If your household contains multiple computers (one equipped with Windows XP and Internet access, and one equipped with XP, Windows ME, Windows 98, or Windows 95), you can create a home network. Doing so enables you to share an Internet connection, hardware (such as a printer, scanner, and so on), and files and folders and play multi-computer games.
There are three basic steps: planning your network, installing and configuring the appropriate network hardware on each computer on the network, and running the Windows XP Network Setup wizard. Although an in-depth discussion of the first and second steps is beyond the scope of this book, you will find ample information about it in Windows XP's Help area (click the Networking and the Web link in the main Help and Support page). When planning your network, you must determine what type of network you want to build (Ethernet, HPNA, or wireless) and which machine will serve as your host computer (it should run Windows XP and be connected to the Internet). You must equip each computer on your network with a network interface card (NIC), or network adapter. If you want to network more than two PCs, you will need a hub (separate box into which cables from each network card connect).
The third step enables you to quickly and easily configure each PC for networking. The Network Setup wizard is covered in this part, as are the tasks associated with using a home network, including accessing network files, mapping networking drives, securing your network, and more.
Using the Network Setup Wizard
Enabling File Sharing
Browsing Shared Files
Mapping a Network Drive
Creating Network Shortcuts in My Network Places
Enabling the Security Log