Networking / Beginners

Joining a Workgroup Network

To add a new Windows XP computer to an existing network, you'll need to gather the following information:

  • Workgroup name; should match the workgroup name used by all of the existing computers.
  • Computer name; must be a name not used by any other computer, domain, or workgroup.
  • IP addressing scheme used on network: dynamic or static? If static, you'll need to select an IP address and collect the following additional information: network mask, gateway address, and DNS server address(es). These last three items will be the same as used by the other computers on the network.

With this information in hand, perform the following steps:

  1. Install Windows XP on the new computer, if necessary. If you do this, you'll be prompted to enter the workgroup name. When Windows installs the network adapter, if you are using a static IP address you can click Custom to enter this information during setup.
  2. Install the network adapter, if it is not already installed.
  3. Log on as a Computer Administrator, open the Network Connections window, view the properties page for the Local Area Connection icon, select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), click Properties, and verify that the IP address and DNS information is entered correctly. It should be set to gather the information automatically if you are using DHCP; otherwise enter the correct static IP addressing information.
  4. Open the My Network Places window and select Set Up a Home or Small Office Network from the Network Tasks list. Follow the instructions for the Network Setup Wizard given earlier in this tutorial.

TIP If you are going to use the same computer on several different networks, for example, at home and at work.

This should complete the addition of your computer to the network.

NOTE If you need to adjust the computer or workgroup name later, log on as a Computer Administrator, right-click My Computer, select Properties, and view Computer Name Tab. You can use a name-assignment wizard by clicking Network ID, or you can enter the information manually by clicking Change.

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