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Fixing and Tweaking Your Network : Changing Network Settings

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3/25/2011 5:42:35 PM
The default network settings in most cases produce a working network environment with minimal fuss and bother. However, you might want to modify some of the settings for your network.

1. Specifying the Order and Connection Properties of Preferred Wi-Fi Networks

The first time you connect to a wireless network, Windows adds that network to the top of the list of networks that use your wireless connection. If you take your computer to a different location and connect to a new network, that location is added to the list of wireless networks.

Each time you turn on your computer or enable your wireless adapter, Windows attempts to make a connection. The WLAN AutoConfig service tries to connect to each network in the list in the order that those networks appear. Unlike Windows XP, which included in its preferred networks list only networks that broadcast their SSID, Windows 7 includes non-broadcast networks also. This makes it possible to set a nonbroadcast network to a higher priority than an available broadcast network; Windows XP exhausts the list of broadcast networks before attempting to connect to an available nonbroadcast network.

You can alter the order of networks in the list and configure any entry for manual rather than automatic connection. To manage the settings of entries on the list of preferred networks, in Network And Sharing Center, click Manage Wireless Networks to open the window shown in Figure 1.

To change the order of entries in the list, select the entry you want to move and then click Move Up or Move Down. Alternatively, you can drag a network to the desired position.

TROUBLESHOOTING

Windows switches between preferred networks

If you're within range of more than one preferred network, Windows might switch repeatedly between the networks as signal strengths vary. This causes delays as your computer negotiates each new connection and sometimes drops the connection altogether. To prevent this from happening, in Manage Wireless Networks, double-click one of the interfering networks. On the Connection tab, clear Connect To A More Preferred Network If Available and then click OK.


Figure 1. The list includes all wireless networks associated with a particular network adapter. If you have more than one wireless adapter installed, the toolbar includes a Change Adapter button.


Manage Wireless Networks is also the place to review and, optionally, change connection settings for a network. To do that, double-click a network, which opens the network's properties dialog box, shown in Figure 2.

To change an entry in the networks list from automatic to manual, or vice versa, select or clear Connect Automatically When This Network Is In Range. Settings on the Security tab let you specify the type of security and encryption and enter the security key or passphrase; if that information has changed since you set up the connection initially, you can change it here instead of creating a new network.

Figure 2. Settings on the Connection tab determine whether Windows should attempt to connect automatically.


2. Renaming Your Workgroup

A workgroup is identified by a name; all computers in a workgroup must be in the same local area network and subnet, and all must share the same workgroup name. In Windows 7, the workgroup name is largely invisible and irrelevant; when you open the Network folder or look at a network map, Windows displays all computers in the network, regardless of which workgroup they're in. (However, network discovery is faster when all computers are in the same workgroup.)

That was not the case in Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows, which display in their network folders only computers in the same workgroup as your computer. Therefore, if your network includes computers running earlier versions of Windows, you should use the same workgroup name for all computers so that they can see each other. The default name for a new workgroup in Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP Professional is WORKGROUP; in Windows XP Home, it is MSHOME.

To set the workgroup name in Windows 7, follow these steps:

  1. In the Start menu search box or in Control Panel, type workgroup and click Change Workgroup Name.

  2. On the Computer Name tab of the System Properties dialog box, click Change, which displays the following dialog box:



  3. In the Computer Name/Domain Changes dialog box, select Workgroup and type the name of the workgroup (15-character maximum; the name can't include any of these characters: ; : < > * + = \ | / ? ,). Then click OK in each dialog box.

  4. Restart your computer.

Except for the first step, the process for changing the workgroup name in Windows XP is nearly identical: Right-click My Computer and choose Properties. Then follow steps 2 through 4 in the procedure just shown.

3. Renaming Your Network

You can change the name and the icon for your network. This information appears in Network And Sharing Center and in the information that pops up when you click the Network icon in the taskbar notification area. The network initially takes on the name of the wireless SSID or, if you join a domain, the domain name. (The default name of a wired network is Home or Network.)

To make the change, in Network And Sharing Center, under View Your Active Networks, click the icon for your network. Type the name you want in the Network Name box. If you want to select a different icon, click Change, where you'll find icons suggestive of a library, office building, park bench, airport, coffee shop, and more.




Note:

Changing the network name does not affect the workgroup name, wireless SSID, or domain name. And the name you choose is visible only on your computer; other computers can assign different names to the same network with no ill effects.


Inside Out: Rename from Manage Wireless Networks

The Manage Wireless Networks window (shown earlier in Figure 19-4), can be a more convenient place to change the network name because it lets you rename networks to which you're not currently connected. Simply right-click a network and choose Rename.


4. Removing a Network

A computer that travels often is likely to accumulate settings for a large number of networks. Although these collected settings don't have any significant impact on performance or disk space, you might find it helpful to remove from the list entries that you don't plan to use again, such as one for a network at a hotel you don't expect to revisit.

To remove a wireless network, in Network And Sharing Center, click Manage Wireless Networks. Select a network to delete and click Remove.

Windows includes another tool that lets you delete unneeded wired networks as well as wireless networks. To use it, in Network And Sharing Center, click your network's icon to open the dialog box shown in the preceding section. In the Set Network Properties dialog box, click Merge Or Delete Network Locations. In the Merge Or Delete Network Locations dialog box (shown in Figure 3), select the networks to remove and click Delete.

Figure 3. Connections to a domain are identified as Managed network locations.

Other -----------------
- Fixing and Tweaking Your Network : Maximizing Network Performance
- Troubleshooting Network Problems (part 2) - Troubleshooting TCP/IP Problems
- Troubleshooting Network Problems (part 1) - Troubleshooting HomeGroup Problems & Network Troubleshooting Tools
- Fixing and Tweaking Your Network : Diagnosing Problems Using Network Map
- Fixing and Tweaking Your Network : Viewing Status in Network And Sharing Center
- Connecting to Another Computer with Remote Desktop (part 4) - Configuring Performance Options
- Connecting to Another Computer with Remote Desktop (part 3) - Using a Remote Desktop Connection
- Connecting to Another Computer with Remote Desktop (part 2) - Enabling Inbound Remote Desktop Connections
- Connecting to Another Computer with Remote Desktop (part 1) - Configuring Your Network for Remote Desktop Connections
- Finding and Using Shared Resources on a Windows Network
 
 
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