Network Configuration & Troubleshooting (Part 2) - Connect Game Consoles

5/26/2012 11:39:15 AM

8.    Look For Other PCs

Description: Look For Other PCs

Once all your PCs have been set to the same Workgroup, they will be visible to each other over the network. To verify this, click on 'Computer' if using Windows 7 and then on the 'Network' icon at the bottom of the side-bar. It will list computers visible on the same network. If you're using Windows XP, you instead click on 'My Network Places' from the start button, then double-click on the name of your workgroup. If you can see your other computers at this stage, you're almost done!

9.    Set Up File Sharing

Description: Set Up File Sharing

If you doubleclick on one of the computers visible on your network, it won't do anything useful unless you set up some shared folders. If all you want to do is share the data stored within your Windows 7 'libraries', you can use the Windows 7 Homegroup functionality to set up a simple password-protected share on each of your network computers. In Windows 7 this can be easily set up within the Network and Sharing Centre, found in the Control Panel. The Homegroup password can be anything you like -don't feel constrained by the auto-generated ones.

10. Choose Sharing Options

Description: Choose Sharing Options

If you want to share specific folders outside of your usual 'libraries', you need to set up advanced file sharing. From within the Networking and Sharing Centre, click on 'Choose Homegroup and Sharing Options'. Click on 'Change advanced settings' the next screen you'll find a bunch of options. Expand 'Home or work'. Most of the options on this screen are pretty self-explanatory in nature and most users will want every tick box turned on in this screen. In order to use password protected sharing, you'll need to have a Windows account that is also password protected.

11. Share Custom Folders

Description: Share Custom Folders

With your advanced network file sharing enabled and configured, you can now manually set folders to be shared.

To do this, use the 'Computer' console to navigate to the folder you want to share and right-click it. Click 'Properties' and then click on the sharing tab. From this button click on 'Advanced Sharing' and tick 'Share this folder'. At this point you can also set a custom share name (useful if you already have a folder of the same name shared from elsewhere in the network) and set custom read/write permissions.

12. Check Sharing Is Working

Using a different PC, go back to the Network screen described in step 8 and double-click on the PC you just set up file sharing for. If you enabled password-protected file sharing, you will now be greeted by a login prompt.

To access the files shared, you will need to enter the Windows username and password as set on the computer hosting the shared information. Enter this and you will be greeted by a directory, and you can access the files remotely. You now have a fully functional home network between wired and wireless PCs!

13. Add Powerline Connected PCs

Description: TP-Link TL-PA211 KIT 200Mbps Powerline adaptors

If your wirelessly connected PCs are struggling with poor transfer rates, you can use Powerline adaptors to improve the quality of the network. These are easy to use and convert your interior wiring into one big Ethernet cable. We used the incredibly easy to use TP-Link TL-PA211 KIT 200Mbps Powerline adaptors. Plug one Powerline adaptor in adjacent to your router and connect it using a spare Ethernet port. Hold down the 'pair' button for five seconds. Plug in the second Powerline where you need it and again hold 'pair' for five seconds. Plug in the PC and it will be as if you plugged it directly into the router.

14. Remote Desktop

Description: Remote Desktop

If you use Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate rather than Home Premium, you can remotely control your PCs over a network using Remote Desktop. The first step to use this exceptional feature is to enable it. Right-click on 'Computer' within the Start menu and click 'Properties'. Within this screen, click 'Remote Settings' and tick 'Allow remote assistance connections to this computer'. Once done you can now take control of that PC from any other by right-clicking on the computer and clicking 'Connect with remote desktop connection'. You will need to use password protection on your Windows account for remote desktop to work.

15. Connect Game Consoles

Description: Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 both enjoy wired and wireless networking capabilities. So long as you have a modern router supporting UPnP, including them on your network is simple. Connect them to the router via wireless, Ethernet or Powerline plugs and they will appear as a media device on your network. On a Windows 7 PC, you can stream video and music to your console by enabling media streaming options. This is found within the 'Advanced sharing settings' as detailed in step 10. Any media files stored in your libraries are now accessible via the Xbox.

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