Configuring A Wireless Network In Windows XP

Windows XP is the predecessor of Microsoft Windows Vista, and used to be the most widely used operating system before the arrival of Windows 7. The highlight of this version was the enhanced user experience. But the successive versions – Windows Vista and 7 offered a whole another level of user experience and Windows XP gradually faded away. However, there are still many users who are still attached to Windows XP.

It’s comparatively easier to configure wireless network in Windows 7 than in Windows XP. A local wired network is easier to connect and configure in Windows XP. But once you connect and configure wireless networks in Windows XP, you will be able to easily do this anytime.

Getting started

Wireless networks are automatically scanned and detected by Windows XP. The OS will attempt to connect to the discovered network automatically. However, if it doesn’t, you will have to configure the network yourself manually.

  • Step 1: Click Start button and then click Run

  • Step 2: Type ‘ncpa.cpl’ without quotes in the Run dialog box’s empty field and hit Enter
    This will open the Network Connections window.
  • Step 3: When the window appears, make a right click on the Wireless Network Connection icon
  • Step 4: Now click Properties in the context menu that appears. You will now see the Properties dialog box in the screen.
  • Step 5: Click the Wireless Networks tab

    Note: If there is no such tab in the Properties, then it means your network adapter doesn’t support Wireless Zero Configuration service. Make sure you have enabled this service and set it to ‘Automatic’.

  • Step 6: Now click the Add button in the ‘Preferred networks’ section

Configuring the network

The Add button in the Wireless Network tab in the Properties box will let you add wireless networks to the system. Here you will have to configure the network by naming the access point and setting up wireless mode in the system.

A Network name box will appear when you click the Add button.

  • Step 1: In the SSID box (Network name), provide a name for the access point
  • Step 2: Now select the appropriate network settings based on your network requirements. The computer will match the settings you selected with the router or access point configuration. If you don’t own a wireless router or any wireless access points, you can set the wireless mode to ‘Ad-hoc’. You may also have the same network name matching other computers.
  • Step 3: Once you are finished with selecting all the settings, click the OK button
  • Step 4: Now go back to the Properties dialog box and click ‘View Wireless Networks’ button which would be in the ‘Available networks’ section, just above ‘Preferred networks’. You will now see the Wireless Network Connection dialog box.
  • Step 5: Choose the network of your preference by clicking on the network’s name
  • Step 6: Now click the Connect button. This will establish a connection with the network that you have selected.

Note: The system automatically determines whether a network is secured or unsecured. So they may appear either unsecured or secured in the list of networks. If there is a network security enabled, then you will be able to see a gold padlock. In such cases, in order to connect to the network, you will need to provide the network password or number to connect.


You have successfully established a wireless connection in Windows XP. Windows XP Service Pack 2 versions validate all wireless networks before establishing the connection. After authentication, Windows will then attempt to acquire the network address. An IP address will be obtained as a result.

If this fails, the system will be assigned a private IP address automatically and you will receive either a Limited connectivity or No connectivity message. Make sure that Windows Firewall isn’t blocking the network, otherwise you will be unable to access it.

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