PC network on pre-Windows XP systems

The fundamentals

How to access network resources

Network resources is the equivalent of saying you want to access volumes and/or shared folders on servers and personal PCs.

For pre-Windows XP users, double-click the Network Neighborhood icon. You will see a list of all network resources, including computers that have resources to share. To access those resources, select the name of the network resource and select Map Network Drive from the dropdown list. Select a drive letter to associate the name of the network resource with the drive letter. Your new network drive should appear in your My Computer hard disk window.

If you are unfortunate enough not to have Windows configured for networking, follow this procedure:

  1. Get your Windows 95/98 CD and network interface card (NIC) prepared. The card should also come with its own driver software;
  2. To install your network card, switch off the computer and unplug the power cord from the wall;
  3. Open the PC case and find an empty PCI slot. If necessary, use a screwdriver to remove a metal backplate beside the vacant slot;
  4. Before unpacking the network card from its protective packaging, ground yourself of any stray electrical charges by touching any exposed metal on the computer case;
  5. Take out the network card from its packaging and carefully insert the gold edge connector into the PCI slot, taking great care not to touch the connector with your fingers;
  6. When the card is properly aligned and fully inserted, screw the card into the chassis where the blackplate was originally held in position;
  7. Close the PC case, reconnect the power cord into the wall, and turn on your computer;
  8. When the Window operating system loads, it should automatically recognise the presence of your new network card. If so, you should see a New Hardware Found dialog box. Insert the disk containing the software driver for your network card into the appropriate drive;
  9. Select the Driver From Disk Provided By Hardware Manufacturer option and click OK. Windows will locate on the drivers on the disk. You merely have to select the correct driver and click Finish;
  10. Insert the Windows 95/98 CD when you are prompted to do so. Just before installation is completed, Windows will ask you for a computer name, workgroup name and a computer description. Type the details in and click OK. The installation process will (finally!) finish and you will be asked to restart the computer.

How to share network resources

To share the resources on a PC computer with other people on a network:

  1. Double-click the Network control panel. You will find it by clicking the Start button and selecting Settings and then Control Panel;
  2. Click the File And Print Sharing button. The File And Print Sharing dialog box will appear;
  3. Select both options and click OK twice where appropriate to apply the new settings;
  4. Restart your computer;
  5. To specify which printer and/or drive you want to share on the network, open the My Computer hard disk icon. Highlight the drive's icon and select Sharing from the pop-up list;
  6. Give the shared drive a descriptive name and choose the type of access you want to give to other people when sharing your resources. Click OK;
  7. To share a printer on a network, open the Printers folder on the My Computer window, highlight the printer icon and follow the same procedure as you would when sharing a drive on a network.
  8. You are now ready.