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Viewing Client Computer Network Settings

By default, Windows Vista and Windows XP clients are configured for the TCP/IP protocol. These clients are configured to use DHCP to receive their IP addressing and other TCP/IP protocol settings (also by default).

Windows Vista is enabled for both IPv4 and IPv6. And because we are living in a TCP/IP world when it comes to networking, the only network settings that you may need to edit are related to the TCP/IP protocol. For example, you may want to configure a client computer with a fixed IP address or specify the default DNS server for your clients (although this can be configured as part of the parameters received from the DHCP server).

Although TCP/IP is the default (and de facto) network protocol for networking, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to run multiple network protocols on a client computer. You may need to add a network client or service that allows the client computer to connect to a specialized third-party server. Typically these third-party products provide a CD (or a downloadable set of files) with the appropriate client or service and you can add these additional clients, protocols, or services via the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box.

A basic fact related to network protocols is that multiple network protocols can be bound to a single network adapter (connection). This means that if you do have the need to run another network protocol (other than the default TCP/IP), you can configure the protocol on the computer’s network connection.

You may also want to disable File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks (if it has been enabled). Allowing users to share files and printers at will, using this non–password-protected scheme, can lead to possible security problems.

All the various flavors of Windows clients such as Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 handle the network connection configuration in a similar fashion. Network clients, protocols, and services are installed and configured in a Properties dialog box for the local area network connection.

For example, to open the Windows Vista Local Area Connection Properties dialog box, you would follow these steps:

1. Select Start, and then right-click Network. Select Properties from the shortcut menu that appears. The Network and Sharing Center opens (see Figure 10.11).

Figure 10.11. The Windows Vista Network and Sharing Center.

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2. In the Tasks pane of the Network and Sharing Center, click the Manage Network Connections task. The Network Connection window opens.

3. To open the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box, right-click a Local Area Connection and then select Properties on the shortcut menu.

Figure 10.12 shows the Windows Vista Local Area Connection Properties dialog box.

Figure 10.12. The Windows Vista Local Area Connection Properties dialog box.

You can open the properties of any of the items listed in the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box and configure them. You can also disable features (deselect a check box) and install other features as needed. We looked at issues related to TCP/IP settings for both servers and clients in a Windows domain in Hour 7.

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