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Creating a Wired Local Area 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. Connecting multiple computers in a network can be a convenient way to share files in the home. This document provides instructions for setting up and sharing folders and files on a wired home 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 home network using standard RJ-45 hardware and cables.
NOTE:When using steps involving Windows, log in using the main administrative account. Normally this is the first account that was created when the computer was first turned on.

Before you begin

Before setting up your local wired network in WIndows 8, confirm that you have the following hardware and follow these steps:
  • Network interface card (NIC) or an on-the-motherboard network port for each computer. HP and Compaq computers are network ready with NICs installed. Confirm the computer has a RJ-45 network port on the back.
    Figure 1: Shape of RJ-45 connector
  • Network hub (or router). A separate network hub may not be necessary if your home is already equipped with RJ-45 jacks in the walls or if your DSL or cable modem provides RJ-45 ports (select models). If you need a network hub, consult with a network specialist at your local computer store to determine a hub that meets your needs.
    NOTE:A crossover cable can be used to connect two computers without a hub. However, it only allows two computers to connect and is not expandable.
  • Network cables for each computer.
  • Disconnect the Internet. If you have a DSL or cable modem, disconnect it.
  • Disable any firewall software. Firewall software may interfere with network setup. You can enable the firewall after network setup is complete.

Step 1: Connecting the network hardware and cables

Do the following to set up the wired network hardware and connect the networking cables on computers running Windows 8.
  1. Set up and turn on the power for the network hub or other networking device. (Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer).
  2. Connect the computers to the networking device. If a crossover cable is used, connect the cable to the RJ45 network ports on each computer.
    Figure 2: Example of one possible setup configuration
  3. Connect the computer power cords and turn the computers on.

Step 2: Setting up a HomeGroup

Set up a HomeGroup to share libraries and devices with other computers on the wired network in Windows 8. You can also stream media between devices.
  1. At the Start screen, type HomeGroup to open the Search charm, and then select HomeGroup settings in the Search results.
    Figure 3: Search results for HomeGroup
    Search results for HomeGroup
  2. If a HomeGroup has not been created, click Create .
    Figure 4: Create button in the HomeGroup window
    Create button in the HomeGroup window
  3. In the HomeGroup 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.
    Figure 5: HomeGroup window
    HomeGroup window
    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 3: Sharing drives, folders, and files in Windows 8

To access the computers on your wired network, you must turn on network discovery. 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 on your wired network.
  1. At the Start screen, type Control Panel to open the Search charm, and then select Control Panel in the Search results.
    Figure 6: Search results for Control Panel
    Search results for Control Panel
  2. Click View network status and tasks .
    Figure 7: Control Panel window
    Control Panel window
  3. Click Change advanced sharing settings .
    Figure 8: Network and Sharing Center window
    Network and Sharing Center window
  4. Select both Turn on network discovery and Turn on file and printer sharing .
    Figure 9: Advanced sharing settings window
    Advanced sharing settings window
  5. 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 on your wired network, do the following:
  1. At the Start screen, type file explorer to open the Search charm, and then select File Explorer in the Search results.
    Figure 10: Search results for file explorer
    Search results for file explorer
  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 options
    Share with options
  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 4: Testing the wired network in Windows 8

Check the network by browsing through the shared folders on each computer on the network from the Windows 8 network window. To verify the setup of your wired network and browse the shared folders, follow these steps:
  1. At the Start screen, type network to open the Search charm, and then select Network in the Search results.
    Figure 13: Search results for network
    Search results for network
  2. Double-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 5: Enabling 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.

Accessing shared files and directories

Do the following to access shared files and directories:
  1. At the Start screen, type network to open the Search charm, and then select Network in the Search results.
    Figure 14: Search results for network
    Search results for network
  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.