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Managing Your Wireless Settings On Windows & Mac

Posted in Mac

If there is one thing that all computer users should know whether you are using a Mac or a Windows computer it is how to manage your wireless settings. Usually when I start talking about this kind of thing to my wife her eyes will just start to glaze over, but really, it is not as difficult a thing to learn as you might think. In this weeks Switching To A Mac Series Damashe will talk about managing your wireless setting from a Windows computer, and I will discuss how to do the same thing from a Mac. So sit back and put on your tin foil hat and lets all get ready to geek out.

Wireless Settings On Windows

Today, I will walk you through one of the most important things you can do on your Windows machine. We all need Internet connectivity, and Wi-Fi has become the preferred mode of obtaining this all important connection. Setting up a new wireless connection in Windows can be accomplished in many ways. I am going to walk you through one that should be simple and easy to do no matter your computer’s setup.

First, let’s get in to the Network and Sharing Center. I open the Start Menu, and type the letters NET in to the Search Field. Arrow down to “Network and Sharing Center” and press Enter. (Note, you can also reach this point by going to the Control Panel and locating Network and Sharing Center and pressing Enter.)

Once the Network and Sharing Center is open, tab over to “Connect or Disconnect.” Press Enter here and a list box will open, displaying a list of available wireless networks you can connect to. This list gives you the network name as well as details on it’s security settings, signal strength, and wireless mode, B, G, or N.

Arrow down the list until you locate the network you wish to join. Press Enter on your choice, then press Enter again on the Connect button that appears. If the chosen network has a security password, you will be prompted to enter it. Type the password then tab to the “OK” button and press Enter. (Note, if there is no password required, you will be automatically connected.)

Provided you entered the correct password, you should be connected to the network and will be able to access the Internet. This is important, after connecting to a network for the first time, Windows will want you to set the network location. In some cases, it will be necessary to press Alt+Tab until you here Set Network Location window. Your options here are to set as a Home network, Work network, or Public network.

Home and Work are nearly the same, because you should only select either of these options if you are on a network that you trust, such as your own home network or the network at your office. The Public option is generally reserved for public locations like a coffee shop or library.

Once you have set the network location, tab to the close button. To ensure your connection is working correctly, visit If you land on our home page, then all is well.

A couple of quick notes. To disconnect from a network, follow the steps above to get to the list of available networks. Locate the network you are connected to and press Enter, press Enter again on the Disconnect button.

Once you have connected to a wireless network, the default behavior for Windows is to automatically connect to this network when you are in range of it, so no need to go through this process each time you arrive at the location of a wireless network that you have already setup.

Enjoy surfing the web, and don’t worry, Scott will show you just how easy this is done on the Mac.

Wireless Settings On The Mac

There are several ways to manage your Wireless Settings on a Mac. The quickest and easiest way to get into your Wireless Settings is to do it from the Menu Extras Status Bar. To do this press VO+M+M.

Now arrow over until you hear VO say Wi-Fi. Depending on whether or not you are connected to a network what you hear will differ. If you hear VO say the name of your network followed by the signal strength
then you are already connected.

If you hear VO say “Not Connected,” then obviously you do not currently have a connection to the Internet.

Press VO+Spacebar on Wi-Fi and then arrow down to Open Network Preferences. This will open System Preferences on your computer and then you will already be inside the Network Preferences.

There are several other Network settings available from the Menu Extras Status Bar. They are:
•Turn Wi-Fi off. If you select this then your Wi-Fi antennae will be turned off.

•With Wi-Fi turned on you you will see all networks that are in range of your computer.

•The next thing you will hear when arrowing down is “join other network…”
If you select this the Network System Preferences window will be opened. This is where you will go to set up a new connection to the Internet.

•The last 2 items in this list are Create Network, and Open Network Preferences.

There are at least 2 other ways to get into Network Preferences on a Mac. One way is to do a Spotlight Search for Network or you can simply begging typing out the Network and you will most likely hear VO say “Top Hit Network Preferences.” Press VO+Spacebar on this and you will go directly into the Network Preferences screen in System Preferences.

The last way that I will tell you how to get to Network Preferences is to simply move to your Dock by pressing VO+D and then arrow over until you hear VO say System Preferences. Then you can either press VO+Spacebar or Command+O to open System Preferences.

After doing this you will need to Interact with the Preference Pane and arrow over until you hear VO say “Network.”

As you can see there are several ways to get into Network Preferences on the Mac and I am sure that there is probably at least a couple more that I didn’t mention.

Now you might be wondering what you do once you are in the Network Preferences screen? Very good question, I am so happy that you are paying such close attention. Read on and I will show you how to set up a new connection to the Internet.

When you first go into the Network Preferences screen on your Mac you will first see a location Pop Up button, It should be set to Automatic as long as you have chosen to enable Location Services in System Preferences.

Next you will come to a table with the following services listed in it.

•Wi-Fi and this will say “Connected” if you already have a wireless connection

•Ethernet, this should say “Not Connected” unless you have your computer hard wired into the Ethernet port of your Mac.

•Firewire, This should also say “Not Connected” unless you have something connected via a Firewire cable.

These are the services that you can have on your Mac.

So how do you create a new connection? Hold on, hold on I am getting there.

Lets assume that you have just walked into a Starbucks with your brand new MacBookAir. You want to enjoy a nice cup of Joe while you get on there free Wi-Fi to get some work done, or maybe you just want to do some reading of your favorite blog while you drink your coffee. I would suggest maybe the Delivering Access blog from Fedora Outlier but I am a bit biased.

When you fire up that new Mac just go to Network in System Preferences and then make sure that in the Services table that you are focussed on Wi-Fi. Now look for the name of their network in the list that comes up below the Services table.

I am guessing that it will probably have Starbucks in the name. Arrow down to it and then press VO+Spacebar on it. If they require a password then you will be prompted to type it in.

More than likely because this is an open Wi-Fi after you select this connection you will simply be on the Internet.

That is it. Now wasn’t that just about the easiest way to get on the Internet that you have ever done?

One more thing as the late Steve Jobs use to say. Once you have logged onto the Internet in a location, the next time that you are in range of that Wi-Fi signal your Mac will automatically
connect to it.

For more great informative posts just like this one check out the Delivering Access blog on Thursdays where you will be able to read about a cool Tip or Trick that you can do on your iOS device.