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Published on 04.12.07 by Brent Trahan

Browse a Network

Learn how to browse a network in Windows Vista.


This guide shows you how to browse a network using Windows Vista.


Before you can browse a network you need to make sure a few things are set up.

  • Make sure all computers on the network are on the same workgroup. If you need help checking your workgroup see my Change the Workgroup Name guide.
  • Make sure all the computers on your network have their network locations set to Private. For help with this see my Change the Network Location Type guide.
  • Make sure Network Discovery is turned on. Changing your network location type to private does this by default but it’s always a good idea to double-check. If you need help with this see my Turn Network Discovery On guide.
  • I’m assuming you’re using the Windows Vista firewall. If you’re using a 3rd party firewall you might have to change its settings to allow file and printer sharing.

How to Browse a Network

Using Windows Explorer

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Explore.
  2. Type Network in the address bar and press enter on your keyboard.
  3. After a brief pause you should see a list of computers your computer found. Double-click the computer you want to browse to and you’re in.


Using Run

  1. Start the run box by typing the windows key (key with windows logo located on the bottom left of your keyboard) + the R button (windows key + R). You can also start the run box by clicking the Start button, type run in the search box, and then press enter.
  2. Type the name or IP address of the computer like so:

    \\computer_name or \\

  3. You should go directly to the networked computer this way.

Password Protection

When you browse to a computer you might be asked for a user name and password before you can get access to a share.

Password protection is assigned differently to different types of shares. If you need help with password protection check out the guide below for the type of share you’re trying to access. Each guide shows you how to turn password protection on or off and configure who has access for that type of share.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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