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Creating a Wireless Home Network (Windows 7)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 7.
Windows 7 supports connection of multiple computers in a home network. Creating a network can be a convenient way to share files and printers in the home. This document provides instructions for setting up a wireless home network and sharing folders and files on the network.

Setting up a local network and file sharing

Use the steps in this section to set up a home network using wireless hardware.
NOTE:To perform some of the steps in this document you must be logged in to Windows 7 using the main administrative account. Normally this is the first account that was created when the computer was first turned on.

Step 1: Before you begin

Confirm that you have the following hardware. Click the heading or the accompanying plus (+) sign to expand the information.
    Not all computers come with wireless LAN hardware. If you are unsure if the computer came with wireless LAN hardware, check the product specifications. In the Questions or keywords field at the top of this page, enter the product number for your computer and type specifications (for example: 300-1025 specifications ). Click the link for your product specifications from the list of search results. On the Product Specifications page, check the Networking section for wireless hardware.
    If the specifications do not show wireless hardware but you believe the computer has wireless hardware, check Device Manager by using the following steps:
    1. Click Start , and then type Device Manager in the Search box. Click Device Manager from the list of results.
      Figure 1: Opening Device Manager from the Start menu
      Opening Device Manager from the Start Menu
      The Device Manager window opens.
    2. Double-click Network adapters .
      Figure 2: Network adapters in Device Manager
      Network adapters in Device Manager
    3. Check for wireless LAN hardware.
      NOTE:If no wireless LAN hardware is listed in Device Manager, click Action , and then click Scan for hardware changes . If the hardware is still not listed, restart the computer, and then return to Device Manager. Windows 7 automatically detects hardware and installs drivers upon system startup. If no wireless LAN hardware is listed after restarting, no hardware is installed.If no wireless LAN hardware is installed and you want to connect to a wireless network, purchase and install a PCI (internal) or USB (external) wireless LAN adapter.
    If you need a network hub, consult with a network specialist at a local computer store to find a hub that meets your needs.
Follow these steps before continuing with the other steps in this document:
  • Disconnect from the Internet. If you have a DSL or cable modem, disconnect it.
  • Disable any firewall software. Firewall software might interfere with network setup and can reenabled after network setup is complete.

Step 2: Set up and connect the network hardware

Set up and turn on the power for the wireless network router or other networking device.
Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer to connect a broadband cable or DSL modem to the router (in some cases, the modem and router are combined into one device, and may be referred to as a wireless access point), and to set up security for the wireless network.
Figure 3: Wireless network example: wireless router, two wireless notebooks, and a wireless computer with a printer
Wireless network
To configure the router, which is the communication center of the home network, connect the router to the modem (if the router and modem are separate), and temporarily connect a network cable from the computer to the wireless router. Follow the specific installation instructions that came with the router. The router and the computer must use the same communication protocols (802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n).
NOTE:Some Internet service providers (ISPs) set up the router for you. If the ISP has set up the router, skip this section.
  1. Connect a network cable from a network port on the computer to a port on the wireless router.
  2. Turn on the computer and allow it to connect to the router.
  3. Open a Web browser and type in the router IP address to connect to the router. See the following table for common router IP addresses, user names, and passwords.
    NOTE:The information listed in the table is commonly used by these router manufacturers. If the information is not correct for your router, check with the manufacturer.
    Common Router Settings
    Router Brand NameRouter IP AddressUser NamePassword
    3Com admin
    D-Link admin
    Linksys admin
    Netgear admin password
  4. If prompted, enter the default router user name and password.
  5. Follow the prompts to configure the router security settings.
    • Name for the router (SSID) . This will be the name of the network. Do not use the default name.
    • Type of security . For example, WPA, WPA2, or WEP. It is highly recommended to set up wireless security when configuring the router.
    • Password or passphrase . Never use a blank password.
    • Administrator name and password . This is the name of the user who is allowed to change the router settings. If you want to leave the default user name (admin), be sure to change the password.
Test the network connection while the network cable is still connected. Then disconnect the network cable and proceed with the next step.

Step 3: Run the network setup wizard

Use the Windows 7 network setup wizard to help add computers and devices to the network.
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .
  2. Under Network and Internet, click View network status and tasks .
    Figure 4: View network status and tasks
    View network status and tasks in Control Panel
    The Network and Sharing Center opens.
    Figure 5: Network and Sharing Center
    Network and Sharing Center
  3. Click Set up a new connection or network to set up a router or access point.
  4. Select the connection option Set up a new network , and then click Next .
    Figure 6: Choose a connection option
    Choose a connection option window
  5. Follow the instructions to set up a wireless network.

