Windows 7 Update Service

Windows Update Service is a feature which allows the windows 7 operating system to download important system updates from Microsoft. It retrieves new updates from Microsoft Update Server through internet. This is known as Windows Update Service. Windows update is a tool used to manage software updates on a computer running windows 7. Windows update features allows the user to download important system updates from Microsoft. A user who has administrative privileges can check for new software updates, install new updates, review the updates that are already installed and review the hidden updates.

Steps to check the updates manually:

  1. Click ‘Control panel’ – ‘System and security’- ‘Windows Update’ and select ‘Check for update’ option under ‘Windows update console’.
  2. When we click on ‘Check for updates button, computer contacts the update source to check for updates. Update source can be the Microsoft update server on the internet or a local update Server.
  3. After completing the ‘check for updates’ process, Windows update lists all the available updates that can be installed on your computer.

Three different types of updates are available:

  1. Important updates: Addresses critical security issues.
  2. Recommended updates: Addresses functionality issues.
  3. Optional updates: Provides driver updates and language packs.

Configure Windows update:

  1. Click ‘Start’ – ‘Control panel’ – ‘System and security’ – ‘Windows updates’. Click ‘Change settings’ in the left panel of the windows update window. The change settings dialog box will appear. We can configure windows update by setting the options given in the “Change settings’ dialogue box
  2. Important updates: It determines how important updates are available on your computer.

Install updates automatically – Windows update installs the update automatically at the specific time scheduled by the user.

Download updates but let me choose whether to install them – Windows update downloads the update and user determines the updates that will be installed.

Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them – Windows checks the updates and wait for the user request for downloading and installing the updates.

Never check for updates – Windows never check the updates automatically. You can check for and install updates manually.

  1. Who can install updates: This option determines which user is allowed to install updates. We can select ‘Allow all users to install updates on this computer option’.
  2. Microsoft Updates: This setting determines whether Microsoft product updates and new optional Microsoft software needed to install when you update your windows.
  3. Software notifications: Enables to get detailed notification when new software is available.
  4. Click on ‘View update history’ in the left panel of windows update to get detailed information about the installed updates. It displays the list of all updates that are installed successfully and unsuccessfully.

To uninstall an update:

  1. Click ‘Installed update’ in the left pane of Windows update control panel and select ‘Uninstall program’.
  2. Select the update that you want to uninstall and click ‘Uninstall/Change’ link. Only the user who is the member of local administrator group can uninstall an update.

Configuring Windows update policy:

  1. Click ‘Start’ – ‘Computer configuration’ – ‘Administrative templates’ – ‘Windows component’ – ‘Windows update’. The group policies for windows update will be displayed.
  2. Select ‘Configure automatic updates’ – Select ‘Enable’ – ‘Apply’ – ‘Ok’.
  3. Select ‘Specify Intranet Microsoft update service location’. Specify the server name of the Windows update server on the local intranet. Click on ‘Apply’ – ‘Ok’.
  4. Go to run. Type ‘gpupdate’ – ‘Ok’.

Configure windows update: This policy setting determines whether automatic updates are enabled on your computer.

Specify Intranet Microsoft update service location: If  this policy is enabled, the automatic updates of your client computer connects to specified intranet Microsoft update service, instead of windows update server on the internet to download updates.

Working with Internet Explorer Browser

Internet Explorer is the default browser in Windows 7.  It protects your computer from threats such as Malware & Phishing. You can configure the Internet Explorer by configuring the Compatibility view, smart screen filter, Security settings, Inprivate mode and pop- up blocker.

Steps to configure Internet Explorer Compatibility View:

  1. Click the broken icon at the end of the address bar. Or
  2. Click ‘Tools’ – Select ‘Compatibility View settings’. The ‘Compatibility view settings’ window will be displayed.
  3. You can add specific websites which you want to display in compatibility view.

