In previous versions of Windows, the Network link was prominently displayed right in the Start menu, providing you with a quick way to access resources on your home network. In Windows 7, Network does not appear on the Start menu by default. You can enable it via Taskbar and Start Menu Properties if you think you’re going to use it a lot (as we do), or you can simply enter network in Start Menu Search and choose the Network entry from the search results list that appears.
Either way, when you do so you’ll see the Network Explorer. Compared to the My Network Places view in Windows XP, the Network Explorer is quite an improvement. (It’s very similar to Network Explorer in Windows Vista, however.)
From the Network Explorer, you gain access to the following:
• Discovered computers: These are computers on the local network that offer folder and printer shares. You should be able to connect to any PCs on a Home or Work network, but only the local PC on a Public network. If you double-click on a discovered computer, you’ll see a list of the folder and printer shares available on that system, assuming you have the correct access privileges.
• Media devices: This includes digital media–oriented hardware devices, such as Xbox 360 video game consoles, Media Center Extenders, and other digital media receivers, as well as any shared media libraries on Windows-based PCs. Each of these items behaves a bit differently. For example, if you click a shared media library, Windows Media Player 11 will load and display the shared library. Doubleclick a Media Center Extender and Windows Media Center will launch, enabling you to configure connectivity between the two. And if you double-click an Xbox 360 or other digital media receiver, Windows Media Player will launch and present its Media Sharing interface so you can configure sharing with that device.
• Network infrastructure: Your broadband router will show up here as long as it’s compatible with modern networking technologies such as Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). Double-clicking this icon usually loads the device’s Web-based management console, which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
• Other devices: When Network Explorer detects other network devices but can’t correctly identify them, it places them in the Other Devices category and provides a generic icon. Windows Home Server causes such an icon to appear, for example. Double-clicking one of these icons triggers a UPnP event which, in the case of Windows Home Server, launches IE and displays the server’s Webbased welcome page.
Source of Information : Wiley Windows 7 Secrets
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