If you have Unix, sooner or later Windows machines are going to need to be connected. That used to mean just connecting to the serial port and using a terminal emulator, but nowadays it's more apt to mean a network connection.
Most of the people reading this article will already have had at least some experience with Windows, but I'm only going to make the most basic assumptions about the extent of that experience here, so much of what follows may already be very familiar to you. Installing Windows Networking isn't difficult once you've done it a few times.
You are probably going to get a PCI card, but it's still possible (January 2000 ) that you would be installing an ISA card. If it is ISA, it almost always has a configuration disk that you'll need to use to set port addresses and interrupts. Usually, you need to boot from a Dos floppy or at least a Dos session to run that configuration program.
The things you are going to set include an I/O address (that's usually going to be in the range of 200-300) an interrupt, and sometimes the cable type. Neither the I/O address nor the interupt can conflict with any other card you have in the machine, but don't get too worried about that: if there is a conflict, it will show up in the Windows Control Panel System Device Manager. ISA card configuration software almost always has some sort of testing utility, too, and that can usually tell if you are conflicting with other hardware.
In the case of cards with more than one cable type, it's best not to rely on the auto-sensing. Set it to what you know it will use if at all possible.
There are Plug and Play ISA cards: when these work well, they are as easy as PCI. They will probably still come with a configuration utility, but it will run under Windows, and you usually won't have to run it at all.
PCI cards often don't have that; if they do it will just be for setting cable type or perhaps some advanced options, but otherwise they just have driver disks, so you just put the card in and reboot. Windows will notice that it has new hardware, and will ask you for the diskettes. The only problem you are likely to have is when the driver files have been put in a non-standard directory structure so that the Windows installation doesn't find them. In that case, you may have to help by pointing out the sub-directory to look in.
With ISA cards, you'll need to specifically tell Windows you want to install new hardware or, more usually, follow the manufacturer's directions for installing the drivers.
One problem you can have in either case is that Windows may need files from its installation media. If that's been stored as CAB files on the hard drive, your job will be easier. When Windows is installing this stuff, it may switch back and forth looking for files from Windows and then from the Nic driver disk and back to Windows again. It's easy to get confused and not realize that you should be telling it to search A: when it was just searching C:. Also, don't get confused by choices that are already there; the last install may have searched A:\FOO, and therefore Windows will offer that as a choice: that doesn't mean that the file it needs NOW is in A:\FOO or that your A: even has a \FOO.
Once the drivers are installed and Windows has rebooted, you'll find the card in Control Panel -> Networks. It may or may not have TCP/IP and other protocols bound to it. If it does not, you will need to highlight the card, and choose Add->Protocol. Choose Microsoft, and add TCP/IP. Once the protocol is added, you can highlight it and choose Properties to configure it. You'll need at least an IP address if there's no DHCP, and if there are other networks involved you may need to enter a Gateway address. If this machine will be accessing the Internet either directly or through a NAT or Masquerade machine, configure the DNS tab- you'll need a host name (you can skip the domain if necessary) and the address of a DNS server.
If things aren't working, the first place to check is the Control Panel System icon, and look in Device Manager. If the NIC is marked as a problem (a yellow question mark icon) or completely not working (red X icon), then you've got something misconfigured. If you see two or more entries for your card, remove both of them and start over (either run Add New Hardware from Control Panel or reboot).
If you are using Visionfs or Samba, you probably want to set the machine (in Control Panel -> Network) to be a Client for Microsoft Networks. If that choice is not available, you'll need to add it- add a Client, Choose Microsoft, select Client for Microsoft Networks. map a drive, etc. This is what causes the Windows login box to come up, and also changes the Start menu to offer the choce of closing out and logging in as another user.
Depending on the machine's use, you may want to select the box that lets you share files and or printers on the network. Selecting this in here simply enables the capability- it doesn't actually share anything. To share, you need to use access the properties of the printer, directory or file and choose the Sharing tab there (that tab won't be there until sharing has been enabled in the Network Control Panel program).
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More Articles by Tony Lawrence © 2012-07-15 Tony Lawrence