You can also configure ‘Compatibility view settings’ with the help of group policy. The steps are as follows:

  1. Type ‘gpedit.msc’ in search box of the start menu.
  2. Expand ‘Computer configuration’ – ‘Windows components’ –‘Internet Explorer – ‘Compatibility view’ node. There are several policies which you can configure.
  3. Turn on IE 7
  4. Turn off Compatibility View
  5. Turn off Compatibility view button
  6. Include updated website list from Microsoft
  7. Use policy list of IE 7 sites

Steps to configure security settings:

  1. Open the IE browser and click on ‘Tools’ in the menu bar.
  2. Click ‘Internet options’ and select ‘Security Tab’. The security zones available are as follows:
  3. Local intranet: These are the computers in the organizational intranet.
  4. Trusted sites: This zone contains website that you trust will not damage your computer or files saved on your computer. IE provides less security for the sites in the trusted zone.
  5. Restricted sites: This zone contains websites that damage your computer or files saved on your computer. You can add malicious sites to this zone if it is necessary to visit that site. The security level for this zone is high.
  6. Internet Zone: This zone contains all the websites that are not in Intranet, Trusted and Restricted sites. Sites in this zone cannot make any changes to your computer with Windows 7. The default Security level for this zone is medium –High.

Smart screen Filter:

Smart screen filter is a feature of internet explorer that protects your internet explorer from browsing websites which are illegal, viral fraudulent or malicious.  Smart screen filter blocks the websites related to phishing.

Steps to configure Smart screen filter:

  1. Click ‘Start’ – ‘Internet Explorer 8’.
  2. Click on ‘Safety’ – ‘Smart screen filter’.
  3. Click ‘Turn on/off Smart screen Filter’.
  4. The ‘Microsoft Smart screen filter’ window will be displayed.
  5. Select the option ‘Turn On’ and click ‘Ok’.

In private mode:

In private mode is the feature of Internet explorer 8 that limits the amount of information available about the users browsing session to a third party user. In private browsing mode prevents your Internet Explorer from storing data such as cookies, temporary files, history and other data of your browsing session. If you turn on the in private browsing for your internet explorer, it prevents other users of your computer from seeing data of your browsing session. Many WebPages contain content such as advertisements, maps or web analysis tools other than their actual web content. These are called content providers or third party websites. You can turn on the ‘In private filtering mode’ to restrict your browsing information from content providers.

Steps to configure in private mode:

  1. Click ‘Start’ – ‘Internet Explorer Safety’ button – ‘in private browsing’.
  2. A new tab will open in which ‘In private browsing’ feature will be activated.
  3. Now you can start browsing from this particular tab.

Steps to configure in private Filtering:

  1. Click ‘Start’ – ‘Internet Explorer’.
  2. Click ‘Safety’ button – ‘In private Filtering settings’.
  3. The ‘In private Filtering settings’ window will appear. To automatically block the websites, click ‘Automatically Block’ option. You can also ‘Choose content to block or allow’ manually.
  4. Click ‘Ok’.

How to Customise the Desktop in Windows 7

Desktop Customization is used to modify the visual appearance, Windows Color, etc. IT also provides a way to control Wallpapers. We can apply new themes, desktop background and sounds of the computer. Windows 7 introduces a new feature called ‘Aero’ in Desktop customization.

Display and Visual appearance:

Visual appearance and performance of a computer display are influenced by different factors such as the Monitor type, Configuration of Windows and how the computer is used. There are some tasks which you can perform to improve the visual appearance of your computer.

  1. Reduce the number of open programs: IF too many programs are opened in the computer it will utilize more system resources. This can cause display problems. So it is always advised to close the programs which are not required.
  2. Avoid running too many graphic programs simultaneously:  The graphic related programs such as video editing and animation requires large amount of system resources. IF too many graphical programs are running at the same time that the display quality will degrade.
  3. Reduce monitor resolution: At high resolution monitor utilizes large amount of system resource to display the screen properly. To get proper visual appearance of the monitor, lower the resolution.
  4. Upgrade the video card of the computer: Computer video card consist of large amount of memory. This memory is used to display a graphics card. If more memory is available you will get better display quality.

