We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

Windows XP and Vista expert tweaking guide

Have Windows your way. Today

Tweak XP and Vista to network nicely

Got a problem with Windows? There's no need to put up with elements that don't suit you. We've got the tools to help you get XP or Vista looking and acting just right.

When you combine Windows XP and Windows Vista PCs on the same peer-to-peer network – the sort you might have at home or in a small office – you may run into all kinds of problems. It may be difficult for your Vista PCs to find your XP PCs and vice versa.

The Windows Vista Network Map (perhaps the best networking feature Microsoft has ever introduced into Windows) won't work properly with XP PCs. They won't show up properly on the network map, if they even show up at all.

Fixing workgroup woes

The first problem is that the default name for your workgroup on the network has been changed. In XP, the default name for the network is 'MSHome'; in Vista, it's 'Workgroup'.

1. The fix for this problem is easy; you can change the workgroup name in Windows XP to match the name of your Vista network. In XP, right-click My Computer, click the Computer Name tab, then click Change. Then, in the Workgroup box, type in the name of your Vista network name.

2. If you've used the default workgroup name in Windows Vista ('workgroup') then simply type that in. However, if you're not using the default, change it to whatever name you've given your Vista network
and click ok.

3. After you click ok you'll get a confirmation dialog showing that you've successfully changed the workgroup name. Click ok again, then restart your computer.

An alternative is to give both your XP and Vista machines new workgroup names – as long as they match.

4. To change the name of your workgroup in Vista, right-click My Computer and select Properties. You'll see the name of your PC as well as its workgroup name. Click Change Settings then, in the screen that appears, click Change. Type in the new name for your workgroup and click ok.

5. As is the case with Windows XP, you'll get a confirmation
that Windows Vista's workgroup name has been changed. However, you'll have to restart your computer for the changes to go into effect.

Change XP logo

IDG UK Sites

Best January sales 2015 UK tech deals LIVE: Best New Year bargains and savings on phones, tablets,...

IDG UK Sites

Chromebooks: ready for the prime time (but not for everybody)

IDG UK Sites

2015 visual trends: 20 leading designers & artists reveal what should be inspiring us in 2015

IDG UK Sites

Mac tips tricks & hacks: 10 things you didn't know your Mac could do