Setting up networking for DOS
This how-to will describe how to setup Microsoft networking under MS-DOS. It will allow the computer to mount directories on other computers on the LAN. It will not, however, allow Internet access.
This guide will assume you have an IBM PC/XT or clone, although it should apply to any more modern computer as well.
The next step is to configure the computer you'll be connecting to. Most home networks now use the TCP/IP protocol by default, which would be too slow/memory hungry on an old computer. Therefore, it is necessary to install the IPX and NetBEUI protocols on the other computers.
In Windows 98, this can be done by going to control panel, Network, Add, Protocol, Microsoft, and adding "IPX/SPX-Compatible Protocol" and "NetBEUI". Once this has installed (you may need to reboot), you should also open the properties for the IPX protocol, and ensure that the "I want to enable NetBIOS over IPX/SPX" box is ticked:
A quick note on the physical connection to the network. Whilst this may be obvious, it is not always as easy as it sounds. I suspect many people are like me, and have an Ethernet switch with no BNC port; whilst a lot of 8bit network cards only have a BNC port (mine included). My solution to this was to put two network cards (one with a BNC connector, the other with RJ45) into a Linux computer, and set it to bridge the connections. Result: the old computer could see all the computers on the network, as well as the Internet (I'm about to start writing a tutorial about internet access on older computers via a network). If anyone knows an easier way of linking an 8bit computer to a modern network, then please tell me.
The next step is to download Dsk3-1.exe from the Microsoft FTP server:
This file is 844kb, so too big to fit onto a floppy. Assuming the pc has a 360k drive, this will require four blank floppies. Alternatively, you could use something like laplink to transfer the file to the PC. I suggest you run the file on another computer, and create four disks, with these files on:
Copy all of these files to the c:\temp directory of the pc, and run SETUP. This will display the welcome message below:
Pushing enter will display a prompt asking where to install the network client to, I suggest you use the default directory (c:\net):
After a delay of up to a few minutes, you will have to enter a user name, you must choose a name not already in use on your network; I chose A101:
At this stage, the installer will show the options selected so far, and allow you to change some of the default options:
From the above menu, select "Change Setup Options", then "Change Redir Options". This should be changed to "Use the Basic Redirector". This is because the Full Redirector will not work on an 8088 processor:
Return to the main menu, and select "Change Network Configuration", then "Add adapter". Select the type of network card installed from the list displayed:
Next, use TAB to select the top box, then move to and select the network adapted just added, and alter the IRQ/IO settings as necessary. It is particularly important that you set the IRQ correctly; as if an incorrect IRQ is used, it is likely the network driver will still load without error, but not work. If you reach the end of the installation, and try to connect to another computer, but get the "computer not found" error, it is possible that the wrong IRQ has been set.
Finally, select "Add Protocol", and add the "NetBEUI" protocol:
Return to the main menu. This will display a summary of all the options selected. Check that this is correct, and select "The listed options are correct":
This will install the network client. When it has finished, push enter, and the computer will reboot. Upon restarting, the computer should load network client.
You should now be able to map network drives. For example, you could connect D: to \\Server\PC by typing:
C:\NET>net use d: \\Server\PC
Just typing NET on its own will bring up a GUI that can be used to map network drives; although I have found this to be a little unreliable at times.