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Monday, May 20, 2002

Making networking a hassle-free affair
Vipul Verma

THE present day world is computer-networked. All computers, including the standalone machine connecting to the Internet, are a part of the huge network.

Windows screen

The most important form of networking today is the dialup networking. Under the dialup networking, modem is being used to connect two computers or for connecting a computer with the Internet. Since dialup incurs heavy cost so obviously one would be interested in reducing the cost. One major tip to get rid of the logon screen. This logon screen is also sometimes a nuisance for single user computers as every time the Windows loads, the user has to furnish the password or hit Escape key to proceed further.

The method of disabling the Windows screen is as follows. First, open the Control Panel and then double-click on the Network icon. Now from the list entitled Primary Network Logon, choose Windows Logon and then press OK. Here you would be asked to restart the Windows. Choose to restart the Windows. On reloading, you will find Windows logon screen disappeared. However, there would be one more step, if you have earlier provided a password for logging on to Windows.

Since a password would not be bypassed in the way mentioned above due to security reasons, therefore you may get Windows logon screen. But to solve this, you should double-click on the Passwords icon in Control Panel to choose nothing (leave it blank) for your password. This will solve your problem.



The next widely used form of networking is networking through LAN. This is referred to as networking in general. Networking has been an easy job in the past but now with the multiple operating systems with different bases, networking has now become little more tedious. If you are having the same version of Windows on all computers then there is not much problem. But if the computers on your network have different versions of Windows, then you may have some problems. The first problem is of non-accessibility of other computers from My Network places/Network Neighbourhood. Here the main problem due to multiple operating systems is of authentication. Windows 2000 and Windows XP both take security seriously and won't allow remote access to any computer without a valid username and password. Whereas in the case of Windows 98 and Me security is not of much concern as it does not enforce any kind of user authentication.

Thus if you are having authentication problem then first of all make sure that all users have properly logged in. Suppose if they hit Esc on Windows Logon, then in some cases this could create problems of not finding other computers in My Network places/Network Neighbourhood. If you do not want logon screen and still want to be on the network, then you should follow the procedure mentioned above and disable the password instead of hitting ESC. Also, all users should have Logoff option in the start menu. This determines that all users have logged in properly.

Further, for the sake of convenience, use the same name of workgroup in all PCs, on the network unless otherwise needed to have more than one workgroup. Also, as far as possible use the same networking protocol, though multiple protocols also work, but they sometimes create problems. Also you must check that you have all necessary adapters, services and protocol installed on all systems, which include client for Microsoft Networks, Network adapter, and TCP I/P or NetBEUI as the case may be.

Ensuring all these things will make sure that your problem would be eliminated.

Network Neighbourhood

What if after all these efforts you note that some computers get visible but still one or more computers do not show up in My Network Places/Network Neighbourhood folder?

This means that that particular computer is not configured properly. In this case you must take into consideration the following points. First of all make sure none of the computers is set up to use a Windows NT Domain or a Business Domain and all computers should have the same setting for Workgroup. All computers should have File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks, and Client for Microsoft Networks. Note that the protocols have slightly different names in different versions of Windows. If you're using Internet Connection Sharing, the NetBEUI protocol should not be used; but otherwise, you may need NetBEUI in order to access other computers on your network.

Also make sure that no two computers should have the same computer name. It is worth mentioning here that some computer names supported by Windows 2000 and Windows XP are not compatible with Windows 9x/Me, such as names with spaces. Simplify all computer names and then you should try again. These points sufficiently cover the full gamut of simple networking. However, if still there is some problem then you should check the networking cable at the back of your computer as any loose cable connection with the network card could also cause the problem.