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#1 File and Print Sharing Service
Install the “File and Print sharing service” on each machine. Nothing need be shared but the service must be running for the machine to show up in the Neighborhood.
File and print sharing must be bound to a communication protocol. My recommendation is to use TCP/IP for everything. If you want to use NetBEUI for sharing go to Network setting for each adapter and unbind TCP/IP. By default Windows binds each adapter to all protocols.
Security Tip - If your system includes an interface connected directly to the Internet such as a dialup, Cable, or DSL modem unbind file and print sharing service from that interface. Failure to do so results in sharing your system with millions of your best friends on the Internet.
#3 Workgroup name
Network neighborhood is organized by workgroup. You can have as many workgroups as desired. In a small LAN it makes sense to use a single name, such as HomeLAN, because each workgroup requires its own Browse Master.
#4 Browse Master
Ideally the Browse Master runs on an always computer. This is the reason to use the same workgroup name for all machines. Browse Master is selected in an election process during power up. If you have a PC that is always on go into File and Print sharing properties and change Browse Master from Automatic to Enabled. This forces that Browse Master to win the election.
If you don't have a machine that is always on it may take a few minutes for the neighborhood to appear after power up. The neighborhood will disappear for a while when the host running the Browse Master is shutdown until the lack of a Browse Master is noticed and a new election held.
If network logon (in network properties) is set for Client for Microsoft Networks you must enter a password at boot time for the Neighborhood to be accessible. If you bypass the password most communication continue to function but you will not be able to browse the neighborhood. If you do no want to enter a password at boot time select Windows Logon. You may have to delete any existing passwords. Search for *.pwd files and delete them.
#6 Enabling Shares
On a machine running the file and print sharing service pick the subdirectory to share and check sharing. That directory and all subdirectories will be shared. In a peer-to-peer network shares can be password protected to control access.
#7 User Account
Some versions of Windows need user account in order to share files.
If you are running a software firewall on the PC be sure it does not block NetBIOS ports used to discover local host names and share files.
As mentioned in step 2, these ports are used on the LAN but should not be accessible on the Internet.
Security Tip - In general it is a good idea not to share files unless necessary. Some of the most damaging Viruses search for file shares and destroy them.
Windows Configuration Tip – There appears to be a compatibility problem between Win2000 and Win98/ME network neighborhood. We had trouble getting a Win 98 laptop to show up in a network of Win 2000 machines. The solution to was to create separate workgroup for Win 2000 and Win98 machines. The laptop was put in a workgroup by itself and the laptop Browse Master was enabled.