You need to configure it to work with the type of wireless network that you are using:
(a) - "Ad Hoc" where PCs with WiFi adapters installed communicate directly with one another (may be described as Peer-to-Peer).
(b) - "Infrastructure" where where PCs with WiFi adapters installed communicate via a Wireless Access Point, including a Wireless Router.
The SSID (wireless network's name) in the laptop should be the same as that in the other device you are connecting to and the channel number should be the same.
If the device you are connecting to is a Router, or a PC running "Internet Connection Sharing", the laptop's WiFi adapter should be configured to get its IP address automatically. This is the TCP/IP settings for the adapter in the Network Connections folder. If it is not being networked for Internet access, just for File and/or Printer sharing, you will need to allocate a fixed IP address.
Whether you are running Windows' own wireless software or the third-party software for the adapter, there should be a facility to scan for available networks to connect to and this should pick up the SSID (wireless network's name) that you created in the other device you are trying to connect to.