Moving forward to Windows Vista, the focus from a networking standpoint was to make things as simple as possible while keeping the system as secure and reliable as possible as well. At a low level, Microsoft rewrote the Windows networking stack from scratch in order to make it more scalable, improve performance, and provide a better foundation for future improvements and additions. Frankly, understanding the underpinnings of Vista’s networking technologies is nearly as important as understanding how your car converts gasoline into energy. All you really need to know is that things have improved dramatically under the hood.
Here are some of the major end-user improvements that Microsoft has made to Windows
• Network and Sharing Center: In previous versions of Windows, there wasn’t a single place to go to view, configure, and troubleshoot networking issues. Windows Vista changes that with the new Network and Sharing Center, which provides access to new and improved tools that take the guesswork out of networking.
• Seamless network connections: In Windows XP, unconnected wired and wireless network connections would leave ugly red icons in your system tray, and creating new connections was confusing and painful. In Vista, secure networks connect automatically and an improved Connect To option in the Start Menu provides an obvious jumping-off point for connecting to new networks.
• Network Explorer: The old My Network Places explorer from previous versions of Windows has been replaced and upgraded significantly with the new Network Explorer. This handy interface now supports access to all of the computers, devices, and printers found on your connected networks, instead of just showing network shares, as XP did. You can even access network-connected media players, video game consoles, and other connected device types from this interface.
• Network Map: If you are in an environment with multiple networks and network types, it can be confusing to know how your PC is connected to the Internet and other devices, an issue that is particularly important to understand when troubleshooting. Vista’s new Network Map details these connections in a friendly graphical way, eliminating guesswork.
• Network Setup Wizard: If you’re unsure how to create even the simplest of home networks, fear not: Windows Vista’s improved Network Setup Wizard makes it easier than ever thanks to integration with Windows Rally (formerly Windows Connect Now) technologies, which can be used to autoconfigure network settings on PCs and compatible devices. This wizard also makes it easy to configure folder sharing (for sharing documents, music, photos, and other files between PCs) and printer sharing.
• Folder and printer sharing: The model for manually sharing folders between PCs has changed dramatically in Windows Vista, but Microsoft has intriguingly retained an alternate interface that will be familiar to those who are adept at setting up sharing on XP-based machines. I’ll show you why this type of folder sharing is, in fact, easier to set up than Vista’s new method. Printer sharing, meanwhile, works mostly like it did in XP.
Source of Information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition
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