Setting up a Home Network on Vista

January 12, 2009

in computer networks,Windows

Ross M. Greenberg

Out-of-the-box Vista is an extraordinarily easy system on which to base your home network. My setup here is with a high-speed DSL, wired to my Vista Ultimate with wireless connections to my son’s Vista Home Premium and my wife’s XP Media Center.

The first thing to do is to make sure that the XP machine is using the NTFS file system. This is the newer file system that allows for more granular file permissions – permissions can be set to deny or allow remote file access to directories, shares, individual files and so forth. This is based upon the credentials a remote user or a remote machine uses to access another on the network. To offer a full transparency of access it is vital that the users of one machine have the same login ID and password on each machine on the network. Secure information, such as the password, does not have to be visible in plain text or accessible to other users.

If necessary, it is easy to convert your non-NTFS system into one: on the XP system right-click on My Computer and select Manage, then select Disk Management.if you need to convert to NTFS simply go to the start button, click Run and run the CMD program. Enter the command convert c: /fs:ntfs hit the enter key, sit back and be patient and when it’s done reboot the machine. Do the same process for each XP machine on the network.

Still on the XP machines, we next must set the permissions thusly: Open My Computer,
then select Tools and then Folder Options.

You will see a number of tabs, under the View tab and under the advanced setting window. Make sure that the option to “Use Simple File Sharing” is not checked. Click Apply and then OK. In the control panel activate the network and network connections utility. Make sure that File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is selected.

Make sure that the computer name for both the XP machines and the Vista machine is the same.

For each of the XP machines, right-click each of the folders you wish to share on network and indicate that you wish to “Share This Folder on the Network” (XP Professional users will have some additional options allowing for read/write/modify permissions to be set separately)

You’re basically now finished with the XP machines. On to the Vista machines.
For each Vista computer click on the start menu and type “system” into the search box activate the System when it appears. Under Workgroup Settings make sure that this is the same name as you selected previously on the XP machines. Make sure that this machine is a member of the same workgroup as the XP machines.

Whew! We’re almost done. Reboot the Vista machines. We need only set permissions for which shares/directories/files we wish to share across the network. Right-click on the file or folders you wish to share, click on the Sharing tab. From there, hit the Advanced Sharing button and select the permissions you wish to give (read/write/modify/full/etc.)

That’s it. You should now be able to share Files, Directories, and Shares as per your permissions, painlessly.

It was painful to get here. It only had to be done once.

Ross M. Greenberg is a software developer, writer, and a webpage designer — in that order.  He’s been using Vista since forever, initially as an MSDN user and has dutifully upgraded it as it matured. It is currently his favorite operating system; starting off with CP/M through DOS and its various incarnations and Windows with its various incarnations. If you are new to Vista he promises it will grow on you. He loves being on the cutting edge … “