Networking / Beginners

Advanced Network Options

There are several networking options not covered thus far because they're not usually needed in a standard network setup.

Adapters and Bindings

You can control which protocols and services are associated with each network adapter using the check boxes on each adapter's properties page. For example, you can uncheck Client for Microsoft Networking and File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks on a network adapter that is used only to connect to a broadband Internet modem, to gain additional security above that provided by the Internet Connection Firewall.

You can also monitor and modify all network bindings in one place with the Adapters and Bindings dialog. To view this, open the Network Connections window and select Advanced, Advanced Settings.

Provider Order

If you have installed clients for both the Novell NetWare and Microsoft networking, you can adjust the network provider order, which determines which computer name service, Novell's or Microsoft's, is queried first to find a given named file or print server. For example, if you choose a shared printer named \\munich\laserjet, Windows has to locate the machine named munich. It might need to query both the Windows computer name service (Active Directory or the browser service) and the NetWare naming service before it finds the name. When you use a mix of Microsoft and NetWare servers, you might be able to speed up network operations by setting the provider order so that the most likely name service is examined first.

In most cases, you won't need to make any changes to Windows's Provider Order list. If your network administrator suggests that you do, just follow these steps:

  1. Open Network Connections by selecting Start, My Computer, My Network Place, View Network Connections.
  2. From the Advanced menu, select Advanced Settings, and select the Provider Order tab. The dialog lists services used to find access to file servers and print servers, respectively.
  3. Arrange the services so that the type you use most frequently is listed on top, followed by less-often-used services. Highlight a service type, and click the up- or down-arrow button to rearrange the types.

When finished, click OK to close the dialogs.

Optional Networking Components

Windows comes with several additional network services and components that are not installed by default. These components are

  • Network Monitor Driver- Allows your computer's network communications to be recorded and monitored by a network supervisor, for diagnostic purposes. Install this only if requested by your network administrator.
    To install this driver, open the properties page for a selected network adapter, click Install, and select Protocols.
  • Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP)- Used on larger networks to monitor computer and router configuration. See the additional notes on SNMP later in this section.
  • WMI SNMP Provider- Gives Windows Management Interface application software (for example, Windows Script Host programs) access to SNMP data.
    To Install SNMP or the WMI SNMP Provider, open the Network Connections window. Select Advanced, Optional Networking Components. Select Management and Monitoring Tools, and click Details.
  • Internet Gateway Device Discovery and Control Client- Allows other computers on the network to monitor and control the dial-up or PPPoE Internet connection on the computer running Windows Internet Connection Sharing. Requires the Universal Plug and Play service as well. This service was discussed earlier in the tutorial. (Not available on 64-bit versions of Windows XP.)
  • RIP Listener- Lets Windows configure the TCP/IP routing table automatically when network routers broadcast path information using the Router Information Protocol.
  • Simple TCP/IP Services- A set of primitive TCP/IP services such as character stream generation and data echo. They're rarely needed and can make you an easy target for Denial of Service (DOS) attacks by hackers if installed.
  • Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)- Lets your computer automatically discover and connect to networked appliances and other new network devices. UPnP is a new technology that lets network hardware and future network-ready appliances communicate without manual setup.
    To install the Discovery and Control client, RIP Listener, Simple TCP/IP Services or UPnP, open the Network Connections window. Select Advanced, Optional Networking Components. Select Networking Services, and click Details.
  • Print Services for Unix- Lets Unix/Linux users use your computer's printers (and other shared printers on your network). Also installs the lpr and lpq programs so you can send print jobs to Unix/Linux printers.
    To install the Discovery and Control client, RIP Listener, Simple TCP/IP Services or UPnP, open the Network Connections window. Select Advanced, Optional Networking Components. Select Other Network File and Print Services, and click Details.

You must be logged on as a Computer Administrator to install these components.

More on SNMP

SNMP should not be installed unless your network administrator requires its use, as there are some security risks attached to it. If you do choose to install SNMP, you should immediately configure the SNMP monitor to protect your computer's information with a secret "community name." This name is like a password that remote monitors need to supply before they can extract information from your computer. The default community name is public. Your network manager might supply you with an alternative community name. To set it, do the following:

  1. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and select Manage.
  2. Open Services and Applications, select Services, and locate SNMP Service in the right pane. Double-click it to open its Properties page.
  3. Select the Security tab. Select Public, and then click Remove. Next, click Add to enter any community names provided by your network manager. Generally, assign only read-only community rights unless your network manager specifies otherwise.
  4. You can additionally restrict SNMP access to specific network hosts (namely, management computers) by selecting Accept SNMP Packets from These Hosts and adding the appropriate IP addresses.

NOTE SNMP can be a security risk because it reveals the names of user accounts on your computer and your computer's network routing information. A community name with write or create permission can alter network routing tables. For this reason, SNMP should be blocked by your network's firewall, and you should not install it unless it's necessary.

TIP If you're a network manager and use SNMP to monitor equipment health, you might find it valuable to know that Windows XP and 2000's Professional and Server versions come with a utility that can turn specified Windows Event Log entries into SNMP traps (messages) as they happen. This feature is configured by the undocumented program evntwin, which is installed when you install SNMP. This utility can let your network monitor detect and report on full hard drives, security violations, and other significant events.

evntwin can save a list of event-to-trap mappings to a file. Another undocumented utility, evntcmd, can instantly install this file on another Windows XP or 2000 computer, even remotely.


In some instances it is desirable to assign multiple IP addresses to a single network adapter. You might do this if you are providing Internet services and need a single computer to take up the job of one that has gone offline.

To assign multiple IP addresses, open the adapter's Properties page. Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and click Advanced. On the IP Addressing tab, you can click Add to enter multiple IP addresses and network masks, as well as multiple default gateways. The addresses you assign don't necessarily have to belong to the same subnet, although it is not recommended practice to run multiple TCP/IP subnets over the same wire.

NOTE If you install multiple network adapters or multiple subnet addresses in one Windows XP computer, you should configure the computer never to be the Master Browser. This is discussed earlier in the tutorial.

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