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Windows 95/98 Peer-to-Peer Connection Setup

Written by Steve Jenkins (webmaster@winfiles.com)

Sharing Over the 'Net
Using Windows 95 and an Internet connection, you can share network resources over the Internet almost exactly like you can over a LAN.

What You Need to Get Started:
First, make sure that your Internet connection to your provider runs well. Troubleshooting gets messy unless you know what works and what doesn't. To set up your Windows 95 machine for Peer-to-Peer Internetworking, all you need is a Windows 95 machine with a functioning connection to your provider. You also need the Windows 95 Service Pack 1, available free from Microsoft by clicking here. The Service Pack fixes a potential security risk while using the default networking drivers.

Step 1: Verify that Client for Microsoft Networks is Installed
Go into your Control Panel, then double-click Network. You'll see the Network dialog box, which looks like this. If Client for Microsoft Networks is installed, go to the next step.

If Client for Microsoft Networks does not appear on the list, then press Add, then Client, then find the Client for Microsoft Networks option. Press OK and it will appear in the Networks dialog box.

Step 2: Verify that Sharing is Enabled
Go into your Control Panel, then double-click Network. You'll see the Network dialog box, which looks like this. If File and printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is installed, go to the next step.

Step 3: Configure File and Printer Sharing
Go into your Control Panel, then double-click Network. Press the File and Print Sharing button. You'll get a dialog box like this. Click one or both boxes, depending on if you'd like to share your files and/or printers.

Step 4: Set your Computer Name and Workgroup
Go into your Control Panel, then double-click Network. You'll see the Network dialog box, which looks like this. Click the Identification tab. The tab looks like this.

Fill in a name for your computer (this is the NetBIOS name). You can call it anything, and it is not case-sensitive. Fill in WORKGROUP for the Workgroup option.

Step 5: Set Access Control
Go into your Control Panel, then double-click Network. You'll see the Network dialog box, which looks like this. Click the Access Contol tab. The tab looks like this. Enable the Share-level access control, as shown in the picture.

Step 6: Configure WINS and LMHOSTS
To connect to and to share resources across the Internet, your computer has to be able to find other computers, and they have to be able to find you!

Computers use IP addresses for locating each other. They either have a permanently assigned (static) IP address, or they have a different (dynamic) IP address each time they connect to the network.

WINS and its companion, LMHOSTS, work together to locate remote computers. While WINS will suffice to locate both static and dynamic IP addresses, LMHOSTS is useful for locating static IP addresses that don't use WINS (if your computer cannot locate an IP address using WINS, it will automatically try LMHOSTS).

Regardless of how your computer receives its IP address, you can use a combination of the LMHOSTS and WINS to locate remote computers.

To configure WINS do the following:
Open up the Control Panel. Double click the Network icon select the TCP/IP option and press Properties. You'll see the TCP/IP properties tabs, which look like this.

Click on the WINS Configuration tab. It should look like this. Select the Enable WINS Resolution button, and the dialog box will let you enter the IP address(es) of your WINS server(s).

If you don't have a WINS server on your network, or you don't know what a WINS server is, put the number 128.205.1.31 in for the Primary, and use 128.205.250.24 as the Secondary WINS server. Your dialog box should now look something like this.

To configure LMHOSTS do the following:
Using a text editor, make a file in your Windows directory called LMHOSTS (with no file extension). This file contains the IP addresses and NetBIOS name of the machines you'll want to be able to reach. The format of the file is:

IP.Add.re.s.s ComputerName
For example, try putting the following line in your LMHOSTS file:
198.105.232.1 ftp
That is the IP address and NetBIOS name of Microsoft's NT FTP Server!

If you're trying to find your IP address and NetBIOS name for a friend to put in his/her LMHOSTS file, the easist way is to go to the Start menu and Run... NBTSTAT -N. This will run a DOS window and display your IP address at the top of the screen (something like 123.123.12.3) and will list your NetBIOS local name table. Your computer name is the first entry in the table.

Step 7: Verify Log On To Network Option
If you're using Dial-up Networking, go to your Dial-Up Networking Folder and select your dial-up connection icon. Press the right mouse button and choose Properties.... Now press the Server Type... button. You'll get the Server Types dialog box, which looks like this. Check the Log On To Network option. Also, make sure that the computer you wish to connect to has File And Printer Sharing For Microsoft Networks installed, and is sharing some resources (directories, drives, printers, etc.).

Step 8: Login and Connect
Dial-up and login to your regular Internet connection as you normally would. Then, go to any Explorer window or the My Computer window. Click the Map Network Drive button. You'll see a dialog box pop up and show you your first available drive letter, like this. On the Path: line, enter the information for the computer you want to log on to, using the \\ComputerName\SharedResourceName format.

If you only know the \\ComputerName, you can still connect. Just make sure the Network Neighborhood icon is present on your desktop, press the Start button, then select Run..., and type in the \\ComputerName. You'll get a dialog box with all the shared resources available on the remote computer. Or, to just connect to a drive on an NT machine, run the \\ComputerName\driveletter$. Make sure the dollar sign follows the drive letter!

If you don't happen to know the names of some shared resources out on the Net, go to the Start menu and Run... the following:

\\winserve.001\guest
This will connect you to Winserve's publicly available share on the Internet. Try some of these other share names, too:

\\winserve.001\guest\winhq (The WINHQ Public Share)
\\winserve95\guest  	   (Winserve's Experimental Windows 95 shared drive)
\\clyde\infoserver  	   (EMWACS NT Share)
\\discord\public	   (Shared systems site by A. Weintraub)
If you're trying to find your NetBIOS name for a friend to connect to using WINS, the easist way is to go to the Start menu and Run... NBTSTAT -N. This will run a DOS window and display your IP address at the top of the screen (something like 123.123.12.3) and will list your NetBIOS local name table. Your computer name is the first entry in the table. Note: You CANNOT run your own computer name. You will get an extended error message.

Mapping Remote Drives
To make a remote drive appear local to your system, you can map it. Select My Computer on the desktop and press the right mouse button. Select the Map Network Drive option. You'll receive a dialog box that lets you choose which drive letter to assign and a text box for the UNC address of the remote resource. If you select the Reconnect at logon option, Windows 95 will attempt to re-establish a connection and assign the same drive letter to this resource the next time you logon.

Press OK and the connection will be made. The drive is now accessible by any DOS or Windows application! To disconnect from the mapped drive, simply choose Disconnect Network Drive when you right-click on My Computer.

Security Issues
Remember, please download the Windows 95 Service Pack 1. This will prevent possible security risks that have been discovered with this type of networking.

Once you've got peer-to-peer connections running, try sharing some of your own stuff! You can share a CD-ROM drive, printer, directory, entire hard drive... just make sure that you protect your sensitive data and only allow full access to people you know and trust!

If you do plan on sharing any of your resources, make sure you password protect them according to the resource's importance and your security needs. You can share and protect any resource from the Sharing... tab of the Properties... dialog box of any printer, drive, folder, etc.



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