Windows provides many different ways to share desktops, files, and printers. In this video, you’ll learn how to access these Windows resources across the network.
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There are many different ways that Windows can take advantage of the network. And in this video, we’ll look at some of these Windows Network technologies. Windows is very good at recognizing where you happen to be at any particular time. For a desktop computer, this is not usually an issue. Desktop computers don’t tend to travel from one network to another. But these days, our devices are very mobile. So it’s useful to have an operating system that can change the security of your system, depending on what network you’re connected to.
In Windows 7, there are three of these network profiles or network locations by default. The first one we’ll look at is the home network location. That means your computer is in a trusted area. And therefore, every other system in that network will be able to communicate without any restrictions to your device. The second is a work location.
This means that you can see other devices, but there are some capabilities of Windows that aren’t available. For example, the Homegroup functionality is not available if your network location is set to work. And the most restrictive network location is the public network location. For this location, Windows goes into full security mode and realizes that, since you are in a public airport location or coffee shop, it’s going to make your system completely invisible and block any external connections to your device.
These locations have been simplified a bit in Windows, 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. In these versions, you have two major profiles that you can choose from. The first is a private network, which allows you to perform sharing and connections to devices.
And the other is a public network, where no other device is able to use shares on your device or any other services that may be running on your mobile device. You can customize these network locations under Network and Internet Status under Change Connection Properties. This allows you to choose the profile, modify firewall and security settings for that profile, and customize it so it’s perfect for the location you happen to be in.
There may be times when you need to have someone provide you with assistance on your computer, or you may need to connect to someone else’s computer to share their desktop. There’s two different ways to accomplish this that are built into Windows. One of these methods is called remote assistance. This is commonly seen on the home editions of Windows. And this is designed for a one-time remote access.
For example, if you were having a problem, and you needed a third-party technician to look at your system for this single time, you would probably use remote assistance. This provides capabilities for not only remote access, but the person who’s connected can chat, they can run diagnostics, and they’re able to connect to your system, even though you’re behind a router that may be doing network address translation.
In a corporate or a professional environment, you may need to connect to anyone’s system at any time to provide some type of support. In those scenarios, it may be more appropriate to use remote desktop connection. This is available on all of the other editions of Windows, except for the home editions. And it provides for an ongoing access so that the technician can connect to your workstation at any time that they need. The authentication for remote desktop is integrated into the Windows authentication.
So instead of using a single use password, the person who’s logging into remote desktop would use their normal username and password on your system. If you’re using remote desktop on a network that’s behind a firewall, or you’re using this at home, you’ll need to configure the router or firewall to allow port forwarding for the remote desktop traffic.
On most of our home networks, we have direct access to the internet. When we connect to Google, our device is talking directly to the Google server. But in an enterprise, you may find that the organization prefers to have a proxy that sits between the users that are on the inside of the network and the web servers that are on the outside of the network.
To configure Windows to use this proxy, you need to start the Control Panels Internet Properties and look at the Connections tab. This allows you to change the LAN settings, which is where you would configure any settings for a proxy server. Here’s the internet properties applet inside of the Control Panel. And at the bottom of this window under the Connections tab is the option for LAN settings.
Inside these LAN settings, you have an option at the bottom of that window for proxy servers. And you can choose to use a proxy server for your LAN. There’s an Advanced tab that allows you to set detailed proxies for web traffic, secure web traffic, FTP, and SoCs traffic, or you can choose to use the same proxy server for all of those protocols.
There’s also an option at the bottom for exceptions where you can choose to not use a proxy server for certain destination IP addresses. Some proxies tend to break certain applications. So instead of using the proxy for those applications, you can put in the IP address to circumvent the proxy for just those IPs.
In Windows, of course, you can share information between systems. And you’re able to setup a folder and either connect to that folder that’s on another computer or have other computers connect to a folder that’s on your computer. You can do this using the Windows Explorer where you would assign or map a drive letter to a remote share.
You can also choose to automatically reconnect the share every time you start your computer. If you name a share on your computer and use a dollar sign at the end of the share name, that share becomes hidden. This means that it won’t be listed to other people that are on the network, but if they do happen to know the share name, they are still able to attempt a connection to that share. This is really intended to be more of an organizational or user interface feature and not a security feature, since people are still able to connect to the share if they know the share name.
If you’d like to see the shares that are configured on your computer, you can go to the Control Panel under Administrative Tools and choose Computer Management. Inside of Computer Management, you could choose to look at the Shared Folders. And under the Shares options, you can list out all the share names, their folder path, and how many people may be connected to that share at any time.
If you’d like to connect to a remote share, you can do this from Windows Explorer. You would go to This PC and choose the option to Map a Network Drive. This would then bring up this dialog box, which then asks which drive letter you’d like to use to reference this share once you make the connection.
And then you need to specify where this share is located. You would first put two backslashes and the name of the server or device and then a single backslash and the name of the share. You can also choose to reconnect that share when you sign in, or connect using different credentials than you’ve used on your local computer.
If you’d like to connect to the share from the command line rather than using the graphical interface, you can use the net use command. Use net use, the drive letter, and then your double backslash with the server name and the single backslash with the name of the share.
Just as you share files across the network, you can also share printers across the network. If you have a locally connected printer, and you’d like other people to be able to connect to your printer, you can look at the printer properties under the Sharing tab and share this printer on the network with a particular share name. If someone else on the network has a printer that they’d like to make available to you, you can add a printer from Windows Explorer. This will bring up a printer dialog box.
And you can choose to add a local printer, or in our case, add a network printer. When you choose Add a Network, it will search for all of the available printers on your network. And then you can specify that from that list. If the printer you need is not in that list, you can specify the name of the printer by clicking The Printer That I Want Isn’t Listed.
After selecting a printer from the list or adding one manually, that printer now becomes available in your list of available printers. And any print jobs you send to that printer will automatically be sent across the network to that printer.