Microsoft Windows Networking | CompTIA A+ 220-1002 | 1.8

In this video you will learn about Microsoft Windows networking on client/desktop computers.

Homegroup vs. Workgroup

Windows 7/8/8.1/10 support two different types of SOHO networks:  workgroups and homegroups.  The following sections describe how they differ from each other.

Workgroup Networking

In computer networking a workgroup is a collection of computers connected on a LAN that share common resources and responsibilities. Workgroup is Microsoft’s term for a peer-to-peer LAN. Computers running Microsoft operating systems in the same workgroup may share files, printers, or an Internet connection. Windows 8/8.1/10 all support workgroup networks. The Computer Name section of the Systems properties sheet is where you can identify workgroups. Most computers are already in the default WORKGROUP workgroup as soon as Windows is installed.


HomeGroup Networking

Starting with Windows 7, Microsoft added a new ad hoc home networking system known as HomeGroup. The system used a password to join computers into the group, and allowed users’ libraries, along with individual files and folders, to be shared between multiple computers. Only computers running Windows 7 through Windows 10 version 1709 could create or join a HomeGroup. In October 2018, however, HomeGroup was removed from Windows 10 (Version 1803). HomeGroups were allowed to coexist with workgroups, but HomeGroup networking allowed for easier security and sharing than workgroups permitted.

SIDE NOTE: Regardless of either type of networking, only 10 computers at a time can connect to a Workgroup or HomeGroup computer.


Domain Setup

A network domain is an administrative grouping of multiple private computer networks or hosts within the same infrastructure. Domains can be identified using a domain name; domains which need to be accessible from the public Internet can be assigned a globally unique name within the Domain Name System (DNS). Some of the features of domain networking are:

  • Shared resources such as files, folders, printers, & devices that are stored on Active Directory servers that are used to grant authentication to said resources.
  • Users on a domain can utilize any computer within the domain to get access to files and shared resources.
  • Group policies can be set up to limit users to certain resources on the domain in addition to limiting configuration settings for users.
  • Different local networks with hundreds to thousands of users can be part of a single domain.
Windows Domain

Network Shares

In computing, a network share (shared resource) is a computer resource made available from one host to other hosts on a computer network. It is a device or piece of information on a computer that can be remotely accessed from another computer transparently as if it were a resource in the local machine. Network sharing is made possible by inter-process communication over the network.

Shares can be provided in three ways:

  • Client/server-based network or on a peer-to-peer network with peer servers that support user/group permissions where shares are protected by lists of authorized users or groups.
  • Workgroup networks that offer unlimited sharing for users who connect to a system if password-protected sharing is disabled.
  • HomeGroup networks that offer read-only access for shared resources to any HomeGroup user.

Administrative Shares

Administrative shares are hidden network shares created by Windows NT family of operating systems that can be identified by a $ at the end of the share name that allow system administrators to have remote access to every disk volume on a network-connected system. These shares cannot be seen by standard users when browsing to the computer over the network; they are meant for administrative use. These shares may not be permanently deleted but may be disabled. Administrative shares cannot be accessed by users without administrative privileges. All the shared folders that include administrative shares can be found by navigating to Computer Management > System Tools > Shared Folders > Shares.

Administrative Shares

Mapped Drive Letters

Drive mapping is how operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, associate a local drive letter (A through Z) with a shared storage area to another computer (often referred to as a File Server) over a network. After a drive has been mapped, a software application on a client’s computer can read and write files from the shared storage area by accessing that drive, just as if that drive represented a local physical hard disk drive.

Drive Mapping

Printer Sharing vs. Network Printer Mapping

Printers connected to network computers can be shared or printers can be connected directly to a network with Ethernet or WiFi connections. To perform printer sharing:

  1. Open the Devices and Printers or Printers and Faxes folder.
  2. Right-click a printer and select Sharing.
  3. Select Share This Printer and specify a share name.
  4. Click Additional Drivers to select additional drivers to install for other operating systems that will use the printer on the network.  Supply driver media when prompted.
Printer Sharing

To perform network printer mapping:

  1. Open Devices and Printers (Windows 7/8/8.1/10) in the Control Panel.
  2. Click Add a Printer.
  3. Click Add a Network, Wireless, or Bluetooth.  Windows will search for a printer automatically.  To bypass this, click The Printer I Want Isn’t Listed.
  4. To find a printer on an domain-based network, choose Find a Printer in the Directory, Based on Location or Features.  To find a printer by name, choose Select a Shared Printer by Name.  To find a printer by its URL or IP address, choose Add a Printer Using a TCP/IP Address or Hostname.  Click Next.
Network Printer Mapping

Establish Networking Connections

To create connections in the Network and Sharing Center, click Start > Settings > Network & Internet and the following connection types are available:

  • Virtual private networking
  • Dial-ups
  • Wireless
  • Wired
  • WWAN (cellular)

VPN Connections

A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. To configure a VPN connection:

  1. In the Set Up a Connection or Network dialog, click Connect to a Workplace > Next.
  2. Click Use My Internet Connection (VPN).
  3. In Windows 7/8/8.1, enter the IP address and the destination name, select options such as Use a Smart Card and Remember My Credentials as desired, and click Create.  To make the connection later, click Don’t Connect Now.  Click Next > Close.
VPN Connection Windows 8.1

Dial-Up Connections

Dial-up Internet access is a form of Internet access to establish a connection to an ISP by dialing a telephone number on a conventional telephone line. Dial-up connections use modems to decode audio signals into data to send to a router or computer, and to encode signals from the latter two devices to send to another modem. Windows can create two types of dial-up connections on systems with analog modems:

  • Dial-up networking connections to an ISP
  • Direct dial-in connections to a corporate computer

Configuring dial-up connections to an ISP:

  1. In the Set Up a Connection or Network dialog, click Connect to the Internet > Next.
  2. Click Dial-up > Next.
  3. Enter the ISP’s dial-up phone number, username, and password.  Check the Remember This Password box if the user doesn’t want to enter the password again.  Name the connection and click Connect.