Modifying Windows color and appearance:

Windows 7 provides better color and appearance options than other Windows operating system. It also introduces aero effect, due to which borders of open windows are transparent like glass.

Steps to configure Windows color and appearance:

  1. Go to ‘Start’ – ‘Control panel’ – ‘Appearance and personalization’ – ‘Personalization’.
  2. In the ‘Personalization’ Window, click ‘Window color’ button to display the window color and appearance.
  3. Select the color to change the Windows border, start menu and Taskbar.
  4. Click on ‘Advanced appearance settings’ to change size, color and font settings. Select the ‘Item’ in which you want to apply color changes from the item drop down list.
  5. Make the required changes in size, color and font settings and click ‘Apply’ to apply the changes on selected items. Click ‘Ok’so that the changes would be applied.

Steps to configure Desktop background:

  1. Go to ‘Start’ – ‘Control panel’ – ‘Appearance and personalization’ – ‘Personalization’.
  2. In ‘Personalization’ window, select ‘Desktop Background’. Select the particular ‘Desktop background’ and click on ‘Save changes’ to apply them.

Steps to configure screensaver:

  1. Type ‘Screen saver’ on the search box of start menu. The ‘Screen saver settings’ window will be displayed.
  2. Select the required screen saver from ‘Screen saver’ drop down list. Click on ‘Preview’ button to view the selected screen saver.

Multiple Monitor settings in Windows 7

Windows 7 allows a second monitor to your computer to do more than one job simultaneously. There are four settings for multiple monitor in windows 7.

  1. Computer only: Used to show only computer monitor.
  2. Duplicate: Make the second monitor as the duplicate of the first.
  3. Extend: Extend the desktop to the second monitor.
  4. Projector only: Turn of the first monitor and activate the second.

Steps to configure Advanced display Settings:

  1. Go to ‘Control Panel’ – ‘Display’ — ‘Change display settings’.
  2. Click ‘Advanced settings’. The ‘Default Monitor’ windows will be displayed.
  3. Click ‘Adapter’ tab and this will display the adapter information.
  4. To check the monitor properties click on ‘Monitor’ tab. To troubleshoot problems with your computer display select ‘Troubleshoot’ tab.
  5. To change the color management settings you can click ‘Color Management’ tab.

As you can see, there is more to the Desktop and Windows 7 in general. If you are a regular business user and need to get the most from the OS you might want to consider attending a training course. There are a number of Microsoft training providers in the UK including Paul Brown Associates and QA. Prices vary considerably for 1 day courses and you may get a discount if 2 or more people book at the same time.

Resource Sharing in Windows 7

Resource sharing is a feature in Windows 7 that allows to share resources over a network. Resource sharing can be done through home group feature of Windows 7.We can ensure security of our shared data by applying different permissions.  Windows 7 allows us to share different resources such as files, folders and printers over a network. Home group is a new feature for sharing files, folders and printers on a small network.

Network and sharing centre

Network and sharing centre is used to configure advanced resource sharing options and Homegroup. Network and sharing centre assigns the designation to your network. The sharing options that you can configure through Network and sharing centre are:

  1. Network discovery: Network discovery is a network setting that enables your computer to determine whether your computer can find other computer and devices on the network. It also makes the clients visible to other computers on the network.
  2. File and printer sharing: This setting enables other computers on the network to access files and printers that you have shared.
  3. Public folder sharing:  This setting enables network users to access files from public folder.
  4. Media streaming:  This setting enables other users on the network to access pictures, music and videos.
  5. File sharing connection:  Windows 7 uses 128 bit encryption to protect file sharing connection. You can select 40 or 56 bit encryption option for devices which do not support 128 bit encryption.
  6. Password protected sharing: This setting ensures that only users who have an account configured locally can access the shared resources.
  7. Homegroup connection: This setting determines how windows 7 manage the connection to other computers on the network. If all computers have same username and passwords, then you can select the option ‘Allow Windows to manage the homegroup connections’.

