How to Install a Wired Network in Windows 7

Before you start, you'll need a router, network adapters (if they aren't already built into the computers), and the necessary cables to connect each computer to the router. If you're going to be sharing an Internet connection, you'll also need a modem and a cable to connect the modem and router.

  1. Turn off and unplug all the computers on your soon-to-be network.

  2. Turn off all the computers’ peripherals.

    This includes all the printers, monitors, modems, and anything else that’s attached.

  3. Install the network adapters, if necessary.

    Plug the USB adapters into your computers’ USB ports. If you’re using adapter cards in a desktop PC, remove each computer’s case and push the card into the proper size of slot.

    If you live in a static-prone environment, ground yourself first by touching the side of the computer’s case. If a card doesn’t seem to fit into a slot, don’t force it. Take your time and test it gingerly in a couple of different slots until you’re sure which slot is right.

  4. Replace the computers’ cases, if necessary, and connect a network cable between each computer’s adapter and the router.

    The router’s other ports, labeled LAN, are numbered. You can plug any PC into any of the numbered ports. (You can leave any unused numbered ports empty.)

  5. Broadband Internet users should plug their modems into the router’s WAN port.

    Most routers label their cable modem’s port with the letters WAN.

    If you use a dialup modem, just keep it plugged into the computer. When that computer is connected to the Internet, Windows 7 allows each networked computer to share the Internet connection.

  6. Turn on the router, the computers, and their peripherals.

    Turn on the modem first and let it establish a connection. Turn on the router next, and then the computers and their monitors, printers, and any other connected devices.

  7. Select a location for your network.

    When Windows 7 wakes up and notices the newly attached network equipment, it asks you for your network’s location: Home, Work, or Public Location. Your choice here determines the level of security (Public is the least safe).

  8. If you choose Home as your network location, Windows asks if you’d like to create a Homegroup.

    A Homegroup will allow the computer’s user accounts to share files amongst the different PCs. Go ahead and take a few minutes to set one up.

  9. Run any necessary network adapter installation software.

    If your computer’s network adapter came with an installation CD, insert it now. (If the setup program doesn’t run automatically, double-click the disc’s Setup file to install the software.)

To see other PCs connected to your PC through the network, open any folder and click the Network link in the Navigation Pane on the left.

If things aren’t working properly, you might need a new driver for your network adapter. If any of the computers don’t recognize the new network, try restarting them all again.    

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