Hopefully this article will save even one person the pain I went though.
When networking two or more computers there are many options. Everything depends upon why you needed the network. Normally it is so that you can share specific programs. For Example: If you are running a Point of Sale system or store of any kind you will most likely need this sort of system.
Unless you are running a large network you will most likely be using Client-Server configurations. That is to say you will use one computer as a regular computer as well as a Server that will control the rest of your network.
If you are running computers that are all running XP or at least 32 bit operating systems you probably will be successful in getting them networked.
Here are the basic requirements for networking computers:
• You must have operating systems that are compatible.
• The program you want to use must be able to be networked. Check with the manufacturer if you are unsure.
• Check the system requirements for the programs you are running before you purchase a computer or operating system.
• You need to share the drive or program you want others to use
• On the client machine (Machine other than the server) you MUST map the drive for a program to work. Even if you can see it you still have to map it.
• NEW !! If you have a Windows 7 Pro server you MUST have a password for each account you create. It will not network if you don not.
• In Vista, Windows 7 as well as all network operating systems, you MUST set permissions to get access to needed areas of the server and to get the client computers to network.
• If you have a 64 BIT operating system you may need to get a 64 bit driver for any printers or other equipment attached to the computer or network.
Warning! If you do not have the sharing and permissions set it WILL NOT WORK !!
What if I have a 32 BIT operating system and I try to network to an older printer?
In some cases there will not be 64 bit drivers. If this is the case you may need to purchase a new printer. Another thing that "might" work is to download the 32 bit driver and install the printer on the client machine as if it was a local printer. The go into the properties and change the port to point to the networked printer. If this does not work you may still need to buy a new printer.
Why am I not able to find a compatible driver?
Some manufactures have decided to not support older equipment such as printer. What is worse is some have stopped support for Window 98 and ME. It is difficult (at best) for manufacturer to keep up with all the Operating system changes. This costs them money also.
If there are terminologies you do not understand in this article I recommend to find someone that does not understand them. This can be a very complex job.