If you want to bring a mobile PC home from work and connect it to your home network, you might have to change some computer settings.

Accessing the Internet

If you only want to use the Internet from home, connect your mobile PC from work to the home network.

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To connect to an Ethernet home network

  • Plug one end of an Ethernet cable into the mobile PC and the other end into the hub, switch, or router. You should have immediate Internet access.

To connect to a wireless home network

Your mobile PC must have a wireless network adapter.

  1. Turn on the mobile PC.

  2. Open Connect to a Network by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Connect to.

  3. Select your home wireless network in the list, and then type the network security key, if required.

    You should be connected to the wireless network and have Internet access.

Note

  • If your home network is wireless, we recommend using a network security key. Not doing so could put your mobile PC at risk of unauthorized access by hackers or malicious software. For more information, see Why should I secure my wireless network?

If you have problems connecting to the network and accessing the Internet, see Troubleshoot network connection problems and Troubleshoot Internet connection problems.

Enabling file and printer sharing

To access shared files and printers on your network, you first need to enable file and printer sharing.

To enable file and printer sharing

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Network and Internet, and then clicking Network and Sharing Center.

  2. Click Customize.

  3. On the Customize network settings page, click Private, and then click Next. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

  4. On the Successfully set network settings page, click Close.

If your computer running Windows Vista is joined to a domain, you might not be able to change the network location to Private. In that case, under Sharing and Discovery, make sure the following options are turned on:

Note

  • To use password-protected sharing, you must have exactly the same user accounts and passwords on both computers. This is usually not the case if you are using a work laptop and a home computer, so it's best to turn off password-protected sharing. (The password-protected sharing option is only available in workgroups.)

Accessing a printer

To use a printer that is connected to a home computer from your mobile PC, first turn on network discovery (if the printer is attached to a computer running Windows Vista), and then make sure that the printer is shared.

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To check if a printer is shared or to set up printer sharing

  1. Log on to a computer that is part of your home network and is connected to the printer.

  2. Open Printers by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Hardware and Sound, and then clicking Printers.

  3. Right-click the printer you want to share, and then click Sharing.

    If the printer is shared, Share this printer will be selected. If it is not selected, click Share this printer, and then click OK.

Note

  • The ability to share printers is not included in Windows Vista Starter.

To use a shared printer, you need to add the printer to your mobile PC.

To add a printer

  1. Open the Add Printer wizard by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Hardware and Sound, clicking Printers, and then clicking Add a printer.

  2. Select Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer, and then follow the steps in the wizard.

Accessing shared files and folders

You can share files and folders in two ways: through simple file sharing—putting the files or folders into a common shared folder, or in-place file sharing—marking individual files or folders to be shared without moving them from their current location. (In Windows XP, only folders can be shared this way.)

Note

  • The ability to share files and folders is not included in Windows Vista Starter.

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To set up sharing on computers running Windows XP

If any of your home computers are running a version of Windows XP earlier than Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2), you must upgrade them before you can set up sharing.

  1. Run the Network Setup wizard on each home computer, if you haven't already done so.

  2. When prompted, choose to enable file sharing. This creates a Shared Documents folder on each computer. Files in this folder are accessible to anyone on your network.

Notes

  • To open the Shared Documents folder, click Start, click My Documents, and then click Shared Documents.

  • In Windows XP, you cannot share individual files, you have to share the entire folder. To share folders and their contents without moving them into the Shared Documents folder, go to the location containing the folder that you want to share, right-click the folder, and then click Sharing and Security. Click the Sharing tab, click Share this folder, and then click Apply.

To set up sharing on computers running Windows Vista

The Shared Documents folder has been replaced with the Public folder in Windows Vista.

  1. Open Network and Sharing Center by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Network and Internet, and then clicking Network and Sharing Center.

  2. Click the arrow button Picture of the arrow button next to Public folder sharing, and then click one of the following options:
    • Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open files

    • Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can open, change, and create files

  3. Click Apply. Administrator permission required If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

    Files in the Public folder are now accessible to anyone on your network.

Notes

  • To open the Public folder, follow these steps:

    1. Open Documents by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Documents.

    2. Click the arrow next to Folders at the bottom of the Navigation pane, and then click Public.

  • To share files or folders without moving them into this folder, go to the location containing the file or folder that you want to share, click the file or folder, click Share, and then follow the steps in the wizard.

Accessing network computers

Before you can access another network computer, you need to know its name.

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To find a computer name

  1. Open System by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Maintenance, and then clicking System.

  2. The name appears under Computer Name, Domain, and Workgroup Settings.

To access a home computer from your mobile PC

To access files on a home computer, you can either log on as a guest (this means you will only have access to files in the Public folder), or, if you have a user account on that computer, you can log on using your account. For more information about user accounts, see User accounts: frequently asked questions. To access another computer, follow these steps:

  1. Open Network by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Network.

  2. Double-click a computer's icon to see the files and folders that you have access to.

    Notes

    • If your user name and password for the computer you are currently logged on to are different from those for the computer that you are trying to access, you might be prompted to enter your logon information.

    • If the other computer is set up to allow access to anyone on the network, you will be automatically connected to it but you will only have guest access. This means that you will only have access to files in the Public folder. You can automatically connect to another computer on the network using your logon information by storing your passwords. For more information, see Store passwords for automatic logon.

    A folder containing the shared folders and resources on the home computer will open.

To access your mobile PC from a home computer

  1. Open Network by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Network.

  2. When you are prompted to log on, in the User name box, type your work domain and user name, separated by a backward slash (for example: domain\username). In the Password box, type the password you use to log on at work.

    A folder containing the shared files and folders on the mobile PC will open.