Network Connection Configuration: Windows Vista - dummies

Network Connection Configuration: Windows Vista

By Doug Lowe

The procedure for configuring a network connection on Windows Vista is similar to the procedure for Windows XP, except that Microsoft decided to bury the configuration dialog boxes a little deeper in the bowels of Windows.

To find the settings you need, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Start→Control Panel.

  2. Choose View Network Status and Tasks under the Network and Internet heading.

    This step opens the Network and Sharing Center.


  3. Click Manage Network Connections.

    The Network Connections folder appears.


  4. Right-click the connection that you want to configure and then choose Properties from the contextual menu that appears.

    The Properties dialog box for the network connection appears.


  5. Click Configure to configure the network connection.

    This action summons the Properties dialog box for the network adapter. This dialog box has five tabs that let you configure the NIC:

    • General: This tab shows basic information about the NIC, such as the device type and status. For example, the device shown is an Intel Pro 100 network interface.

    • Advanced: From this tab, you can set a variety of device-specific parameters that affect the operation of the NIC. In most cases, you should leave the options on this tab alone.

    • Driver: This tab displays information about the device driver that’s bound to the NIC and lets you update the driver to a newer version, roll back the driver to a previously working version, or uninstall the driver.

    • Resources: From this tab, you can use manual settings to limit the system resources used by the card. In most cases, you can leave the settings on this tab alone.

      In the old days, before Plug and Play cards, you had to configure these settings whenever you installed a card, and it was easy to create resource conflicts. Windows configures these settings automatically so that you should rarely need to fiddle with them.

    • Power Management: From this tab, you set power-management options. You can specify that the network card be shut down whenever the computer goes into sleep mode and that the computer wake up periodically to refresh its network state.


    When you click OK to dismiss the network adapter’s Properties dialog box, the network connection’s Properties dialog box closes. Select the Change Settings of This Connection option again to continue the procedure.

  6. Click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and then click Properties to display the TCP/IP Properties dialog box. Adjust the settings and then click OK.

    The TCP/IP Properties dialog box lets you choose among these options:

    • Obtain an IP Address Automatically: Choose this option if your network has a DHCP server that assigns IP addresses automatically. Choosing this option dramatically simplifies administering TCP/IP on your network.

    • Use the Following IP Address: If your computer must have a specific IP address, choose this option and then type the computer’s IP address, subnet mask, and default gateway address.

    • Obtain DNS Server Address Automatically: The DHCP server can also provide the address of the Domain Name System (DNS) server that the computer should use. Choose this option if your network has a DHCP server.

    • Use the Following DNS Server Addresses: Choose this option if a DNS server isn’t available. Then type the IP addresses of the primary and secondary DNS servers.