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How to Access Multiple Networks from a Windows PC

Windows features a Bridge Connections command, which allows you to access two separate networks on a single PC. For example, if you have a laptop computer with both wired and wireless connections and you’re using both, you can bridge those connections so that your laptop can access computers on both networks.

Yes, this type of situation might be rare. But Windows lets you do it.

To bridge connections, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Network Connections window.

  2. Select the network connections to bridge.

    To select more than one connection at a time, press and hold the Ctrl key as you click each one.

  3. Right-click the selected icons and choose the Bridge Connections command.

  4. In Windows Vista, click the Continue button or type the administrator’s password if you’re prompted to do so.

  5. Dismiss the confirmation dialog box if one appears.

There are a few times when this trick doesn’t work. Windows doesn’t, for example, bridge a connection between a local network and the Internet, which would be a security risk. Neither does bridging work when you’re using Internet Connection Sharing, which is a way of sharing your PC’s Internet connection directly with another PC by hooking the two computers together with an Ethernet cable.

To break up a network bridge, open the Network Connections window, right-click the bridge, and choose Delete from the shortcut menu.

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