Microsoft Windows 8 has simplified the task of connecting to networks and shared devices in an era when connectivity, networking, internet connection are the vogue words. One of the most common headaches for Windows users, especially those trying to work on the move or from remote locations, was to identify and connect to a network. But with Windows 8, adding devices to network, connecting to the internet, and implementing network settings are a cake walk now.
If you are looking for a step by step guidance on how to setup network setting, and about the new features of Windows 8, then check out Learn Microsoft Windows 8 or Beginners Microsoft Windows 8 Tutorial Video for a comprehensive training on Windows 8. These are excellent courses which will teach you to navigate the Windows 8 interface, discover how to access apps and accessories, and how to change various applications and settings. You will learn how to manage user accounts including adding users and changing passwords and gain practical knowledge about how to connect your Windows 8 device to a network.
Whenever you buy a new PC or laptop, Windows 8 is installed on most of them, though a few still come preinstalled with Windows 7. So it is essential to know the different features about Windows 8 and how it has been upgraded from Windows 7.
Networking Made Easy With Windows 8
Whenever new computers or devices are added to your home network, you are left wondering how to make them interact with each other, how to share files between them, how to connect two or more PCs to the same internet connection, and so on. Well, all your questions are put to rest with the networking solution of Windows 8.
In Windows 8 you should be familiar with the following terms:
- Charm: Icon that represents a feature or function
- Charm bar: Menu bar that houses the charms
- Windows key: Keyboard key with the Microsoft wave logo on it
How to Set up a Homegroup?
Let’s see how to set up a ‘homegroup’ in Windows 8.
Before starting, ensure your computer is connected to a network. The connection can be wired or wireless, but make sure you are connected to your home or office router first. Then follow these steps:
- On the Windows 8 Start screen, in the Search box, type Control Panel.
- When the Control Panel icon appears, click Network and Internet
- Choose the HomeGroup option and click Create a Homegroup. The Create a Homegroup wizard opens.
- Here select the files and devices you want to share within the homegroup and set the permission levels. Click Next.
- Windows will establish the sharing and permissions you just set. The wizard will then display an auto-generated password that must be entered into any computers that you want to add to the homegroup. You can always change the password later, but as of now copy it down. Click Finish.
To verify if the homegroup has been set up, select Control Panel>Network and Internet>HomeGroup.
You will now see listed the libraries and devices being shared under this homegroup. You can also change your homegroup settings from this screen. For example, you can change the password by clicking Change the password.
Also ensure the network discovery is turned on, so that you can share data among member devices in your homegroup. To turn on this feature:
- Select Control Panel>Network and Internet>Homegroup.
- Click Change advanced sharing settings.
- Under Private (current profile) click the radio button to Turn on network discovery.
- Do the same for Turn on file and printer sharing if you want to share files and printers between the homegroup members.
There are three types of profiles: Private, Guest or Public and All Networks. For security purposes, you should utilize each type of profile for different connections. This allows you to pick and choose what you share when connected to a Homegroup over a variety of network connections.
By default, Windows will manage your homegroup connections. For added security, you can create user accounts and password for every machine you connect to the homegroup and use these personal settings of yours. To do this, under HomeGroup, click the radio button next to Use user accounts and passwords to connect to other computers. After the selection click Save changes.
How to Connect to the Internet?
Once you have connected the devices to your homegroup, you may want to connect to the internet. Windows 8 has easy solutions for that too. If you have Internet access at your home through an ISP, then connect your PC to the internet by plugging into your modem with an Ethernet cable (for a wired connection) or use the wireless option through a router.
Window 8 computers can connect with other devices such as smartphones, printers or media servers so that they can communicate with one another and share data. As Windows 8 is designed for mobility, the operating system also includes better tools for connecting and managing, cellular networks. When you join a new network, you’ll find that Microsoft has simplified the dialog boxes to guide you through choosing connections to a public or a private network, and enabling sharing of data or resources between your computer and the other devices on the network. Under Networks, you can configure a wireless connection and Airplane mode. You can turn on or off Airplane mode by sliding the switch to left or right. The new Windows 8 network settings allow you to turn individual radios on and off (Wi-Fi, mobile broadband, or Bluetooth), as well as disable all radios at once with the new “airplane mode.”
To see a list of available networks and to connect to a network:
- Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Settings, or with a mouse, point to the lower-right corner of the screen so that the Charms Bar appears. Select Settings and then select WiFi.
- Tap or click the name of the network or connection you want to connect to, and then tap or click Connect.
- If it is a protected network, then you will be asked for the network password. In office, your network admin can give you this password. If you’re at home, then it must be available with one of your family members. In a public place it may be an open, unprotected network, or in a hotel or coffee shop, ask someone who works there for the password.
- If you want to connect to this network every time it’s in range, select the Connect automatically check box.
After exploring Windows 8 and its network settings, you may not want to stop there. You can quench your thirst with the course Introduction to Personal Computers Using Windows 8 to know more about using Internet Explorer 10, customizing the Windows 8 environment, and using Windows 8 security features.