicate well together.

  • Open a DOS prompt by going to "Run menu" then "run", and type:
    command
  • On PC no. 1, type the following command, which will allow you to verify whether PC no. 1 sees PC no. 2:
    ping 192.168.0.2
  • Then, try the following command, which allows you to verify whether the name given to a computer corresponds to the right IP address:
    ping ComputerName
  • ... and so on with the various computers on the network.

The command below allows you to see the network configuration details of the computer, in particular to see the running machine's IP address if it was automatically assigned:

ipconfig /all

The next step (optional) is to share your files on every PC by right clicking the file to share in the explorer window and selecting "share"; then, click "share as" and assign a name to the file as it will be seen on the network.

Right-click the "Network neighborhood" icon on your desktop, and then click on "explore" (note: there is a difference between "explore" and "open"!!!), click on "Network", then on the workgroup that you created; you will then see the computers and the files and folders that they share.

Article by Metathesus, Eaulive and Jeff Pillou


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