Local Area Network (LAN)

1. A Workgroup or Local Area Network, is two or more computers connected to your local Router by Ethernet cable or WIFI. The computers on a Local Area Network (LAN) can share files and a single printer. No special programs are required to be installed. Your Windows Operating systems comes with all the tools necessary to set up a LAN.  All you need is a Router (which you already have in your ADSL modem) and some Ethernet Cable. In a Workgroup - All computers are peers, no computer has control over another computer. There are typically no more than 20 computers in a Workgroup and the Workgroup is NOT protected by a Password (but each User Account is).

2.  First there are a few of basic rules about setting up a LAN.

a. On each computer, the Windows User Account must have a Password.

b. Each computer on your LAN has to have a unique Name.

c. Each computer has to be on the same Workgroup.

d. The network adapter in each computer must be set to obtain IP Address Automatically.  A Static IP is not recommended, except under special conditions. All Computers must be on the same local network or subnet.

e. File and Print Sharing has to be allowed.

3. Now the details:

Each User Account must have a Password. Open Control Panel then select User Accounts. Create a new password or change your password from this window:



Computer Name and Workgroup: Take a look at Control Panel System as shown below to see the computer Name and Workgroup.


Check each computer and insure they are all on the same Workgroup and have a unique Name. Click on Change Settings to make any changes to the Workgroup name. When you click on Change Settings, this is the first window that will appear, click on Change.




In this Window you can change the name of the PC and the Workgroup Name.

To enable File and Print Sharing and check the IP address assignment go to control panel and click on Network and Sharing Center. Then in the Left column click on Change Adapter Settings. Right Click on the Local Area Connection ICON and then on Properties. The Local Area Connection Properties window will open as shown below: Notice File and Printer Sharing is ticked.


Next, select Internet protocol Version 4 and click on properties.


Obtain an IP Address Automatically should be selected as well at Obtain DNS Server Address Automatically

This will allow your router is assign an IP to each computer on the LAN.

If you have all the required items set,then when you open Windows Explorer and expand NETWORK, you should be able to see all the computers on the LAN. You will be able to share files in the PUBLIC folders.


In this example Under Network in Windows Explorer you can see the two computers on the LAN. Expand those folders to see the Public Folders on each.


This view shows the PC-One folders and sub folders


You may notice on Windows 7 and 8 there is a Homegroup and a reference to a Domain.

What is the Difference?

Domains, Workgroups, and Homegroups represent different methods for organizing computers in networks. The main difference among them is how the computers and other resources on the networks are managed.

Computers running Windows on a network must be part of a Workgroup or a Domain. Computers running Windows on home networks (LAN) can also be part of a Homegroup, but it is not required.

Computers on home networks are usually part of a Workgroup and possibly a Homegroup and computers on a Work Place Network are usually part of a Domain.

In a Homegroup - Computers on a home network must belong to a Workgroup, but they can also belong to a Homegroup. A Homegroup makes it easy to share pictures, music, videos, documents and printers with other people on a home network.  A Homegroup is protected by a password, but you only need to type the password once, when adding your computer to the homegroup.

On a Domain one or more computers are Servers. Network Administrators use servers to control the security and permissions for all the computers on the Domain. This makes it easy to make changes because the changes are automatically made to all computers. Domain users must provide a password or other credentials each time they access the Domain. There can be Thousands of computers in a Domain and the computers can be on different local networks.  To setup a Domain the Servers requires a special operating system called Windows Server.  Windows 8 Pro can be used as a server.


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