The Easiest Ethernet LAN Segment 5 of 5
Once the hardware connection is completed, the next step is simply to walk to the front of the two machines, and use Microsoft’s "Network Setup Wizard" to configure the Ethernet interface in each machine to assign a unique network Name to each of the two computers, and to tell each of the two computers that they are both members of the same "Workgroup" for file and resource sharing.
Until those configuration steps are completed, Windows knows that this connection is not ready for use, so it displays this warning message:
This configuration has to be done on each of the two machines, and I just configure each one by hand, separately.
I’ve found it doesn’t matter whether I can configure one machine and then the other, or whether I configure both at the same time, wandering back and forth between the two to answer similar questions on each.
On each machine, I start off by clicking on “Start,” then “Control Panel,” and then, “Network Setup Wizard.” This wizard will lead you step by step through configuration of the Ethernet on each of the two machines. Microsoft Windows will detect the kind of Ethernet interface or interfaces you’ve got, and if you have multiple interfaces, it will ask you about each of them one at a time, guiding you into turning them on or turning them off as necessary, until you and Windows home in on and agree on the kind of network connection you want to set up.
Because different kinds of computers (different windows machines) vary, and the kinds of Ethernet interfaces installed may differ, and you may have more than one Ethernet interface in your computer, your experience with this Wizard might vary slightly from what I saw when I did it on these two computers.
Nevertheless, if you carefully and methodically work your way through all of the menu prompts, reading the help available from the Wizard, and click on the appropriate answers, within a few minutes invested on each computer, you will have your Ethernet configured and you’ll be able to start sharing files. If you have a printer you can share that, too.
As you work your way through this network setup wizard, you’ll be asked about ten questions, regarding the types of Ethernet interfaces and the way you want them connected. You’ll be given, for example, opportunities to tell Windows to simply ignore certain Ethernet interfaces if you have more than one kind in your computer.
As I worked my way through all of these questions on my two computers, I captured the interesting screens and have placed them here in this movie, so you could see the kinds of answers that I gave. Your computers will probably be a little different, and so some of the questions and resulting answers may be a little bit different in your situation than in mine. Nevertheless, in general, you’ll follow this same pattern.
For example, I was asked what kind of Internet connection I want to configure with this network. Of course, because this is such a simple little Local Area Network connection between just two computers, the Internet was not going to be any part of my situation, so I had to cruise through a couple of extra menu picks to specify that this little network wouldn’t have any connection with the Internet.
I found it pretty easy and intuitive to give Windows sensible answers and guide it to configure the network on each of these two computers.
If you have trouble with vocabulary or concepts, you might try looking at some of the other movies here on AskMisterWizard.com in our networking or Ethernet section.
In my case, for each of the two computers that I configured, the Wizard made it clear when I finished everything, and it was obvious at that point that I should be able to access shared files.
From that point onward, network access, sharing of files, and accessing shared files was easily handled through Microsoft’s well known “My Network Places” facility, available by clicking on “Start,” from the desktop, and then “My Network Places” from either computer.
This is the text from the movie entitled "The Easiest Ethernet LAN", published at http://www.askmisterwizard.com/. (The text also includes a few small, static illustrations from the movie). You can learn more about the video version and purchase an inexpensive personal license to view it by clicking right here. You can learn more about our "Internet Series" of licensed videos by clicking here. Our "Internet Series" is part of a larger set of "Networking" videos, and you can learn about all of them by clicking here.