Problems connecting to Windows network computers and shares? Windows 7 makes it very easy to connect to other Windows 7 computers by creating Homegroups. But if you have a mixture of Operating Systems, you might be experiencing minor configurations issues that are causing connection problems for your networked computers. As long as all of the computers are connected through a router and able to individually reach the Internet, you know the network part is setup correctly. The following steps will help you connect to other computers at home so you can share files and printers.
Change the workgroup names
Problems connecting to Windows network computers and shares can be due to different workgroup names. Different versions of Windows have different default workgroup names. If you have an XP machine and Windows 7 computer, you will want to make sure the workgroup is the same for each PC. To change a workgroup in XP, click Start, then right-click My Computer. Click Properties, then look for the Computer Name tab. To change the name, click the Change button. Once done, restart the computer.
You will also want to make sure you have File and Print Sharing enabled, and you will want to have at least one folder shared. To check and see if File and Print Sharing is enabled in XP, go to the Control Panel and right-click your network adapter. Select properties, then check the box that says File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks.
If the workgroup names match and you are sharing files, but are still unable to connect to your Windows 7 computer from the Windows XP machine, try temporarily disabling any firewalls you are running. Some third-party firewalls might be inadvertently blocking access to the other network computers.
Choose Network Location in Windows 7
When you first connect to a network in Windows 7, you have to select the type of network you want to connect to. This determines types of security that is applied. If you select Public, for instance, you are telling Windows you are in a potentially dangerous area and it applies settings that could prevent snooping or attacks. If you select Home, this tells Windows that you are networking you PC to a friendlier environment.
To change the network type, go the the Control Panel and Network and Sharing Center. You will see the options to click Work, Home or Public. Select Home if you are using this PC at home and trust the other computers around you.
This should help you with problems connecting to Windows network computers and shares. Once your computers are successfully connected, make sure you re-enable any firewalls you disabled for security purposes. Read our other networking articles.