Steps to change the network designation:

  1. Go to ‘Start’ – ‘Control panel’ – ‘Network and internet’ – ‘Network and sharing centre’.
  2. The ‘Network and sharing centre’ window appears. Click on the ‘Network type’ name on which you are connected. The ‘Set Network location’ wizard appears.
  3. Select the network which you want to change.

Home group

Homegroup is a new feature in Windows 7 which allows you to connect to other computers and share music, pictures, documents, printers and other files with other computers. We can allow other computers on Homegroup to modify our files. We can also make them read only to ensure the security of the files. Other users cannot change the security of the file unless we give them the permission to do so.

Steps to configure Homegroup in Windows 7:

  1. Go to ‘Start’ – ‘control panel’ – ‘Network and internet’ – ‘Choose homegroup and sharing’.
  2. This opens the ‘Homegroup’ window. Click the ‘Create a Homegroup’ button.
  3. In the ‘Create a Homegroup’ window, select the checkbox for the items that you want to share. Click ‘Next’.
  4. This will display a window with password information to other computers on the network.
  5. Click ‘Print password and instruction’ and give this password to other computers running Windows 7 on the network to join your Homegroup.
  6. Click ‘Finish’.

Steps to join a Homegroup network:

  1. Go to ‘Start’ – ‘Control panel’ – ‘Network and internet’ – ‘Homegroup’. The Homegroup window will appear.
  2. Click ‘Join now’ button to join the specific Homegroup. Select the items that you want to share with other computers and click ‘Next.
  3. Enter the ‘Homegroup password’ that you got from the person who created the Homegroup and click on ‘Join now’ button.

Note: We cannot create a Homegroup on a Domain network. The Homegroup connection setting is available only on Home/Work network profile.

Account policies and resolving authentication issues in Windows

Account policies allow you to configure how passwords work on clients running windows 7. There are different account polices in windows 7:

1. Enforce password history: When you configure this policy on Windows 7 a certain number of passwords which were previously used are remembered by Windows 7. It does not allow users to set new passwords to one they have already used. You can configure the number of passwords that Windows can remember.
2. Maximum password age: It is the maximum number of days that a person can keep the same password. The user has to change the password as the limit expires. This policy will not work if the user has enabled the ‘Password never expires’ setting.
3. Minimum password age: This policy is configured when the new password created is kept only for minimum number of days before the user change their password. This is done to keep the record of the passwords which the user had used previously.
4. Minimum password length: This policy ensures that the password has the minimum number of characters.
5. Password must meet complexity requirements: This policy is configured so that the passwords can include lower case, upper case, symbols, characters and numbers. You cannot have username, last name and first name of the user.
6. Store passwords using reversible encryption: This policy provides support for the applications that use protocols that require knowledge of the user’s password for authentication purposes. It is same as storing plain text versions of the passwords. The policy should never be enabled unless application requirements need to protect password information.

Account lockout policies

1. Account lockout duration: It maintains the length of the time account is locked out before user attempt to login again. 2. Account lockout threshold: The number of times user can enter the incorrect password before the account is locked out. 3. Reset account lockout counter after: It specifies the number of times Windows records invalid login attempts. A valid logon automatically resets the account lockout counter.

Resolving authentication issues:

Password reset disks: It allows the user to recover the password without losing the encrypted data. The only disadvantage is it can be used by anyone to recover the specific password account. We have to create a password reset disk before the password is lost. We can create a password reset disk, which can store password reset data on a floppy drive or USB drive. When you click on ‘Create a password reset disk’ it pops up the forgotten password wizard. This will save the password information of that user to the respective disk drive.

