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    Basic Network Troubleshooting - Win95/98

You just installed a NIC, (Network Interface Card), into two computers, plugged them into each other with a cable...   but, you cannot make the network function.

Frustrating?   YOU BET!!!

So, let me walk you through the basic things to check, there are only five you need to be concerned with to make a simple network:

  • Network Card Driver
  • Workgroup
  • Drivers
  • File and Print Sharing
  • Drive Sharing

Network Card Driver:
The NICs must be installed in Windows with the proper driver.  Just because Windows loaded a driver from it's data base does not mean it is right.  Always use the driver provided by the manufacturer.

The NICS usually will not work if Windows has assigned an IRQ other than 10 or 11.  This is not a hard and fast rule, many newer cards will allow Windows to assign just any old IRQ, but if your network does not work, this can be the problem.

Both PCs must have the same WORK GROUP.  This is the designation for your Network and they must match

Now, in this case it is "ONE."  Each PC on your network must have the same listing for Workgroup.  Goto the "Network Neighborhood" icon on your desktop and right click your mouse.  Then click on "properties."  This will give you the above window.  Just click on the "Identification" tab at the top to check the settings.  The computer name and description must be different for each PC and it does not matter what you call them.

Drivers required for a Network:
This may be the most confusing issue for most people new to networking and even a great many people who have been using a network now.   You only need two drivers for a basic network installed on each PC:

  • Network card driver
  • Microsoft NETBEUI driver

In this example, you see the drivers by clicking on the "Configuration" tab in the same Window discussed above.  You see a NIC driver for the system's 3Com NIC and you see a MS NETBEUI driver.  The third driver, client for Microsoft Networks is not necessary although many people leave it in or install it. If you need to add drivers, just click on the "ADD" button and follow the steps.  The "Netbeui" driver is a PROTOCOL driver, listed under Microsoft.  You do not need to change any settings inside of these drivers, as they will work fine "as-is."

File and Print Sharing:
In this area, you must have the "File Sharing" box checked on at least one PC, the PC from which you wish to read and write data to the hard drive.  Typically, on a home network you will just check this box on both PCs, so both can read the hard drive on the other.  

Drive Sharing:
This is an often forgotten issue.  You MUST set at least one hard drive on the PC you wish to access to be "Shared."   Even with all the other settings above, if there is nothing shared on the system you are attempting to access across your network, it will not see the PC.

Double Click on your "My Computer" icon on the desktop.  Then, right click your mouse on the "C" drive, clicking on the 'Sharing' option.  You will then see this window:

Note two things here: The drive has "Shared As" checked with a Share Name for the "C" drive, in this case:  C   and the "Access Type" has been set to FULL.  Typically, for a first time Network just use these settings.  Setting passwords and other special items will come when your understanding grows.

Now, if you have all of the above set properly and your network does not allow you to read the hard drive of another PC across your network, you should be safe in considering you have a hardware issue.









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