Troubleshoot a Network - dummies

By Andy Rathbone

At some point, you will need to troubleshoot your network. When troubleshooting your network, you will use a systematic approach to solving problems that occur. Follow these steps to troubleshoot a network:

  • Make sure that each PC on the network has the same workgroup name. Right-click Computer from the Start menu and choose Properties. Choose Change Settings, click the Change button, and make sure that the same name appears in each PC’s Workgroup box.

  • Turn off every computer (using the Start menu’s Shut Down option, of course). Check their cables to make sure that everything’s connected. If you’re not using a router, turn on the computer with the Internet connection. When it’s up, running, and connected to the Internet, turn on another one. When it’s connected, move to the next computer, and repeat.

  • Try making Windows Vista check and repair the connection, if necessary. Choose Control Panel from the Start menu and select Network and Internet. Click Network and Sharing Center and choose Manage Network Connections from the left pane to see your connections. Right-click the one that’s not working and choose Diagnose.

  • Choose Help and Support from the Start menu and type troubleshoot network into the search box. Windows Vista offers many built-in troubleshooting tools to diagnose and repair network problems.

  • On a network at home, make sure that you’ve set it to Private, not Public. To check, visit the Network and Sharing Center, described in the previous paragraph. Then click the word Customize next to your wireless network’s name. That lets you switch from Public to Private and vice versa. If you accidentally chose Private when connected wirelessly in public, here’s where can switch back to Public to add more security.

  • Click View Full Map in the Network and Sharing Center to see a map of your entire network: your Vista PCs, your router, and your Internet connection. Unfortunately, Vista leaves any Windows XP PCs off Vista’s map. To complete your map, Microsoft offers downloadable software you can install on your Windows XP PCs to make them appear, as well.