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These days computing's all about being connected, and if you're on a Windows PC, you're likely connected to the Internet using a modem of some kind. You might be on a network at home or at the office, even on the road using a tablet or smartphone. It's all about being connected and having access to the information you need when you need it. So, in this chapter, we're gong to talk about getting connected, beginning with a look at your network connections here from the start screen. Windows really does a great job of recognizing connections and setting them up for you.
For example, my computer is plugged into a modem connected to the Internet. I didn't have to do any setup. I install Windows 8.1, it was recognized and connected for me, and I was ready to go. But I can take a look at those connections and make adjustments if I need to. Let's do that from the start screen. We'll just start to type in the word, network, NET. And over here in the search pane you'll notice, we can connect to a network manually if we needed to, or just view our network connection settings and maybe adjust a couple of things. Let's go there.
This takes us to our PC settings and directly to the network category with Connections highlighted. You'll see your current connection, if you have one. Mine is just defaulted to network and you can see the status here is connected. All of that was done for me. I didn't do any of the work. But we can click this to get some information. There's the properties for our network. So if we needed to provide that to a support person, for example, maybe it's IT, or your ISP, your internet service provider.
Also up here, you'll notice a slider that we can turn on to find any other PCs, devices and content that might also be on this same network. So, for example, if you're at work or at home where multiple computers are on a network, and there's a printer connected to that network, you might want to be able to use it from this computer. Turn this on, and automatically Windows 8.1 is going to find those devices. I'm going to leave that turned on. We'll need it turned on later on when we talk about home groups as well.
Let's go back, and in fact, let's press the Windows key on our keyboard to go back to the start screen and type in NET one more time. Remember, we could also connect to a network from here. Clicking connect to a network will show us our current connections and networks that we might not be connected to, and we can select and connect to where you would be provided with the information you need to connect. But as you can see, there's only one here for me, I'm already connected, there's nothing to do here, so I'm just going to click in the background of my start screen.
Now, we can also get to all of our network connections and information in the old desktop environment, like we always did. So let's go there. We'll click the Desktop tile. We'll go to our network connections, right from the Start button down below. We'll right-click to bring up the menu, and you'll see Network Connections right there. We could go through the control panel as well, but we have a nice shortcut to it. By clicking Network Connections, you'll see your current connections. And there's what it looks like here in the old desktop environment, my ethernet network. When you click it, options appear across the top now, so you could disable the network device if you wanted to, diagnose this connection, so if you're having problems you could potentially find what the issue is using this.
Rename the connection. Looks like I have a couple more that aren't fitting here. Clicking the double arrow, here we go. Maybe I want to view the status of this connection. Give it a click, and you can see, my connectivity, it's enabled. There's the speed. Everything seems to be working properly, and from here I can also diagnose if I was having issues, disable, and go into the properties for this network connection from here as well. I'm going to click Close, and I'm going to close this up as well, and return to my start screen with the Windows key, and we'll continue from here.
Another way to stay connected with other computers is to set up a Home Group. We'll talk about that next.
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