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Windows Vista

Configure and Troubleshoot Network Services at the Client Level

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3/17/2011 4:22:28 PM
Microsoft Windows Vista introduces a few network services and enhances and modifies the behavior of previously included services. The following network services and tools are discussed and some require direct configuration, whereas others are helpful tools for troubleshooting connectivity:

Network and Sharing Center

The Network and Sharing Center is a new and improved user interface for managing network connections. Integrated into the Network and Sharing Center is the new Network Explorer, which has replaced My Network Places from previous Windows operating systems.

Note

You can access the Network and Sharing Center using a variety of methods:

  • Right-click the network status icon in the system tray and select Network and Sharing Center from the pop-up dialog box.

  • Click the network status icon in the system tray and select Network and Sharing Center from the pop-up dialog box.

  • Navigate through Start > Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center.

  • Click Start and type network in the search box. The Network and Sharing Center link appears in the results box.


This tool presents several items within its main view. Figure 1 shows the default interface for the Network and Sharing Center upon opening the tool.

Figure 1. The default interface for the Network and Sharing Center.

From this view, you see the following items:

  • Abbreviated Network Map of this computer and its connections

  • The network location type currently selected

  • The connections that are defined within each firewall profile

  • The configuration for the Sharing and Discovery services on the local computer

Using the preceding items as your outline, you can determine the following from Figure 4.6 and the computer this snapshot was taken from:

  • The Network Map displays a workstation on the left connected to a Microsoft Windows domain called home.local and through this connection has access to the Internet. You can display a more detailed map.

  • The network location type is set to Microsoft’s default Domain type (more on this setting in the following section) because the computer is a member of a Windows domain.

  • A single connection is set to the domain type that has both local and Internet connectivity. Although the connection is wireless, the abbreviated diagram in Figure 4.6 does not note this.

  • In the Sharing and Discovery section of the dialog box, none of the Sharing and Discovery features are turned on. These are the default settings for the domain profile setting. These items also are discussed in a later section.

  • From the task list on the left side of Figure 1, you can see that you are able to connect to other networks via wireless as well Virtual Private Networks. You also can troubleshoot your current connections.

The Network and Sharing Center provides the jump point for several important network configuration tasks.

Network Profiles

Windows Vista uses network profiles to classify network connections to configure default settings for Windows Vista’s Firewall, file sharing, and discovery services. These network profiles are configurable and are stored for later use when the connection to that network has been established. This enables you to configure settings unique to each connection a computer makes. These settings are then used to configure default settings for the affected parameters of the Sharing and Discovery features listed in the Network and Sharing Center.

The network profile is configured with a firewall profile. The firewall profiles have numerous configuration options. Three firewall profiles are listed as location types in the Network and Sharing Center. Following are these firewall policies:

  • Domain— This profile is automatically selected whenever a computer joins a domain. It is very restrictive in its settings because desktop computers within an enterprise do not often share local resources.

  • Public— This is the default profile when a computer is not connected to a domain. The settings for this profile are set at their most restrictive configuration. Network Discovery and file and print sharing settings are turned off.

  • Private— This profile is designed to allow a more liberal approach to Network Discovery and file and print sharing services. This profile should be applied only where the computer is connected to a trusted network. Only an administrator of the local computer can assign this profile.

Table 1 shows the default settings for the items displayed in the Network and Sharing Center for each of the three profiles.

Table 1. Default Network Profile Settings for Each of the Network Location Types
Sharing and Discovery SettingSettings for the Network Location Type
DomainPublicPrivate
Network DiscoveryOffOffOn
File sharingOffOffOff
Public folder sharingOffOffOff
Printer sharingOffOffOff
Password-protected sharingOffOffOff
Media sharingOffOffOff

Alert

Although Table 1 shows very little difference in the configuration settings between each of the firewall profiles or location types, when you are answering questions on the exam, you can assume the following:

  • Domain is always chosen when a computer is a part of a domain. There is no choice other than to manually redefine the settings shown in this table.

  • Public should always be chosen for untrusted network locations such as an office or a wireless access point connection at a coffee shop. It is chosen by default whenever a network profile is chosen without user interaction.

  • Private should be selected only when the network location is trusted, such as a home network environment.


Windows Vista utilizes a decision tree in deciding the computer’s overall profile, especially if different location types are selected on different interface connections. In Windows Vista, an overall profile is applied if one or more interfaces are connected with different network location types configured for each of the connections. The following is a decision tree that the Network Location Awareness (NLA) service uses to determine the computer’s profile from the existing connections on a computer:

  1. All interfaces that are connected to any network are explored.

  2. If any interface that is connected to a network is determined to be or configured as Public, the computer’s profile is set to Public. The NLA service exits here.

  3. If any interface that is connected to a network is configured as Private, the computer’s profile is set to Private. The NLA service exits here.

  4. Does each interface successfully see a domain controller and did the computer successfully log on? If yes, the computer’s profile is set to Domain and the NLA service exits here.

