Windows XP Tutorials

This tutorial explains how to set up and join a Workgroup Network in Windows XP step by step with practical examples using Network Setup Wizard.

Sharing was a tough task before Windows XP. Windows XP includes several features that make sharing easier. Among these features, workgroup feature is specially developed for home network. Workgroup is the group of computers those are setup for easy sharing. In this tutorial we will learn how to setup a workgroup in home network.

This tutorial is the second part of our article “Learn how to setup Windows XP workgroup network step by step”. You can read other part of this article here.

This tutorial is the first part of this article. It explains essential workgroup settings in detail with examples.

Windows XP Workgroup Essential Settings

This tutorial is the third part of this article. It explains how to connect a Windows Vista system with Windows XP workgroup network.

How to join workgroup in Windows Vista

How to configure workgroup in Windows XP

To explain workgroup networking concept in detail with practical example, this tutorial uses a lab of four computers. In three systems Windows XP is installed and in last system Windows Vista is installed.

To create a new workgroup or join an existing one following settings are required: -

Computer Name: -

Computer name is the unique identity of a system in workgroup network. It must be different on all computers in workgroup. Having same name on two or more computers will make it hard to distinguish between them in network.

Workgroup Name: -

Workgroup name is the group identity of a computer. Computers having same workgroup name belongs to same workgroup. It must be same on all computers in workgroup.

NIC Settings: -

Network Interface Card is the device that connects computer with network. It must be installed properly. You can use the Device Manager and My Network Place to check the NIC configuration.

Windows Firewall: -

Windows firewall protects system from unauthorized access. It must be either properly configured to allow workgroup traffic or turned off.

For this article, I assume that all these settings are properly configured in Windows XP systems.

I have already explained these settings in detail with examples in previous part of this tutorial. You can read it here.

Windows XP workgroup settings

Setting up a workgroup network in Windows XP

As I stated in the starting of this tutorial, Windows XP have several nice features that make sharing easier. Network setup wizard is another gem in this series. It automatically setup workgroup based on supplied information. It also shares attached printer and active internet connection.

Access My Network Place and click Set up a home or small office network available in left pane.

Set up a home or small office network

Welcome window of wizard tells what exactly it does. Click Next

xp network setup wizard welcome

Wizard has a check list for us before it begins the setup process. We have already gone through these steps.

Turn on attached printer and connect with internet and click Next

xp network setup wizard before you start

A computer in workgroup can access internet in two ways.

Direct access: - Computer is directly connected with the internet.

xp network setup wizard direct connect internet

Shared access: - Computer is connected with the internet via other computer of network.

xp network setup wizard indirect internet connection

Select first option, if computer is directly connected with internet. Select second option, if computer is not connected with internet directly. Select third option (Other), if we don’t know how computer is connected with internet.

xp network setup wizard internet connection type

Select Turn on file and printer sharing and click Next

xp network setup wizard turn on file sharing

If require, update computer name and description and click Next

xp network setup wizard computer name

Default workgroup name is MSHOME. Change it with the workgroup name which we have selected for our workgroup and click Next.

xp network setup wizard workgroup name

In next screen, wizard presents a summary of what we have selected so far. If any change is require, use back button to update the selection otherwise click Next button to apply the selection.

xp network setup wizard summary

Now just relax for few minutes and let the wizard do its job

xp network setup wizard setting up

Once wizard is finished with necessary settings on this computer, it would ask, how we want to run it on other computers of network. We will run this wizard separately on each computer. Select last option and click Next.

xp network wizard just finish

Click Finish to close the wizard.

xp network setup wizard finish

Some system settings such as computer name and workgroup name require a reboot. If we have changed any system setting, windows may prompt us to restart the system.

Click Yes to restart the system.

restart xp message

How to join workgroup in Windows XP

We have three Windows XP systems in our workgroup network. We have setup a new workgroup on one Windows XP system. Remaining two systems will join this workgroup.

Use following steps on both computers

  • Do necessary workgroup settings such as computer name, workgroup name, NIC settings and window firewall.
  • Run Set up a home or small office network wizard
  • Select shared access for internet connection type
  • Restart the system.

Above steps are exactly same which we have performed in this tutorial. In workgroup it does not matter on which computer we first run the Network set up wizard. All that matter is we have to run this wizard on all computers.

That’s all for this tutorial. In next tutorial, we will learn how to join Windows Vista in this workgroup.