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volume 9 number 5 may 2004 TipSheet

Welcome to the May issue of MicroMetric's TipSheet.

This monthly newsletter is targeted at addressing the needs of our customers.

This month we'll continue a series of tips on Windows XP.

Tip 524   INSTALL NETBEUI FOR COMPATIBILITY WITH OLDER LANS Category:   WINDOWSXP

Previous versions of Windows automatically installed Microsoft's NetBEUI protocol whenever you installed a LAN card. Windows XP, however, doesn't do this. If you want to share files and printers with older Windows systems that don't have IP installed, you'll need to install NetBEUI manually.

Although NetBEUI is not officially supported, the files needed to install it are on the Windows XP CD. To install NetBEUI:

Once you've copied these files to the proper directories, you can add NetBEUI to most network connections using the Install... button on each connection's Network Connection Properties display. Unfortunately, you can't install NetBEUI on a FireWire connection.

NetBEUI doesn't require any addressing, routing, or other configuration information, so it is very handy for file sharing between laptops. If you have NetBEUI installed on two computers, you can simply connect them together (using an Ethernet hub or crossover cable) to share files and printers.

Tip 525   NETWORKING WITH FIREWIRE Category:   WINDOWSXP

Although FireWire was originally designed to connect high-speed peripherals such as hard drives and CD-ROM drives, it can also be used as a very fast (400-Mbps) way to network two PCs. In fact, Windows XP automatically creates a network connection for FireWire adapters. The connection appears in the Network Connections control panel as 1394 Connection, and it works much like any Ethernet connection.

Unlike USB (which requires a special crossover cable to connect two PCs together), a FireWire connection requires no special cables, hubs, or adapters. Be aware that there are two types of FireWire connectors in common use. The larger, six-pin connector is most often used for external hard drives, CD drives, and other AC-powered equipment, while the smaller four-pin connector is used on DV camcorders and small, portable equipment. Be sure to get a cable with the appropriate connections.

Tip 526   USET THE HOSTS, LUKE! Category:   WINDOWSXP

Whenever your computer connects to a resource on the Internet, it uses a Domain Name System (DNS) server to convert the human-friendly host name (such as \\Mailserver) or URL (such as www.pcmag.com) into an IP address. A little-known feature (lifted directly from Unix) in Windows 98 SE or later lets you keep a table of host names and IP addresses on your own computer. If this file�called the Hosts file�is present, Windows uses the IP address from the file without consulting a DNS server.

The Windows Hosts file can be found in C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc. (In Windows 98 SE, the Hosts file is located in \Windows\.) The plain-text Hosts file contains one line for each entry.

Even if you haven't created the Hosts file, it's there�with one lonely entry that defines localhost. (Localhost is an alias used for testing, and it always refers to 127.0.0.1, the IP standard loopback address.)

You can add your own entries to the Hosts file using any text editor, such as Notepad. The first (and less useful) way you might use this is to add the names and IP addresses of commonly used Internet hosts, so that Windows does not have to look up the address each time it connects to a given host. But most DNS lookups are so fast that you won't notice any performance increase.

The second, more useful way to use Hosts is to create a dead-end address, known as a hacker IP address, for ad servers or for Web sites that you want to block. For example, the entry 127.0.0.1 adserver .annoying.com tells Windows to use 127.0.0.1 to connect to Adserver.annoying.com. Since that address doesn't exist, you'll never see the ad. You can use the Hosts file as a cheap and dirty content filter in the same way: Simply create an entry for each host you want to block, using the address 127.0.0.1.


Copyright 2004, MicroMetric, Inc., All Rights Reserved. Permission to copy in total, with this statement and copyright, is hereby granted.

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