Steps for creating a home or small office network

This checklist is provided so you can successfully set up your home network using the Network Setup Wizard

The checklist is a guideline of the steps needed, in the order they should be completed. Once you complete a step, or if it does not apply to you, check it off and then go on to the next step.

Before doing each task in the checklist, it is suggested you read the Home and small office networking overview 

Before starting to set up your home or small office network, print this checklist so you will have it handy while completing each step.


Sketch out your network: draw a diagram of your house or office where each computer and printer is located. Or, you can create a table that lists the hardware on each computer.

Sample table for determining hardware needs

Next to each computer, note the hardware, such as modems and network adapters, each computer has.

Modems overview;
Network adapters overview

Choose your Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) host computer. It is recommended that this computer be running Windows XP Home Edition or Windows XP Professional and have a working Internet connection.

Choosing your Internet Connection Sharing host computer;
Network configurations overview

Determine the type of network adapters you need for your home or small office network: Ethernet, home phoneline network adapter (HPNA), wireless, or IEEE 1394.

Network adapters overview;
Choosing an internal or external network adapter

Make a list of hardware you need to purchase. This includes modems, network adapters, hubs, and cables.

Buying the right hardware

Purchase the hardware.

For a comprehensive list of hardware supported by Windows operating systems, see Compatible Hardware and Software in Help and Support Center.

Install the network adapters and modems to create your network connections on each computer.

See the manufacturers documentation.

Physically connect the computers together. Plug in the cables to hubs, phone jacks, and the computer.

Connect your computers together

Turn on all computers and printers.


Make sure your ICS host computer has an active Internet connection. To establish your Internet connection, run the New Connection Wizard.

Internet Connection Sharing;
To make an Internet connection

Run the Windows XP fessional Network Setup Wizard on the ICS host computer.

Network Setup Wizard overview

Run the Network Setup Wizard on the other computers on your network.

Configure other computers on your network using a floppy disk


To start the Network Setup Wizard, click Start, click Control Panel, click Network and Internet Connections, and then click Network Connections. Under Common Tasks, click Network Setup Wizard

If another computer using an earlier version of Windows has ICS activated, or there is another Internet sharing solution, disable ICS on this computer before activating ICS on Windows XP Home Edition or Windows XP Professional. For more information, see Change the Internet Connection Sharing host computer 

The Network Setup Wizard is only supported on computers using Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows XP Home Edition, or Windows XP Professional.

Windows Millennium Edition has a Home Networking Wizard. When joining this computer to the Windows network, make sure you run the Windows XP fessional Network Setup Wizard on the computer running Windows Millennium Edition.

Hardware requirements overview

Modems overview

Network adapters overview

Choosing your Internet Connection Sharing host computer

Connecting your computers together

Internet Connection Sharing overview

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