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Home >> Tutorials >> Windows Vista Ethernet Configuration

Windows Vista Ethernet Configuration

This section illustrates how to configure an ethernet adaptor, a network card that is used on an ethernet or "wired" network. It may also be referred to as a Local Area Connection. Although the focus of this website is to assist the reader to create a wireless network some devices must be configured and in many cases this can only be initially done by connecting to the device via an ethernet connection. Click on the images if you wish to see a full size version.

Click on the Start Menu - Click to EnlargeMost settings on your computer are controlled via the Windows Vista Control Panel. To go to the Control Panel simply click on your start menu located in the bottom left hand corner of your screen and click on Control Panel.

Windows Vista Control Panel - Click to Enlarge The Control Panel is divided into different categories that control different aspects of your computer. Inside Control Panel on the left hand side you will see either Classic View or Category View. Make sure the Control Panel is in Category View. Locate the Network and Internet category and click on View Network Status and Tasks underneath it.

Vista Network and Sharing Centre - Click to EnlargeInside the Network and Sharing Centre on the left hand pane you will see Tasks. Click on Manage Network Connections, which is usually the fourth one on the list of tasks you may perform.

Manage Network Connections - Click to EnlargeNetwork Connections allows you to view and configure the network interfaces on your computer. It can have several categories depending on what network connections are present or configured on your computer. Your ethernet adaptor will be found in the LAN or High Speed Internet category and will be labelled Local Area Connection, followed by a number if you have more than one ethernet card. Once located, double click on it.

Local Area Connection Status - Click to EnlargeThe Local Area Connection status box provides information on your ethernet adaptor including speed and its level of connectivity. The details button provides further information such as IP address, netmask, gateway and nameserver addresses, however they can only be viewed and not edited. Click on the properties button located on the bottom left hand corner.

Local Area Connection Properties - Click to EnlargeThe properties button will open up yet another box that allows the reader to view the various protocols etc used by the particular interface you are configuring. As we use TCP/IP exclusively on this website the one we shall double click on is Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4). Alternately you may highlight it by single clicking on it and click the properties button below and to the right.

Local Area Connection DHCP configuration - Click to EnlargeIt is in the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP) Properties that we finally get to the settings required to make the ethernet adaptor work properly. Its in this pane that we configure the local area connections IP address, subnet mask, gateway (or router) address and nameservers. If "Obtain an IP address automatically" and "Obtain DNS server address automatically" are selected by clicking on the circle to the left of the option (which places a dot inside it to show it is selected) then the computer will expect to receive these details from a dhcp server and no further configuration is necessary. This is referred to as being a DHCP client and is the default configuration for any interface on a Windows computer.

Local Area Connection Fixed IP configuration - Click to EnlargeIf a DHCP server is not available, undesirable or if you are initially configuring a device that does not have a dhcp server enabled by default you may need to manually specify your IP address etc. If you are unsure as to what is required please consider reading our Basic Networking Guide for further information. The example to the right of this paragraph is configured with an IP address of and has a subnet mask of so that it can talk to all hosts (computers, devices etc) connected to the same network as it with an IP address between and Its default gateway is, which is the address of another host on the same network which may be an adsl modem, wireless router or even another computer that has internet connection sharing enabled. It is through the default gateway that this computer will expect to be able to communicate with other hosts not on its own network. Finally there is the nameserver addresses. These are computers usually run by your Internet Service Provider that translate URLS such as to the IP address of the computer that contains the information your require, for example a website.

Once you have completed configuring your local area connection be sure to click ok on the bottom of the Internet Protocol Version 4 Properties screen and the click ok once again on the previous screen, Local Area Connecion Properties.Close of any other screens that may be open with the X on the top right hand corner until you are back to your desktop. Your ethernet adaptor should now be configured.



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