How to Browse Your PC Network Neighborhood

After you set up your network, you can easily see which other PCs are available. Windows 8 power users call this activity browsing your network, where you saunter around and admire what’s connected. From the Charms bar, click Search and click Settings, and then type Network into the Search box.

Click the View Network Computers and Devices button that appears in the Search results pane to display each of the computers and recognized devices in your networked surroundings.

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Whoops! All sorts of irate Windows 8 faithful are growling in irritation, especially if you’re working on a large home or office network with a number of different types of computers sharing resources. “Is that a (gasp) Macintosh that I see in my network?” That’s right.

As long as other computers conform to standard Ethernet protocols and have been recognized by the host PC (or DHCP device), they show up. (This includes PCs running Linux, Macs running Mac OS X, and Unix machines.)

“Wait! Where’s Boopsie?” Well, if the client PC that you named Boopsie has been turned on after you opened the Network window, it doesn’t show up. To see it, right-click any empty spot within the Network window and choose Refresh from the menu that appears, which rescans the network and updates the window’s contents.

To display available folders and devices on each computer, simply double-click the computer icon to open it. Note that you might be greeted by a login dialog box. If you’ve set up your account on a PC without a password (or you remove your password later from the User Accounts screen in Control Panel), that PC is essentially an open system.

Windows 8 automatically adds shared printers and displays them in the Network window — just double-click the name of the computer that the printer is attached to, and it appears (along with any shared files or drives).

However, you can also manually add a new shared network printer to your Network window. Click Network at the top of the Network window toolbar to display the Add Devices and Printers button — click the button to run the Add a Device Wizard, which guides you through the steps.

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