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Windows

Windows Vista - Sharing Files and Folders : Network Discovery and Browsing

11/16/2010 3:09:52 PM
With earlier versions of Windows, you could use Network Neighborhood to browse network resources such as shared folders and printers. However, this system was inefficient because it relied on network broadcasts to gather such information.

To fix this problem, Windows Vista introduced Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD), which queries each device that supports Plug and Play Extensions (PnP-X) or web services for devices to determine its capabilities and to determine the topology of the network. It also uses version control to keep the information current. It also describes the quality of service (QoS) extensions that enable stream prioritization and quality media streaming experiences, even on networks with limited bandwidth.

The information that is gathered to create the network map and which information the computer will give out to other Windows Vista computers will depend on which network services that you have enabled or configured using the Network and Sharing Center (see Table 1 and Figure 1).

Table 1. Network Services Managed with the Network and Sharing Center
FeatureSettingsResult
Network Discovery. Allows this computer to see other network computers and devices and is visible to other network computers.OnTurns on Network Discovery.
 OffTurns off Network Discovery.
File sharing. Files and printers that you have shared from this computer can be accessed by people on the network.OnShares created on this computer can be accessed from the network.
 OffShares created on this computer cannot be accessed from the network.
Public folder sharing. People on the network can access files in the public folder.OffOnly local users can access the Public folder.
 On (read)Local and network users can read the contents of the Public folder, but cannot change them.
 On (change)Local and network users can change the contents of the Public folder.
Printer sharing. Allows users to access shared printers.OnPrinters directly connected to this computer can be shared.
 OffPrinters directly connected to this computer cannot be shared.
Password-protected sharing. Gives access to shared folders, including the Public folder, to users who don’t have a username and password that corresponds to a user account on the computer with the shared folder.On (recommended)People who access access shared folders must have corresponding local user account and password.
 OffComputer sharing the folder does not require a user account or password.

Figure 1. Managing network services with the Network and Sharing Center.


To view the topology or to view the network resources, you open a network folder or the Network and Sharing Center. However, a Windows Vista computer will not be visible on the network map, and it will not be able to map other hardware devices on the network until you enable Network Discovery service. To see the full map, click the View Full Map link in the Network and Sharing Center (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. A sample of a network map.



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