How to Setup Workgroup for Home, Home Office and Small Business

This Tutorial is intended for a Workgroup and not for a Domain type of network. Also, if you have both wired and wireless devices that need to communicate in one internal network you may use this tutorial to share network resources such as integrated and external drives, folders, files and wired/wireless printers. In this guide, we will be utilizing the Business and not Home Versions of Windows Operating Systems. If you have a combination of Home and Business versions of Windows Operating Systems, this guide will also work but with slight discrepancies on some configurations. You must have Administrative privileges to complete this process. A Server won’t be necessary in this Tutorial.

For a better network performance and to avoid network bottlenecks, using advanced technology would help. For example, instead of using a B/G router, an N Router will perform better. A router with 1000Mbps or Gigabit ports and Network Adapters that supports 100/1000Mbps is also doable for faster network transfer rates. Gigabit Network Switches would be beneficial.

Pre-requisites: Computers with Network Adapters for LAN and WLAN, Network Switch (for additional wired devices), Wireless Router (verify that DHCP is enabled), a working Broadband connection, a couple of straight network cables (Cat5e or higher) other wired and wireless devices such as Printer, NAS etc.

Connect all the computers and wired devices to the Router’s LAN or Ethernet Ports (usually 4), you may add a Network Switch (to be plugged into the LAN or Ethernet Port of the router) if you will be connecting more wired devices such as Printer and NAS. The wireless computers and devices will need wireless network adapters also known as Wi-Fi adapters. Make sure that the wired and wireless devices are able to communicate to the router and access the internet.

1.      Enable DHCP in the LAN (Local Area Network) or WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) settings on all the computers in your network.

In Windows 7 and Vista – Click on the Start button, type ncpa.cpl then press enter to open up the Local Area or Wireless Connection Status screen. Double click on Local Area or Wireless Connection, then click on Properties, double click Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4), make sure that Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server automatically are both enabled.

In Windows XP – Click on Start, type ncpa.cpl to open up the Local Area or Wireless Connection screen.

Double click on Local Area or Wireless Connection, then click on Properties, double click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4), make sure that Obtain an IP address automatically and Obtain DNS server automatically are both enabled.


2.    Enable Netbios or verify that Netbios is enabled.While you’re in the LAN or WLAN settings, to check if Netbios is enabled…. In the General Tab, click on the Advanced button. In the Netbios setting, make sure that the radio button is On under the Default.

3.  Create a Workgroup:

In Windows Vista and 7 – Click on the Start button then go to Control Panel, click on System and Security, click on System then click on Change Settings then type the Computer Name (must be unique) and your Workgroup (must be identical on all computers).

In Windows XP – Click on Start, right click on My Computer, then Properties, in the Computer Name Tab then type the Computer Name (must be unique) and your Workgroup (must be the identical on all the computers).


4.      Create an Identical User Name and Password:

In Windows 7 and Vista – Click on the Start button, then go to Control Panel, click on User Accounts and Family Safety, click on User Accounts, click on Manage User Accounts.

In Windows XP – Click on Start, then go to Control Panel, go to User Accounts, and click on Create a New Account.

5.      Allow File and Printer Sharing in Windows Firewall:

In Windows 7 and Vista – Click on the Start button, then go to Control Panel, click on System and Security, click on Windows Firewall, in Allowed Programs make sure that File and Printer sharing box is checked.

In Windows XP – Click on the Start, go to Control Panel (Category View), go to Security Center, find Windows Firewall, then in Exceptions Tab, make sure that File and Printer sharing box is checked.

In the next guide we will share a Folder or a Drive (C, D). I have created a Folder called ‘My shared folder’. Right click on it, choose Properties, in the Sharing Tab click on Share.

Add the User(s) that need to access the shared Folder and assign User permission in the Sharing Tab.

Click on Share….

In the Security Tab, verify that the same User has been automatically added.


In Windows XP Professional, it is a slightly different process. Right click on the Shared folder. Go to Properties, on the Sharing Tab, click on Permissions button, verify that Everyone is there, if not manually add Everyone and leave the default to ‘Read’ permission for now. Add the Users and assign them Read or Read/Write permissions if applicable. Click Ok to save the setting.