Steps to create a ‘Password reset disk’:

1. Insert the USB drive and wait to initialize and receive a drive letter.
2. Go to ‘Start’ – ‘Control panel’ – ‘User accounts and family safety’ – ‘User Accounts’.
3. From the left pane, Click ‘Create a password reset disk’. Forgotten password Wizard appears. Click ‘Next’.
4. In create a password reset disk, select the ‘USB flash’ drives option.
5. Click ‘Next’. In the ‘Current user account password’ enter the ‘current password’.
6. Click ‘Next’—‘Next’. Click ‘Finish’ to complete the process.

Steps to recover a lost password:

1. Click on ‘Reset password’ link at login prompt. The ‘Password reset’ wizard will appear.
2. Click ‘Next’. Select the USB drive where you have created the password reset disk from the drop down box.
3. Click ‘Next’. It will take the reset key and ask you to type a ‘New password’ so that the previous password is rest.
4. Type a ‘New password’ and ‘confirm password’. Click ‘Next’. Click ‘Finish’ to finish the operation.

App Locker and Software Restriction Policies

Windows 7 provides different policies to block particular applications. If you want to limit the applications that a user can run on a computer with windows 7, there are two features to restrict the execution of applications in Windows 7. They are App locker policies and Software restriction policies.

Software Restriction policies:

Software restriction policies are used to protect computers against conflicts and security threats such as malicious viruses and Trojan horse programs. You can manage software restriction policies through group policies.
Steps to configure Software Restriction policies are:
1. Click ‘Start’ – ‘Control Panel’ – ‘System and Security’ – ‘Administrative Tools’ – ‘Local security Policy’ – ‘Software Restriction Policies’.
2. To create a new ‘Software restriction policy’, open ‘Group policy’ Wizard and click ‘Software Restriction Policy’ node.
3. In the ‘Action’ menu, select ‘New Software Restriction Policies’. Here you will have to manually design the software restriction policy depending on the rules. This policies will apply in the following order:
a. Hash rules
b. Certificate rules
c. Path rules
d. Zone rules
e. Default rules

The different types of Software restriction policies are:

1. Security Levels: This level allows you to set the default rules. When there is no ‘Software Restriction Policies’ rule that matches the application, then you can apply this default rule. The three different default rules are: Disallowed, Basic user and Unrestricted.
2. Enforcement: This rule allows you to apply software restriction policies to all users except for members of local administrator groups. You can apply this rule to all software files
3. Designated file types: It determines the type of file that you want to execute according to Software restriction policy
Note: A user cannot remove standard file types such as .com, .exe, and .vbs even when he has administrator rights.
App locker policies: (App locker is available only in Enterprise and Ultimate editions)

App locker policies are used to block some specific applications on a computer. We can apply this policy to all future version of product, which are already blocked by app locker. They are also known as Application Control Policies.
1. Click ‘Start’ – ‘Control Panel’ – ‘System and Security’ – ‘Administrative tools’ – ‘Local security Policy’ – ‘Application Control Policies’.
2. Open ‘Application Control Policies’ double click ‘App locker’.

The different rules in App Locker are:

A. Executable Rules:
This rule can apply only to .exe and .com files. The default rule allows everyone to execute all the application in the program file folder and windows folder.
B. Windows Installer Rules:
This rule is applicable for .msi and .msp files. It can allow or block software installation on the computer.
C. Script Rules: This rule is applicable to .ps1, .bat, .cmd, .vbs, and .js files. The default script rule allows the execution of all scripts located in the Program file folder and windows folder.
D. DLL Rule: This rule is applicable for library files which have .dll and .ocx file extensions. By default the DLL rules are not enabled in Windows 7.

Note: Working of Hash rule and path rule in app locker policy is same as that of Software restriction policy. The default Windows installer rule allows installation of any software updates through group policy.

Steps to restrict application through group policy:

1. Click ‘Start’ – enter ‘gpedit.msc’ in the search box. Open the ‘gpedit’ application from the search result.
2. In ‘Local group policy’ editor, expand ‘User configuration’, click on ‘Administrative templates’ and select ‘system’.
3. In the right pane, double click on ‘Don’t run specified Windows applications’. Select ‘Enabled’.
4. Click ‘Show’ button and type the executable filename of the program that you want to restrict, (for e.g. calc.exe for calculator). Click ‘Ok’ for the changes to apply.

