Network Basics: Windows 7

Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system has powerful peer-to-peer networking features built in, so it’s easy to create a small, peer-to-peer network. With a Windows 7-based network, you can share files and printers, diagnose and troubleshoot problems, and more.

Windows 7 comes in six editions:

  • Starter: A simplified version that is available only pre-installed on computer systems from manufacturers such as Dell.

  • Home Basic: A special version that is available only in certain geographic markets such as China, India, and Pakistan. It is not available in Europe or the United States.

  • Home Premium: The standard edition for home use. You can use the Home Premium edition to build a simple peer-to-peer network, but not as part of a domain-based network.

  • Professional: Designed for business users with domain networks.

  • Enterprise: The complete version of Windows 7, which includes all the features of Windows 7 Professional and a few extra bells and whistles. This edition is available only to large businesses that have volume licenses with Microsoft.

  • Ultimate: The retail version of the Enterprise Edition. This version includes all of the features of Windows 7 Enterprise but can be purchased individually by home or small business users.

Windows 7 provides the following networking features:

  • Built-in file and printer sharing allows you to share files and printers with other network users.

  • A Network Setup Wizard automatically sets the most common configuration options. The wizard eliminates the need to work through multiple Properties dialog boxes to configure network settings.

  • An Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) feature allows a Windows computer to share an Internet connection with other users. The ICS feature includes firewall features that protect your network from unauthorized access via the Internet connection.

  • A built-in firewall protects the computer when it’s connected to the Internet.

  • Simple user account management lets you create multiple users and assign passwords.

  • Built-in support for wireless networking makes connecting to a wireless network a breeze.

  • Advanced network diagnostics and troubleshooting tools help you find and correct networking problems.