Networking computers running different versions of Windows

August 7, 2009

Earlier this week I reported that I was unable to get my Windows 7 machine to recognize the XP machines in our network and vice versa………well I was finally able to do it!  YIPEE!

Basically, it’s like this:

  • On the Windows 7 machine (logged in as the computer Admin) I had to go into Control Panel -> Security & System -> System window.  In the computer name, domain, workgroup settings section there is a button named Change Settings – click on that button and follow the prompts on the screens to where it asks you for your WorkGroup name. Enter the name of your current workgroup.  You will need to reboot your computer in order for the changes to take effect.
  • On the XP Machine -> My Network Places window -> click Add a network place.  Click Next on the Welcome to the Add Network Place Wizard window, click the Choose another network location option and click Next.  Click the Browse button -> Entire Network option -> find your workgroup name and double-click on it  (mine was under the Microsoft Windows Network BUT YOURS MAY HAVE BEEN SET UP DIFFERENTLY) so you can see the names of all the computers in your network.  Select the name of the Windows 7 machine and JUST BE PATIENT as it takes a few minutes for it to “think” (you’ll see the hourglass).  The “Users” folder on the Windows 7 machine should appear, click on it and click the OK button.
  • If this works correctly you’ll be asked for a user name and password – I entered the Windows 7 Administrator user name and password.  Again there will be a delay while XP “thinks” about all this; but once it’s through thinking the Windows 7 machine showed up in the My Network Places window.
  • My laptop, which runs Vista business automatically found the Windows 7 machine when I clicked on Start -> Network, and I can access the Windows 7 machine from Vista without an issue.

Whew!!!  I made some progress today and it was POSITIVE progress 🙂  so now I’m quitting while I’m ahead!

For those of you that are “more technical” you can download a .pdf of the instructions that I found in the Windows 7 Help from the Technical Support Area of our main website, by clicking here.

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