Application Compatibility in Windows 7

That software’s which worked fine in previous version of Windows is unable to function in Windows 7. This is called as Application Compatibility issue. This happens when the administrator tries to migrate earlier Windows client operating system to Windows 7. There are many methods in which Application Compatibility issue could be resolved.

Program Compatibility Trouble-shooter:

The program compatibility trouble-shooter in windows 7 is a tool that automatically selects compatibility settings to run the applications in earlier versions of Windows mode. Operating system detects the compatibility problem and determines the solution to resolve the problem while troubleshooting the issue. Once the operating system has fixed the compatibility issue, it remembers the solution and will prevent the same issue from occurring in future. Program compatibility trouble-shooter cannot troubleshoot installation of .MSI format and is applicable only for executable files.

Built in Compatibility modes and option:

Windows 7 provides several built in compatible modes that configure application to run using settings which provide earlier Windows operating system Environment. The steps to configure compatibility mode for any application are as follows:
1. Select the ‘setup file’ of the application, right click on it. Click ‘Properties’.
2. In ‘Properties’ window, select the environment for your application in the ‘Compatibility’ tab.
3. Click ‘Apply’ — ‘Ok’.

Application Compatibility Toolkit:

Application Compatibility Toolkit is a collection of tools that allow you to resolve application compatibility issues. This tool determines if existing applications are compatible with Windows 7 before migrating to new operating system. The features of Application Compatibility Toolkit are:
1. Application Compatibility Manager
2. Application Compatibility Administrator
3. Internet Explorer Compatibility Test Tool
4. Setup Analysis Tool
5. Standard User Analyzer

Application compatibility Manager:

It is used to configure, collect, analyze and test the compatibility data to resolve any kind of compatibility issue which occurs when you deploy a new operating system in your organization. Application Compatibility manager communicates with Microsoft SQL server database which stores all the data.

Application Compatibility Administrator:

It helps you to resolve large number of compatibility issues before deploying new windows to your organization. Compatibility Administrator provides a set of compatibility fixes and compatibility modes that can be used to resolve compatibility issues with particular applications. Compatibility fix is a piece of software which stops application programming interface calls from applications and modifies these application to run to run on Windows 7 platform.

Internet Explorer Compatibility tool:

It helps in testing the compatibility problems of websites which will display on the Internet Explorer 8. The steps to use Internet Explorer toolkit are:
1. Go to ‘Start’ – ‘All programs’ – ‘Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit’ – ‘Developer and test tools’ – ‘Internet Explorer Compatibility test tool’ – ‘Enable’.
2. Open ‘Internet Explorer’ and it will inform you that compatibility tool is enabled.
3. Now you can open the website and web applications that you want to test.
Internet Explorer Compatibility Toolkit tests the site that you visit and keeps all the information about compatibility issue related with specified websites and web applications.

Setup Analysis Tool:

Setup Analysis Tool detects the compatibility issue that can occur during the installation and configuration of an application. Setup Analysis Tool detects and monitors the action taken by application installer and checks their compatibility issues.

Standard User Analyzer:

It determines whether the User Account Control causes any compatibility issue while deploying new Operating system in your organization. The Standard User Analyzer provides data about problematic files, processes, registry keys, .ini files and other related items that are used by the applications that might cause problems while successfully running on Windows 7.

Steps to install Application Compatibility Toolkit:

1. Download Application Compatibility Toolkit from the below link:
3. Run the downloaded toolkit. In ‘Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit’ wizard click ‘Next’. Accept the license agreement and click ‘Next’. The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit wizard opens to enter the destination path. Enter the destination path and click ‘Next’.
4. Click ‘Install’ to start the installation process. You can view the tools on start menu of the computer once the installation process completes.
Steps to configure Application Compatibility Toolkit:
1. Click on ‘Start’ – ‘All programs’ – ‘Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit’ – ‘Application Compatibility Manager’. Click ‘Next’ to select the configuration wizard.
2. Select the appropriate configuration option. Select ‘Enterprise configuration’ – click ‘Next’.
3. Enter the name of the SQL server and the name for the database and click ‘Create’ button.
4. Click ‘Next’ – ‘Finish’. (Note down the log file location of your machine).

