How to Connect Computers to a Network

Networking computers is a complex process with a variety of options, each dictating use of specific hardware, cabling and software. When connecting to an existing network, your network administrator should be able to tell you how to connect. These steps are for a Windows-based computer.

Things You'll Need

  • 10/100 Or 100 Mbps PCI Ethernet Cards
  • Crossover Cables
  1. Set Up File Sharing

    • 1

      Double-click on My Computer.

    • 2

      Right-click on icons of drives to be shared by network users.

    • 3

      Click Properties.

    • 4

      Click Share As. Enter the appropriate information.

    Learn What Hardware Is Needed

    • 1

      Do your homework on the Internet for a basic understanding of the technology. A good place to start is a major search engine like Google or Yahoo!.

    • 2

      Purchase the required hardware and cabling for the type of network you want to use. If the network doesn't yet exist, decide on a network type: for a client/server network, you need a hub to connect the computer to; for a peer-to-peer network, you just need a cable. Then choose the data-transfer protocol (typically Ethernet) for the network you select.

    Install Hardware

    • 1

      Install a network interface card (NIC), if your computer or other network devices don't already have them.

    • 2

      Install the "T" (normally supplied with the card) onto the back of the connector on the card.

    • 3

      Attach the network cable to one connector on the "T."

    • 4

      Attach a 50-ohm terminator to the other end if necessary.

    • 5

      Connect the cable to another computer's network card, for a peer-to-peer network; to a network connector or switch, if the network is already set up in a building; or to a hub, for a client/server network.

    • 6

      Restart the computer.

    • 7

      Install the network driver for the network card you installed.

    • 8

      Name the new computer to be networked. Enter a user name and password when prompted. Use information provided by your network administrator, if any, or create your own.

    • 9

      Check to make sure the system is working.

    • 10

      Enable sharing if you wish to share data with other computers on the network (see steps below).

Tips & Warnings

  • Decide what you want to use the network for, then choose the type of network that best fits those needs. If a peer-to-peer network provides all the capabilities you need, don't install a client/server network.
  • A peer-to-peer network is the easiest kind to set up.
  • Kits with a hub, two Ethernet cards, and cable are available.
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