Step 4: Connect to a network

Connect each computer to the wireless network.
Follow these steps to turn on the wireless device and HP Wireless Assistant on a notebook computer:
  1. Turn on the wireless device by moving the switch to the On position, by pressing the wireless function key on the keyboard, or by pressing the touch point on the panel above the keyboard.
    On most notebook computers, there is an LED light that glows blue when the wireless device is turned on and enabled, and glows orange when the wireless device is turned off or disabled. Some notebook computer models may use a different color scheme.
    The power switch for the wireless LAN device, and the Bluetooth device (if equipped), is usually located on the side of the case or above the keyboard, depending on the computer model.
  2. In the toolbar notification area, locate the HP Wireless Assistant icon.
    • If it is On , continue to the next section.
    • If it is Off , right-click the icon and select Open Wireless Assistant . Click Turn On to enable the device.
    • If there is no icon, click Start , select Control Panel , click Network and Internet , and then click HP Wireless Assistant to open the HP Wireless Assistant and Turn On (enable) the wireless device.
      If HP Wireless Assistant is not listed in the Control Panel, use another computer to download it from the HP Software & Driver Downloads Web page.
Use these steps to connect to a network from each computer:
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .
  2. Under Network and Internet, click View network status and tasks .
    Figure 7: View network status and tasks
    View network status and tasks in Control Panel
    The Network and Sharing Center opens.
    Figure 8: Network and Sharing Center
    Network and Sharing Center
  3. Click Connect to a network .
  4. Select your network, and then click Connect .
  5. Enter the network pass phrase (or security key) for the selected wireless network.
    Figure 9: Security key or pass phrase
    Type the network security key
  6. Click OK . The computer connects to the network.
  7. Select a location for the network, usually Home network .
    Figure 10: Set Network Location
    Select a location for the network
  8. If you chose Home network , select what you want to share with other home computers running Windows 7. Then click Next .
    Figure 11: Select what you want to share
    Select what you want to share in the Join a Homegroup window
  9. View the Network and Sharing Center window to verify that the new network connection is now connected.
    Figure 12: Network and Sharing Center
    Network and Sharing Center

Step 5: Turn on network discovery and file and printer sharing for each computer

Turn on network discovery and file and printer sharing on each computer that you want to access on the network.
  1. Click Start , and then click Control Panel .
  2. Under Network and Internet, click Choose homegroup and sharing options .
    Figure 13: Choose homegroup and sharing options
    Choose homegroup and sharing options in Control Panel
  3. In the Homegroup settings window, click Change advanced sharing settings .
    Figure 14: Homegroup settings
    Homegroup settings window
  4. Select Turn on network discovery and Turn on file and printer sharing . Review the other settings and turn them on or off.
    Figure 15: Advanced sharing settings
    Advanced sharing settings window
  5. Click Save changes .

Step 6: Share drives, folders, and files

Set sharing options for files and non-public folders from the computer you want to share from.
To share non-public folders, do the following:
  1. Click Start , and then click Computer .
  2. Browse to the folder you want to share.
  3. Right-click the folder, select Share with , and then click Homegroup (Read) , Homegroup (Read/Write) , or Specific people .
    Figure 16: Share with
    Share with options
  4. If you choose Specific people , the File Sharing window is displayed.
  5. Click the down arrow, select the user or users you want to share with, and then click Add .
    NOTE:You might be prompted several times by User Account Control for permission to continue. You must accept these windows to make the necessary changes.
    Figure 17: Choose people to share with
    Choose people to share with in the File Sharing window
  6. Click an arrow under Permission Level to set the permission level for each user or group.
  7. Click Share .

Step 7: Test the network

Check the network by browsing through the shared folders on each computer on the network from the Windows 7 Network window.
Open the Network window and browse through the shared folders on each computer on the network.
Figure 18: Network window
Network window
If the computer is able to read and access files from a remote computer, the remote computer is set up correctly. Browse to every available computer from each computer on the network. If there are any issues, go back through these steps and verify that the settings are correct.
If you are unsure how to browse shared folders or are experiencing difficulties, refer to the section Accessing shared files and directories .
When all computers are able to network to every other computer on the network, continue to the next step.

Step 8: Enable Internet access and firewall

Once you have verified that your home network is capable of transferring files, connect and enable Internet connections for computers with Internet access.
CAUTION:Make sure that each computer with Internet access is well protected from security threats. At the minimum, each computer should have its Internet connection protected with a firewall and Windows should be updated with the latest critical updates from Microsoft Windows Update. If malicious activity comes though one computer, the activity can quickly spread through the entire network.
Do the following to access shared files and directories:
  1. Click Start , Control Panel , Network and Internet , and then click Network and Sharing Center .
  2. Double-click Network .
    Figure 19: Network and Sharing Center
    Network and Sharing Center
    The Network window opens and displays computers with shared folders that are detected on local networks.
    Figure 20: Computers on the network with shared folders
    Network window
  3. Double-click the computer you want to access.
    NOTE:When accessing shared files or directories, the following error message window might display:
    Figure 21: Windows cannot access computer
    Windows cannot access computerThis error can be caused by the following:
    • Password Protection is On and the Guest account is On .
    • The user account does not have permission to access the shared file or folder. This typically occurs when specific permissions are set up on systems with multiple shared folders.
      NOTE:Windows 7 file sharing displays all the shared folders, even those you do not have permission to access.
      To resolve the error, verify the following:
      • The user account has the proper permissions to access the computer.
      • The computer name and user name are spelled correctly.
      • Make sure that Firewall software on any connected computer is set to allow access.

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