A quick way to learn all of the new features in Windows 7 is to take a course. Many colleges run short courses such as award winners City and Islington in London. There are also a number of training organisations which deliver 1 day Microsoft courses. Designed primarily for businesses, these are a quick way to get employees skilled in the use of Windows 7. Paul Brown Associates are a UK based National training Company and run an in house Windows 7 training course. This type of training is normally more expensive than a college course but has the advantage of teaching skills quickly.

How to Create a Windows 7 Home Network

The Home group:

Home group is a new feature in windows 7 which allows you to connect to other computers and also allows you to share music, pictures, documents, printers and other files with other computers. Home group cannot be created on a Domain network. We can allow other computers on home group to modify our files o make them read only. You can set permissions for other users to access your files.

Steps to create a Home group:

1. You require minimum 2 computers on the same network.
2. Click ‘Start’ and select ‘control panel’. In control panel select ‘Network and Internet’ and click on choose ‘Home group and sharing’. This will display the home group window.
3. Click the ‘Create a Home group’ button. The Create Home group window will appear. Now select the check box for which items you want to share and click ‘Next’. Then it opens a window with password information to other computers.
4. You have to use this same password to add other computers to your network. You can also click on ‘Print password and instruction’ and give this password to other computers running windows 7 on the network to join your Home group.
5. Click ‘Finish’ to complete the creation process.
Note: When a computer is connected to the home network where you created your home group, windows 7 prompts you that there is Home group available to join.

Steps to Join a Home group which is already created:

1. Click ‘Start’ – ‘Control Panel’ – ‘Network and Internet’ – ‘Home group’. The Home group window will appear.
2. Click ‘Join now’ button to join your Home group. The join a Home group wizard will appear.
3. On the join a Homepage window, select the items that you want to share with other computer and click ‘Next’.
4. Enter the Home group password that you got from the person who created the Home group and click on ‘Join now’ button.
5. If you want to leave the home group, open the Home group item in the ‘Network and sharing center’ and then click ‘Leave the Home group’ option.

Sharing Data in your home group:

1. Type ‘compmgmt.msc’ in start search box, click on ‘Shares’ under ‘Shared folders’.
2. Right click on shares node and click ‘New share’. Then it will open ‘Create a shared folder’ wizard.
3. Click ‘Next’ and specify the folder which you want to share. After entering the folder path ‘Create a shared folder’ wizard appears. Enter ‘share name, share path & description’ to specify how users see and use this shared folder over a network and click ‘Next’.
4. Set the appropriate permission that you want for the shared folder.
5. Click ‘Finish’ so that the sharing completes.

Sharing a printer in your Home group:

1. Click ‘Start’ – ‘control panel’- ‘Hardware and sound’- ‘Devices and printers’.
2. Locate the printer and right click the printer which you want to share. Select ‘Printer properties’.
3. Click ‘Sharing ‘tab of the printer properties and enable the ‘Share this printer’ option.
4. To add additional drivers for the printer, Click ‘Additional drivers’.
5. Click ‘Apply’- ‘Ok’.

Stop or change folder sharing:

1. Open windows explorer. Select the folder and right click the folder for which you want to stop sharing. Select ‘Share with’ and select ‘Nobody’. The sharing wizard will appear.
2. Click ‘Change sharing permissions. This will allow you to change the existing permissions.
3. To stop sharing permission, click ‘Stop sharing’ option from share wizard.

You can assign three different kinds of permissions:

1. Owner permissions: For the user who shared the folder.
2. Read permissions: Allows the user to access files in the shared folder but not to delete or modify them.
3. Write permissions: Allows the user to read, add, delete and modify the files in the shared folder.

