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Vista Hands On #10: Manage wireless networks

I’m traveling this week with a year-old Tablet PC running a fresh copy of Windows Vista Business, so it’s a good time to focus on some of Vista’s mobility features. In today's Vista Hands On installment, I discuss Vista’s tools for managing wireless connections.
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Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor on

I’m traveling this week with a year-old Tablet PC running a fresh copy of Windows Vista Business, so it’s a good time to focus on some of Vista’s mobility features. The hotel where I’m staying offers free wireless access, which has given me a chance to rediscover Vista’s tools for managing wireless connections.

As with anything network-related, the starting point is the Network and Sharing Center, which you reach in either of two ways:

  • Click Start, Network, and then click Network and Sharing Center in the Command Bar.
  • Or click the network connection icon in the notification area at the right side of the taskbar. If I wanted to connect to a network that was already set up or had been auto-discovered, I could choose Connect or disconnect. But in this case
I want to manage network connections, so instead I click Network and Sharing Center.

Vho1000-network-center

In the left pane of the Network and Sharing Center is a Manage Wireless Networks link. Clicking it leads to this dialog box:

Vho1001-wireless-networks

This list contains every wireless network that I’ve connected to and then saved. Using the command bar, I can add a new connection, remove an existing one, or change the order of connections by dragging them up or down in the list. I can also right-click any connection to change its settings. This is especially useful when setting up connections to access points that don't broadcast their SSID, or for changing a connection so that it no longer automatically becomes active when the notebook comes within range.

Vho1002-change-network

When I return, I’ll remove this network from the list and verify that only my local networks are in the list. If I planned to return to this site, I might leave it on the list but move it down in priority.

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