Thursday, 9 July 2015

Finding a Computer on Your Network

The Windows workgroup concept has been around for a long time. While it may not seem very relevant to modern operating systems such as Windows 7 or 8, learning to use them can simplify home networking and the sharing of files.

What exactly is a workgroup?
A workgroup is a collection of computers that exist together on one network as equals, without controlling one another. When you place a computer in a workgroup, Windows automatically makes sure that all of them detect one another. Printers, resources, files and folders are easily shared.

A workgroup can only include computers that are on the same local network, in the same physical location, of the kind that you might find in a home or small business. To make sure that workgroups aren't used for anything large and complicated, Windows limits them to 20 computers. These computers don't need to be the same operating system, though. They can be different kinds -- OS X, Windows, Linux or anything else.

Is your computer on a workgroup right now?
Every Windows computer is by default assigned to a workgroup called WORKGROUP . The fact that all Windows computers have the same default assignment ensures that computers on any network are automatically set up to easily share files and resources. To find out what workgroup your computer is assigned to, you only need to go to the System page (right-click on Computer and select Properties), and scroll down to the section named Computer name, domain and workgroup settings .
The Run dialog box is the easiest tool to use to look for computers on a network. If you are looking for a specific computer, you can find it by either its name or its IP address.

Computer names and IP addresses
Each computer on a workgroup needs to have both a unique name and IP address. The System page lists your computer's name. If your computer has the same name as another on the same network, you can use the Change settings tool to pick a different name.
Computers are also identified by their IP address (Internet protocol), a binary notation with eight or nine digits, separated by decimal points. The simplest way to find your computer's IP address is to simply go to Command Prompt (search for it in Windows Search ), type in the string ipconig , and hit Enter . You get your address under IPv4 Address .

Locating computers on your network
To find a computer, you simply need to press Win + R to open the Run dialog box, type in a double backslash (the protocol in Windows to indicate a directory path), follow it up with the name of the computer or its IP address, and hit Enter . If all goes well, you should right away see all the shared folders on that computer.

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