I read your peer to peer networking article in a previous newsletter and I was just wondering what type of things should be set up and ready to go before putting my computer on a network. I use Windows XP.

I’m glad you asked that question, because it’s very important to prepare your computer for a network type setting. Here are a few things you should do and look out for before adding a Windows XP computer to an already existing network.

  • Even if it tells you to do it, don’t run Windows XP’s Network Setup Wizard on the other networked computers. You want to make the Windows XP computer conform to the existing network. The Wizard wants to make the rest of the network conform to XP.
  • You must disable Windows XP’s Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) on a local area network connection to other computers. If it’s enabled on a LAN, ICF will block File and Printer Sharing.
  • To make most network settings, you must be logged on as a user that is a member of the Administrators group.
  • Use the same protocol for File and Printer Sharing on all computers.
  • Remove all network protocols that aren’t required for a specific purpose.
  • If you have multiple protocols, unbind File and Printer Sharing from all but one. Using more than one protocol, even on just one networked computer, can make networking with XP unreliable.
  • TCP/IP, by itself, works for all Windows networking functions.
  • If you assign IP addresses manually, use the same IP subnet on all computers.
  • NetBEUI isn’t necessary.
  • Use the same workgroup name on all computers.

Here is the previous article on peer to peer networking in Windows that was mentioned in the customer’s question above. Be sure to read it if you’re planning on moving forward with the network setup process.

~ Ramachandran Kumaraswami