XP Networking Tutorials

Windows Vista has several improvements in networking. It has a new network discovery service that automatically discover supporting network. In this tutorial we will explain how this service can discover Windows XP workgroup network. Later we will join workgroup network from windows vista.

This is the third article of our tutorial series on How to setup a workgroup network. In first article we did necessary settings in windows XP system for workgroup.


In second article we setup a workgroup on Windows XP system.


In this article we will connect Windows Vista with this workgroup.

How to Connect a Windows Vista Computer and a Windows XP

We need to update computer name and workgroup name in Windows Vista before it can join workgroup.

Computer Name: -
Computer name is a unique identity of system in workgroup network. This is how you find a computer in network. Having same name on two or more computers will make it hard to distinguish between them in network. It must be different on all member computers.

Workgroup Name: -
Workgroup name a group identity of computer. Computers having same workgroup name belong to same workgroup. It must be same on all member computers.

Select My Computer and do right click. From right click context menu click properties

vista my computer right click context menu

Click Change settings

vista change system properties

Switch to Computer Name tab and click Change

vista system properties computer name tab

Update computer name and workgroup name. Use unique computer name for this system. This computer is going to join an existing workgroup. And we know that workgroup name must be same on all member computers. Get workgroup name from any member computer and update the same workgroup name in Workgroup field. In our example workgroup name of existing workgroup is SOFTWARE.

After updating computer name and workgroup name click OK.

vista computer name change

Computer name and workgroup name are configured during the startup. So windows will prompt for reboot to apply the change. Click OK

vista restart message

We have used network setup wizard in Windows XP to join the workgroup. In Windows Vista network setup wizard is replaced by network discovery service.

After reboot select Network icon and do right click. From right click context menu click Properties

vista network right click menu

Turn on Network Discovery, File sharing, public folder, printer sharing and media sharing. To secure sharing Vista includes Password protected sharing. This is good option if we have all computers running vista or higher version. But in our network we have lower version that do not support password protected sharing. So turn it off.

vista network discovery service on

That's all setting we need in Vista. Network discovery service automatically discovers same workgroup computers. You can access them in network.

Open My Computer and click Network from left pane

vista access network computer

We have successfully setup our workgroup network. In next articles we will share files and folders in this workgroup.