In the Security Tab, click on the Add button and add the Users, then assign them permission as well.


6.      How to connect to the Shared Folder or Drive:

From the computer that you would like to access the shared folder thru its IP Address or Computer Name…..

Click on the Start Orb and type \\IPAddress\SharedFolder  or Shared Drive then press enter, for example: \\192.168.0.3\C (shared drive)

or….Click on the Start Orb and type \\Computername\SharedFolder or Shared Drive then press enter.

7.       How to Share a Printer (thru a USB or LPT port connected to a computer):

In Windows 7 and Vista – Click on Start, go to Control Panel, go to Hardware and Sound, go to Devices and Printers. Right click on the printer that you need to share, choose Printer Properties, in Sharing Tab make sure that ‘Share this Printer’ and ‘List in the Directory’ boxes are checked.

In Windows XP – Click on Start, go to Control Panel (Category View), go to Printers and Other Hardware,  Pick a Task, choose ‘View Installed Printers and Faxes’, then right click on the Printer that you wish to Share then choose Sharing. In the Sharing Tab choose Share this printer, make sure that ‘List in the directory’ is selected and then click Ok.

8.     How to connect to a Shared Printer:

In Windows 7 and Vista – Go to Control Panel, go to Devices and Printers, go to Add a Printer, click on Add a Network,  click on Add a Network, Wireless or Bluetooth Printer.

My preferred method….Click on the Start button and type \\IPAddress (Computer’s IP Address you are trying to connect to) press enter or type the \\ComputerName then press enter. 

You will now see the name of the printer shared from the network, double click on it to install to your computer.

In Windows XP – Go to Control Panel (Category View), Printers and Other Hardware, Add a Printer, Welcome to the Add Printer Wizard, click next, click on A Network Printer, or a printer attached to another computer.

My preferred method….Click on Start, in the Run box type \\IPAddress (Computer’s IP Address you are trying to connect to) press enter or type the \\ComputerName then press enter.

Note: See this ipconfig /all Tutorial on how to find out the IP Address of a computer.

You may also use Advanced IPScanner to find all IP Addresses, Mac and Host Name in your network.

Optional:

If you have a network printer that can be wired to the router thru a patch network cable (Cat5e or higher) plug it in to the router’s LAN or Ethernet port.

If you want to connect a Wireless printer to your wireless network, make sure to have the SSID and passphrase ready. In order to setup a wired (thru a USB or Ethernet cable) or wireless network printer, you will need the installation CD that came with your printer, then install it on all of your computers and follow the Setup Wizard.

If you have a NAS, unpack your NAS device from its package; it should come with a patch network cable and an installation CD.  Plug the power cable to the NAS, connect the network cable from the NAS to the router’s LAN port or to a network Switch, turn on the NAS, and wait for the light to stabilize. Insert the CD to any computers in your network then follow the straight forward installation. Make a note of the IP Address that will be assigned to your NAS, you will need this later on to access the NAS’s configuration. Create file folder(s), assign Users with permission as needed and you will be all set.

If your router has a USB Port, you may utilize it and share a USB external hard drive for backup purpose and printer in your network. You will access them thru the Router’s IP Address and the network resource name.

You may also share the Media by using your Smart Phones such as IPhone and Android. All you need is to download the Apps for Media Sharing. Android phones by default comes with a ‘Media Share’ App.

Troubleshooting tips:

Just in case that you can’t access the shared driver or folder – check your Firewall or Security Software and make sure that File and Printer Sharing is set to Allowed. If you can’t access any network resources, you may temporarily disable your Security or Firewall Software. To do this, click on the Start Orb and type services.msc press enter, locate your Security or Firewall Software and choose Disable or Stop for now until you’re able to access the network files/printer.

To find out if the computers are communicating to each other try pinging the IP Address of the computer that you wish to gain access to its network resources. To do this, click on the Start Orb and type cmd press enter. From the command prompt type the IP Address of the computer that you need to access or connect to, for example type ping 192.168.0.3 press enter. If you get a ‘Request timed out’ then your computer is unable to communicate to the other computer in your network. Sometimes, a comprehensive network troubleshooting might be needed if it gets a little complicated to resolve any network issues.


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