How to Create a Home or Office Intranet!

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Create your own Home or Office Intranet in a few minutes!
Create your own Home or Office Intranet in a few minutes!

Do you have 2 or more computers at home? Do you have an office where the same documents are needed over and over? Whether you have multiple computers at home or the office you hate the time it takes to find files and then share them with the people that need them. Well, you can fix all those problems with a simple Home or Office Intranet. Which provides an organized way to share all those files, images, and memo's without changing your entire file structure all within an hour.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Windows XP Pro or higher
  • Administrator access
  • MS Word or other application for HTML
  • Desire to learn and have fun!

Decide what will be on the Intranet. If your at home maybe you will put links to your favorite sites, to articles your writing, to family pictures, or create a web page for the kids to use. I know your thinking I don't know how to that, it's easy you'll see.

If your creating an Intranet for the office put links to any instructions or processes you have. Focus on those areas that everyone keeps asking you for help with; like links to resources on the web, a single page company newsletter, links to expense reports, vacation requests, and anything else. Remember the goal is to make it easier for you and your staff to find things without revamping your entire file system. See Resources for link to Microsoft article on how to design an Office Intranet.

Install Internet Information Services (IIS). This can only be done on Professional or higher versions of Windows 2000, XP & Vista. You must have administrator privileges, which you have if you haven't configured any Windows security on the computer. I know it sounds really complex, but all you have to do is put your Windows XP Operating System CD into your CD-ROM drive. Go to the Start menu, click Control Panel, and then click Add/Remove Programs. Then Select Add/Remove Windows Components, select the Internet Information Services (IIS) component, and then follow the on-screen instructions. See below for a link to Microsoft's Instructions.

It's Easy to Install IIS (Internet Information Services)!
It's Easy to Install IIS (Internet Information Services)!

Access IIS. By default IIS installs a "website" which has instructions on how to configure IIS. For our purposes we are going to replace this with our Home or Office Intranet. The IIS console can be found in Settings > Control Panel > Performance & Maintenance > Administration Tools or switch to Classic View. Double-click on the 'Internet Information Services' icon.

Intranet IIS is located in Control Panel!
Intranet IIS is located in Control Panel!

Change Web Site name to Intranet. When you double click on the IIS icon you'll see the menu below. Right Click on the "Default Web Site" icon and select Rename. Rename the Web Page to "Intranet".

Rename Default Web Site to Intranet!
Rename Default Web Site to Intranet!

Create at least one web page by creating a table first. The steps are based on the Intranet seen above. Open MS Word or any other html creation application program. Create a table with at least 8 rows and 2 columns (Table > Insert > Table and modify rows & columns). After you create the table shade the top 2 rows, and first column with whatever color you prefer (Highlight Row > Borders & Shadings > Shading Tab > "Select color"). Highlight the first row and merge cells (highlight row right click > Merge Cells) Then change font to a color that will show and type in Title on first row. On second row type what will be your menu names for example Home, Resources, etc. You may need to "split cells" to separate each Menu option (highlight row > Right Click > Split Cells > "change to the number you want"). Follow same steps for first column rows 3-8 if you want a sidebar. You may want to adjust the cell width by holding the mouse cursor over the column lines > Right Click > "drag the column to the size you want".

Example of what your Intranet could look like if you only take 5 minutes!
Example of what your Intranet could look like if you only take 5 minutes!

Create links for your new web page. To create hyperlinks for each menu item or for the sidebar just highlight the word(s) > Right Click > Hyperlink. If you want this to go to a web site paste the address in the address section. If you want to link to another web page on your intranet then put in the address of the page and name. By default the web directory is located at C:\Inetpub\wwwroot so if you haven't created pages yet just put this location and makeup a name for the page like My-resources.htm you do need to have the ".htm" file extension.

Name your Web page. To name the web page you just finished go to File > Save As. In the "Save As Type" at the bottom change it to the ".htm" file extension and call your page "index.htm". You officially have a web page you can access by typing http://localhost in your web browser.

Make Web Site accessible to others - part 1. You can get to your web page, but no other computers will see it, yet. You need to let the computers "know" where the "intranet" web site is located. So on each computer go to C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc and Right Click > Open > "Select Notepad to open with". This may be blank except for "127.0.0.1 Localhost" or if you use Spybot or other programs may see other entries. Basically this tells your computer that if someone searches for Spybot they should use the 127.0.0.1 IP address.

Make Web Site accessible to others - part 2. We need to add in your computers IP Address which can be found by going to Start > Run > cmd > ipconfig. Type in your IP address "x.x.x.x" then hit tab key and type "intranet". Save the file as hosts check to ensure it does not add a file extension to the file if it does right click > Rename with no file extension just "hosts". Do this for each computer that you want to access the intranet.

To create more pages for your new Intranet I suggest highlighting and copying the original page and pasting on a new page in Word. Then just save it as a web page and make sure to link to it from the home page or another page so people can get to it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take your time doing this it will be worth it.
  • Of course you don't have to use Word if you have experience any web app will do.
  • You can only modify the web pages when the web site is stopped (right click web site > stop).
  • IIS is not installed by default so more than likely you will have to install it.
  • Word is not a great program for web pages, but in a pinch...
  • This is for bootstrapping an Intranet a real intranet can pay big dividends

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