Windows ME is just the OS for networks

Helpline

January 30, 2003|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Simply put, I am going to link several computers in my home and home office to share the high-speed cable Internet access that we have. My main computer and two of the other three have Windows 98 installed. The fourth has Windows ME installed. I have heard people say that ME is the preferable OS for networking several computers - less problems. True or false?

True, and then some. Windows ME previewed the improved automated small-networking wizards ultimately built into Windows XP. It makes such a difference that I sometimes marvel that any of us ever got a small network running saddled with the Windows 95/98/NT system, in which one needed to move from command panel to command panel setting things like network protocols, binding order, primary and secondary addresses and other steps.

Windows ME attempts - and often succeeds - in automatically configuring and starting up a network by kicking in with the wizard after the user has installed all the necessary hardware in the member computers and connected them with the required hubs, cables and other equipment.

The system administrator-in-waiting (you, in other words) gets prompted to assign a name to the new workgroup and to each member workstation and to indicate whether the network members are to share a common Internet connection.

The wizard then electronically seeks out the other machines and finally asks you if you want to make a disc to run on each of the other computers to bring them on board. As you take that disc to each of the client machines, they should pop onto the network without incident as you work with each of them in turn.

James Coates is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune publishing newspapers. He can be reached via e-mail at jcoates@tribune.com.

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