  5. If none of the above is true, the computer’s profile is set to Public.

The goal is to set the computer to the most restrictive profile setting. So if your computer is connected to a domain in your company’s network but also configures a connection to a wireless broadband provider, the computer’s profile is set to Public.


Network Setup Wizard

The Network Setup Wizard makes creating new network connections a snap. In addition to recognizing available network devices and automating a connection with them, the Network Setup Wizard also automatically discovers any wireless networks that are within range of your computer. You are then able to select one of them and proceed through the wizard to finalize the connection.

After a new connection has been made, you are given the option to save the network settings to a universal serial bus (USB) Flash drive. This saved connection on the USB device can then be used to automate network connection setup on another computer.

Network Map

The new Network and Sharing Center supports the new Network Map feature, which is visible at the top of the window when you first open the Network and Sharing Center. The Network Map uses a discovery protocol (discussed later) to map out the topology of the local network. Using information previously gathered and collected when assessing a network profile, the Network Location Awareness feature identifies the network services and connection type. The Network Map then uses the information gathered by the NLA service to determine the connectivity information and media type and then graphically display the discovered topology. Devices on the local network also must support discovery to appear in the Network Map.

The Network Map initially displayed in the Network and Sharing Center is essentially an abbreviated topology showing only enough connection information regarding the computer’s access to the LAN and to the Internet. You can use a more complete topology for troubleshooting a computer’s connection within the local network by selecting to view the full map from the display located on the Network and Sharing Center. Figure 2 shows a more complete topology of the network than the one displayed in Figure 1.

Figure 2. A full map view of the Network Map feature in the Network and Sharing Center.

As you can see from the large enterprise run inside the house in this example, several wireless computers are attached to a Belkin wireless access point connected to a gateway device that has an Internet connection.

Network Discovery

Microsoft Windows Vista introduced a new way to discover network devices within your network. Network Discovery uses the Link-Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) protocol. The Network Map feature uses the LLTD protocol to draw the topology of the network. LLTD also enables one-click access to the discovered devices so that you can browse or configure their network settings. LLTD also allows other LLTD-capable devices to discover your computer for network resource sharing services. LLTD is a part of Microsoft’s Windows Rally licensed technologies (formerly called Windows Connect Now).

LLTD is a data-link layer protocol that is capable of operating over wired and wireless networks. Because LLTD is the basis by which the Network Map feature creates its topology map of network devices and their interconnections, the Link-Layer Topology Discovery Mapper service in Windows Vista is required. This service has two components:

  • Link-Layer Discovery Responder— This LLTD component allows the current device to be located by other LLTD-capable network devices.

  • Link-Layer Discovery I/O Driver— This LLTD component performs the discovery of other LLTD-capable devices.

LLTD works with Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) to classify the discovered devices and list their capabilities and function within the network. This enables one network device to connect to any discoverable network device and possibly automate their connection and configuration.

Alert

Microsoft Windows Vista and the newly released Windows Server 2008 are the only operating systems from Microsoft that provide full LLTD-capable support and services. Microsoft provides an LLTD Responder client for Windows XP. You must download this client from the Microsoft Download Center and install it on every Windows XP computer you want to be discovered. Search the Microsoft Download Center for the support article Link-Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) Responder (KB922120).


Configuring Sharing and Discovery

To understand how to configure the various aspects of the Sharing and Discovery feature found in the Network and Sharing Center, you must understand what each setting enables or disables.

Network Discovery

Enabling Network Discovery on your computer allows other computers to discover your computer and the shared resources available on it. This also allows your computer that has the service enabled to discover other computers on the local LAN.

File Sharing

Enabling the file sharing feature allows other computers to access file shares on your computer.

Public Folder Sharing

There are three settings for the public folder sharing feature. You can enable public folder sharing so that anyone with network access can open files in the public share. You can enable additional access to the public folder share that allows any network-connected user to open, change, and create files. Finally, you can turn off this feature and disable any network-connected users from accessing the public share on this computer, but all local users are still entitled to access it.

Printer Sharing

Enabling the printer sharing feature allows other computers to access printer shares on your computer.

Password-Protected Sharing

Turning on the password-protected sharing feature allows only users with local accounts on the computer to access file and printer shares as well as the public folder share.

Media Sharing

When the media sharing feature is enabled, users and devices on the network can access shared media, and this computer can find other devices sharing media.

Other -----------------
- Configure and Troubleshoot Network Protocols (part 3) - Configuring TCP/IP Version 6
- Configure and Troubleshoot Network Protocols (part 2) - WINS & NAT
- Configure and Troubleshoot Network Protocols (part 1) - Configuring Internet Protocol Version 4
- Reliability and Performance Monitor
- Event Viewer and Event Forwarding
- Scheduling Tasks
- Troubleshooting Policy Settings
- Group Policy Settings (part 5) - Point and Print Restrictions & Digital Certificates and Authenticode
- Group Policy Settings (part 4) - The Audit Policy
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