Network Configuration & Troubleshooting (Part 3) - My Computers Won't Connect To The Router

5/26/2012 11:41:01 AM

16. Map Network Drives

Description: Map Network Drives

'Mapping' a network drive means you allocate a drive letter to a shared network folder on your network, and can use it in the same way as a physically connected drive on your PC. This feature is very handy if you're sharing dozens of different folders on your network and don't fancy having to navigate to one you regularly use for reading or writing. You can set your PC to automatically connect to the disk at login, and it will then appear in the shortcuts of your 'Save as' locations in almost all modern applications - very handy indeed!

Troubleshooting Tips

If you follow our step-by-step guide, you should have no problems setting up a home network between multiple Windows 7 PCs. However, sometimes things don't go to plan and you may run into issues. Here are the solutions to the three most commonly encountered issues:

My Computers Won't Connect To The Router

Description: Internet protocol version 4 (TCP/ IPv4)'

In the unlikely event that your computers won't connect to the router, the first thing to do is to check that the router itself is powered up, and has finished its own boot-up sequence. Routers are like mini computers in their own right, and are not ready to connect to the second they are powered on. Check the status lights and be patient if you've only just powered everything up. If you've dabbled with home networking before and your computer has manual networking settings preconfigured, these may not be compatible with those your router is expecting. If you used a CD to configure your previous broadband connection, for example, and have just added a router, there's a chance your previous settings are preventing a successful connection.

To check for this, head to control panel, then click on networking and sharing centre. Within this, click on 'Change adaptor settings' and right-click on the network adaptor you're using to connect to the router, be it wired or wireless. Click 'Properties' and then click on 'Internet protocol version 4 (TCP/ IPv4)'. Click the 'Properties' button. If 'Use the following IP address' is ticked and there are numbers entered here, click on 'Obtain an IP address automatically'. Also click on 'Obtain DNS server address automatically'. This will tell your network adaptor to obtain its IP settings from the router's DHCP server rather than trying to find a device that is no longer connected!

If you're having problems connecting wirelessly, there's a chance your laptop or wireless card doesn't support the modern WPA2 security system. If this is the case, you will need to use a cable-connected PC to access your router's settings and set it to WEP instead. This problem is very common when connecting older laptops or wireless devices.

My Computers Cannot See Each Other On The Network

Description: Cannot see other computers on network

If your computers are connected to the router but cannot see one another, they may not be in the same workgroup. Remember, Windows XP and Windows 7 machines have different default workgroup names. All PCs must be on the same workgroup to see each other and share files. If they still cannot see each other, you should check that you've configured your network as a 'Home' network. If you accidentally selected public or work network, the firewall and security settings will be set to disallow other computers to discover your computer. You can change the type of network you're connected to in the Network and Sharing Centre. On the main screen it will show your active networks, with an icon representing the type of network. A home network shows a cartoon house. A public network shows a bench. To change the variety of network, just click on the blue link under the network name and change its location.

I’ve Shared My Files And Folders But Cannot Access Them From The Other PCs

Description: Map Netwrork Drive

This is probably the most common problem people encounter when setting up file sharing across home networks. If you're greeted by a username and password prompt when trying to click on a folder, but you don't use a password to log into your operating system, then you will need to disable password protected file sharing within the 'Advanced sharing settings' of the Network and Sharing Center. A better option is to set a login password for your username. This may cost you a few extra seconds for that first login of the day, but is much more secure and allows you to use other handy features like remote desktop. The login and password for your network file share is then the same as your account login for the host computer.

If you use a password but the system still cannot connect, the next step is to check the security software on the computer. If you're using a fully featured security application (usually 'Internet Security branded rather than 'Antivirus' branded) it may contain a firewall that is blocking access to your other PCs. You will need to set up the firewall to allow access from other computers on your network.

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