Good text on home networking...
December 8, 2006 10:45 AM   Subscribe

I am pretty computer savvy but have little understanding of networking windows PCs (for home use). Using a Linksys wireless router and the install wizard I was able to network my home computers, but if something goes wrong I'm lost. Can someone point me to a good print or electronic reference that will provide the principles and background on PC home networking and enable me (with a little effort) to understand the setup I now have. I am interested in such topics as network security, file sharing, printer sharing, adding or removing a computer from the network, and accessing my network from my office.
posted by retiree to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
For what it's worth, I'm also waiting to hear the answer. I'm also quite computer savvy, and also lost when it comes to (what should be) a basic, user configurable part of a huge mainstream OS.

How sad that there still aren't any answers here...
posted by Squid Voltaire at 2:44 PM on December 8, 2006

The Take Control series of cheap ebooks are about the level you're after. However, they have a strong OS X bias. There are some generic books in there though, such as Wireless Security, for which there is a free sample PDF.

Networking All-in-one Reference For Dummies looks promising.
posted by caek at 3:15 PM on December 8, 2006

Its not so tough. Here are the basics.

1. Know your computers names. Right click on My Computer and select properties. Click on the computer name tab. Do you like the name? If not change it to something easy to remember and easy to type. Lets pretend you named one computer Fred and the other Wilma. Notice that Workgroup thing. Give it a name, like Flintstones. Make sure both computers have the same workgroup.

2. If you do not have a password for your account then file sharing will be disable. So make sure you have passwords on all your windows accounts that you use.

3. Lets say you have an mp3 folder on Fred you want to share. Right click on it, properties, and select Share this folder. Use the default settings.

4. On Wilma you can double-click on My Network Places, Microsoft Network, and Flintstones. You should see Fred in there now. Double click on Fred. Double click on the mp3 folder. Type in the name and password you use on fred to login.

5. Copy and paste at will. Double click on music files to play them with your default player.

You'll find that going through My Network Places is slow and somewhat annoying. Instead double click My computer and type \\fred into the bar at the top. This will connect to fred without jumping through the hoops.

Printers work the same way. Say theres a printer installed on fred you want to share. Right click and share. Now goto WIlma. Type in \\fred. Double click on the printer you see. It will install the driver and the port. From now on you can print to fred's printer! Yabadabadoooooooo!!!
posted by damn dirty ape at 3:52 PM on December 8, 2006

Windows XP and Networking
posted by tremolo1970 at 8:34 PM on December 8, 2006

This is a little off-topic, but once you get your networking bearings, you should see if your router is compatible with DD-WRT, a free firmware upgrade that allows you to do pretty much anything you want. It's insanely useful and I can't imagine going back to the standard Linksys software.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:16 AM on December 9, 2006

I reckon I'm pretty nifty with networking. I learnt an awful lot from Practically Networked and World of Windows Networking, which is now Windows Networking. This was a few years back so I don't know if they are still any good.

Another great resource were computer fora, just reading and absorbing the knowledge. OcUK forums were, and still are a particular favourite of mine.
posted by 999 at 7:20 PM on December 9, 2006

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