Understanding Windows Workgroups & Domains

Difference Between Workgroups and Domains

The difference between a workgroup and a domain network is the way of managing network resources. Computers in domains have a centralised database and the computers in Workgroups have a distributed database. Computers in the home are usually in Workgroup whereas computers in the workplace and corporate networks are normally 0n Domains.


1. Every computer has its own unique database called as SAM database
2. NetBIOS protocol is used for Name resolution.
3. There could be 10 to 15 computers in a Workgroup.
4. All computers must be on the same network or subnet.
5. Workgroup works in LAN environment.
6. All computers have client Operating system.


1. Domain shares a centralised database called as NTDS with all the computers in the network.
2. DNS is used for Name resolution.
3. There could be unlimited no. of computers and users in Domain.
4. Different computers are in different Sub networks.
5. Domain works in LAN and WAN environment.
6. Computers in Domain can have server as well as client operating system.
Advantages of having a Workgroup
1. It is commonly used for home and small business network.
2. IT is also called as peer to peer network.
3. Computers communicate directly with each other and share resources.
4. Each user can decide the resource that he wants to share with others in the network.
5. Less expensive and easy to setup for small networks.
6. No dedicated Administrator required.

Advantages of having a Domain

1. Domain provides user and group based security, centralised management of network resources and can be physically stored in one room or Span international borders.
2. Security is more as compared to workgroup.
3. A lot of Scalability
4. Lot of Extensibility
5. Single Sign On.
Steps to join a single client computer into a particular workgroup:
1. Go to ‘Start’ – ‘Computer’ – ‘Right click’ and select ‘Properties.’
2. Click ‘Change settings’ – ‘System properties’ window will be displayed.
3. Click on ‘Change’ button. ‘Computer name/Domain changes’ window will be displayed.
4. In the bottom click ‘Workgroup’ radio button. Enter the name of the workgroup where you want to join your computer.
5. Click’ Ok’. You will need to restart.
6. After the computer restarts your computer will be joined to the particular Workgroup.

Steps to join a single client computer into a Domain:

1. Go to ‘Start’ – ‘Computer’ – ‘Right click’ and select ‘Properties.’
2. Click ‘Change settings’ – ‘System properties’ window will be displayed.
3. Click on ‘Change’ button. ‘Computer name/Domain changes’ window will be displayed.
4. In the bottom click ‘Domain’ radio button. Enter the name of the domain where you want to join your computer.
5. This will ask you to provide the administrative credentials of the domain. Enter the credentials.
6. Click ‘Ok’. You will need to restart the computer.
7. After the computer restarts your computer will be joined to the particular Domain.

Welcome to Microsoft Windows OS

windows7-logoMicrosoft operating operating systems have undergone many changes since MS-DOS was released way back in August 1981. Few will remember those early pioneering days before GUI systems changed computing forever.  It was perhaps the launch of  Windows 3.0 in May 1990 that had the biggest impact on most people. Here we had an operating system that you didn’t require a computer science diploma to use!  However these early platforms were of course far from perfect and many will remember the dreaded ‘blue screen’ with the now infamous phrase “Windows has encountered a problem and has to close”.

Since then Microsoft operating systems have evolved into far more stable and user-friendly platforms. There have been ups and downs over the years with arguably Windows XP being better in many ways than it’s successor in the form of Vista. Some believe we are seeing a similar scenario with Windows 7 & 8. In any case, it is hoped that this  blog  will provide practical help and advice on how to install and obtain the best from Microsoft operating systems from Windows 7 onwards.

The simple step-by-step tutorials in this blog are intended to provide some guidance in setting up and working with Windows operating systems. However, they cannot be a substitute for proper professional instruction and should be used as a general guide only. There are many training organisations such as Paul Brown Training Ltd which can provide accredited Microsoft Windows tuition. It is recommended that such professional advice is taken before embarking on any substantial IT projects.