Configuring direct dial-in connections to corporate computers:

  1. In the Set Up a Connection or Network dialog, click Connect to a Workplace > Next.
  2. Click Dial Directly > Next.
  3. Enter the remote computer’s dial-up phone number and destination name.  To connect now, click Next.  To set up the connection for later, check the Don’t Connect box.
  4. Enter the username and password.  Enter the domain.  Check the Remember This Password box if the user doesn’t want to enter the password again.  Click Connect.
Dial-Up Connection

Wireless Connections

Wireless connections can be established by clicking on the SSID from the taskbar or Settings menu. Use the following steps:

  1. In the Set Up a Connection or Network dialog, click Connect to a Wireless Network > Next.
  2. Enter the network name.  Select the Security type and enter the security key.  To start the connection automatically, check the Start This Connection Automatically > Next.
  3. Click Close.
Wireless Connection

Wired Connections

If setting up a point-to-point protocol over Ethernet (PPPoE), use a wired connection:

  1. In the Set Up a Connection or Network dialog, click Connect to the Internet > Next.
  2. Click Broadband (PPPoE) > Next.
  3. Enter the username and password.  Enter the domain.  Check the Remember This Password box if the user doesn’t want to enter the password again.  Click Connect.

WWAN (Cellular) Connections

A wireless wide area network (WWAN) is a form of a wireless network. a WWAN often differs from wireless LANs by using mobile telecommunication cellular network technologies such as 2G, 3G, 4G LTE, & 5G to transfer data. A WWAN (cellular) connection shows up in the list of network connections after a SIM card is installed and activated by a mobile provider. To use this type of connection, select it from the list of network connections displayed when selecting the network icon in the taskbar or Settings.

Proxy Settings

In computer networking, a proxy server is a server application or appliance that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from servers that provides those resources. To configure manual proxy settings for a LAN connection in Windows:

  1. Open the Internet properties dialog from the Control Panel.
  2. One the Connections tab, click LAN settings.
  3. In the LAN Settings window, choose the appropriate option under Proxy Server.  If a single proxy server address and port number is used for all types of traffic, click the Use a Proxy Server check box and enter the address and port number provided by the network administrator.  If different proxy servers or ports will be used, click Use a Proxy Server check box and click Advanced.
  4. Specify the correct server and port number to use.
  5. Click OK.

Remote Desktop Connection & Remote Assistance

Remote Desktop Services is one of the components of Microsoft Windows that allow a user to take control of a remote computer or virtual machine over a network connection. To enable Remote Desktop or Remote Assistance:

  • Open the Remote tab of the System properties sheet.
  • Click Advanced to specify how long an invitation remains valid & whether to accept connections only from Windows or newer versions.
Remote Desktop Connection

Home vs. Work vs. Public Network Setting

In Windows, network locations are the settings pertaining to Home, Work, Public, and Private.  Depending upon what network location is selected, it can affect how Windows Firewall configures protections & networking features available to a particular PC.

Network Locations

Firewall Settings

Select System and Security from the Control Panel to bring up the firewall settings in Windows 10.

Windows Firewall Settings

Configuring an Alternative IP Address in Windows

An alternative IP address enables a system to stay on the network if the DHCP server fails or if the system is sometimes on a different network than normal.  To change the settings follow these steps:

  1. Open the Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Click Change Adapter Settings.
  3. Click the connection to change.
  4. Click Change Settings of This Connection > Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) > Properties > Alternate Configuration.
Alternate Configuration Tab

Network Card Properties

If you have to change the settings for a wired network adapter (network card or NIC) despite most NICs working well with the default settings, do the following:

  1. Open the Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Click Change Adapter Settings.
  3. Click wired connection.
  4. Click Change Settings of This Connection > Configure.
Network Card Properties

Some of the available network card properties are:

  • Half Duplex/Full Duplex/Auto: Settings that determine how a network card communicates with the rest of the network.
    • Half duplex sends/receives data in separate operations.
    • Full duplex enables the adapter to send/receive data at the same time, which doubles network speed.
    • Auto settings allow the adapter to determine the best setting.
  • Speed: Ethernet adapters can run at more than one speed, but the speed available is limited by the slowest network hardware.
  • Wake-on-LAN: Enables a computer connected to a wired network to be awakened from sleep mode via a special signal delivered over the network.
  • QoS: Quality of Service enables a computer connected to a wired network to optimize real-time streaming traffic.
  • BIOS (On-Board NIC): Can be used to boot a computer if it is configured as a bootable device in the BIOS or UEFI firmware setup.