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Creating a Wireless Home Network (Windows 8)

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This document pertains to HP and Compaq computers with Windows 8.
Windows 8 supports connection of multiple computers in a home network. Creating a network can be a convenient way to share files in the home. This document provides instructions for setting up a wireless home network and sharing folders and files on the network.
NOTE: If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, some graphics and information in this document may vary. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.

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 into Windows 8 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:
  • Wireless network interface card (NIC) or an on-the-motherboard wireless network port for each computer.
  • Confirm the computer has a wireless network antenna; the antenna might be a part of internal networking hardware, or the antenna might be external and should be connected to the back of the computer.
  • Wireless router or access point. If you need a network hub, consult with a network specialist at your local computer store to determine 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. You can enable the firewall 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 1: Wireless network example: wireless router, two wireless notebooks, and a wireless computer with a printer
A wireless network
To configure the router, which is the communication center of your 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 your router. The router and the computer must use the same communication protocols (802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n).
  1. Connect a network cable from a network port on the computer to one on the wireless router.
  2. Turn the computer on and wait for Windows to open and 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 popular 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 your network. Type in a new name. 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 blank password. For better security, use a password or passphrase that is more than 8 characters and contains letters and numbers.
    • Administrator name and password . This is the name of a user account that 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.
Use the Windows 8 network setup wizard to help add computers and devices to the network.
  1. At the Start screen, type set up network to open the Search charm. Select Set up a connection or network in the Search results.
    Figure 2: Set up a connection or network
    Set up a connection or network on the Search screen
  2. Select the connection option Set up a new network , and then click Next .
    Figure 3: Choose a connection option
    Choose a connection option window
  3. Follow the instructions to set up a wireless network.

Step 4: Connect to a network

Use these steps to connect to a network from each computer:
NOTE:On notebook computers, make sure the wireless device is enabled. For most notebook computers, there is an LED light or a light on a keyboard key with this symbol ( ) that glows blue when the wireless device is turned on and enabled, and glows orange when off or disabled. Some notebook computer models may use different a different color scheme.
  1. At the Start screen, type connect to open the Search charm. Select Connect to a network in the Search results.
    Figure 4: Connect to a network
    Connect to a  network on the Search screen
  2. Select your network from the list, and then click Connect .
  3. Enter the network pass phrase (or security key) for the selected wireless network, and then click Next .
    The computer connects to the network.
    Figure 5: Security key or pass phrase
    Type the network security key
  4. Click OK .

Step 5: Create a homegroup

Create a homegroup to share libraries and devices with other computers on the network. You can also stream media between devices.
  1. At the Start screen, type homegroup to open the Search charm. Select Choose HomeGroup and sharing options in the Search results.
    Figure 6: Choose HomeGroup and sharing options
    Choose HomeGroup and sharing options on the Search screen
  2. Click Choose HomeGroup and sharing options from the list of results.
  3. If a homegroup has been created already, enter the password for the homegroup and then click Join . You can find the password for the homegroup on the computer that created it.
    Figure 7: Join homegroup
    Join homegroup from the Network screen
    If a homegroup has not been created, click Create .
  4. In the Libraries and devices window, select the content you want to share by clicking the toggle button next to each type of content. When the toggle button is moved to the right, the content is being shared.
    NOTE:You may need to scroll down to see the password for the homegroup. Enter that password on each computer or device to add it to the homegroup.

Step 6: Share drives, folders, and files

You must turn on network discovery to access the computers on the network. You can also set files and printers to be shared as well as set sharing options for specific files or folders.
Follow these steps to open advanced sharing settings and turn on network discovery and file and printer sharing.
  1. At the Start screen, type network and sharing to open the Search charm. Select Network and Sharing Center in the Search results.
    Figure 8: Network and Sharing Center
    Network and Sharing Center on the Search screen
  2. Click Change advanced sharing settings .
    Figure 9: Network and Sharing Center
    Image of Network and Sharing Center
  3. Select both Turn on network discovery and Turn on file and printer sharing .
    Figure 10: Advanced sharing settings
    Image of Advanced sharing settings window
  4. Click Save changes .
Set sharing options of files and non-public folders from the computer whose content you want to share. To share non-public folders, do the following:
  1. Move the mouse pointer to the lower left corner of the screen, right-click, and then select File Explorer from the menu.
  2. Browse to the folder you want to share.
  3. Right-click the folder, select Share with , and then click Homegroup (view) , Homegroup (view and edit) , or Specific people .
    Figure 11: Share with
    Share with Homegroup
  4. If you choose Specific people , the File Sharing window is displayed.
  5. Click the down arrow and select the user you want to share with. If the user is not listed, type the user name and then click Add .
    Figure 12: File Sharing window
    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 8 network window.
Follow these steps to open the Windows 8 network window and browse through the shared folders on each computer and media device on the network:
  1. At the Start screen, type network to open the Search charm. Select Network in the Search results.
    Figure 13: Network
    Network on the Search screen
  2. Click the name of the computer or device to access.
  3. If prompted, enter the user name and password to connect to the computer or device.
    If the computer is able to read and access files from a remote computer, the remote computer or device is set up correctly. Browse to every available computer or device 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 each 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. At the Start screen, type network to open the Search charm. Select Network in the Search results.
    Figure 14: Network
    Network on the Search screen
  2. The Network window opens and displays computers with shared folders that are detected on local networks.
  3. Double-click the computer you want to access.
  4. If prompted, enter the username and password to access that computer.

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