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Using the Network and Sharing Center

The Performance Monitor can help you track real-time information related to a server’s network interface such as packets sent/second and current bandwidth. And the Reliability Monitor can help you quickly track events that may be related to a problem with a network interface (which you can then research using the Event Viewer), the quickest way to check a server’s network connection and network settings is to use the Network and Sharing Center.

To open the Network and Sharing Center, click Start and then Control Panel. In the Control Panel, click the View Network Status and Tasks link under the Network and Internet Group. The Network and Sharing Center window opens (see Figure 24.22).

Figure 24.22. The Network and Sharing Center.

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At the top of the Network and Sharing Center, a map of the server’s network connection is provided. In the case of Figure 24.22, the map shows that the server named Ender is connected to the spinach.com domain and also has a connection that provides access to the public Internet.

Did you Know?

To view the full map in the Network and Sharing Center, you must enable mapping on the local Group Policy (this can be done on a computer running Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista). Click Start and type MMC in the Start Search box. Click MMC in the Search Results and the MMC opens. Click File, and then Add/Remove Snap-ins. Select the Group Policy Object Editor and then click Add. The Group Policy Object Wizard opens; make sure that Local Computer appears in the Group Policy Object box and then click Finish. The GPO Editor for the Local Computer opens in the MMC. In the node tree, expand Administrative Templates and then Network, and then click the Link-Layer Topology Discovery node. In the Details pane, enable the Turn on Mapper I/O (LLTDIO) Driver policy and the Turn on Responder (RSPNDR) Driver policy (double-click the policies and then enable them in their Properties dialog boxes).

You can view a more complete map of the network by clicking the View Full Map link (see Figure 24.23). The number of devices shown on the map depends on how the network is configured and also depends on whether the mapping and responder drivers are configured on the computer’s network interface (see preceding Did You Know?).

Figure 24.23. You can view a more detailed map of the network.

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The Network and Sharing Center also provides quick access to the Sharing and Discovery settings for the server. You can use any of the toggle switches on the right to focus on the settings for a particular Sharing and Discovery item such as Network Discovery. Click the toggle switch again to view all the sharing and discovery settings.

More importantly, the Network and Sharing Center provides quick access to your network adapter settings and also provides a quick fix tool when you are experiencing connectivity problems. For example, if you see a red X through any of the connections on the network map, you can click the Diagnose and Repair task. Windows Server 2008 attempts to remedy any connectivity problems automatically.

To access the server’s network connections, click the Manage Network Connections task. The Network Connections window opens, displaying the network adapters on the server (see Figure 24.24).

Figure 24.24. View network adapters on the server.

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To view the properties for an adapter, right-click the adapter and then select Properties. The Local Area Connections Properties dialog box for the adapter appears (see Figure 24.25).

Figure 24.25. Network adapter problems may be associated with protocol settings in the adapter’s Properties dialog box.

You can access the properties for any of the network protocols or other items in the adapter’s Properties dialog box; select an item and then click Properties. TCP/IP and IP addressing are discussed in detail in Hour 7, “Working with the TCP/IP Network Protocol.” Many connectivity problems can be associated with improper IP settings.

Although the Network and Sharing Center provides only a simple set of tools for dealing with network adapter issues, it is a good place to start when you are experiencing problems with server network connectivity. If Windows Server 2008 is unable to repair a problem network interface, your next step is to explore the adapter driver that is currently installed; this can be done using the Device Manager, which is discussed in Hour 3, “Configuring Windows Server 2008 Basic Settings.”

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