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I'm one of today's best-selling computer book writers, with more than 15 million books in print.

This website keeps you up-to-date on my books, and your computers. Each week, I answer a reader's question on-line.

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Adding a second PC to a wireless network

Vista Network IconQ: I have a desktop PC in Windows XP Professional. I bought a laptop with Windows Vista.

Can both computers use my same wireless router to connect to the Internet?

A: Yes, you can use the same wireless router with both your old desktop PC and your new Acer laptop. Routers don’t care what operating system a computer is using.

A single wireless router can handle Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and even Apple computers, iPads, smartphones, and Internet-savvy home entertainment products like TVs, DVD players, and home theater systems.

Your one router allows dozens of computers and gadgets to access the Internet simultaneously.

Your obstacle is entering the wireless router’s settings correctly into your laptop. Just as with your desktop computer, you need to enter these three things:

  • The wireless signal’s name, known as Service Set IDentifier (SSID)
  • Its security type (usually WEP, WPA, or WPA2)
  • The router’s password

When you’ve entered those three things into your laptop, Windows will discover the Internet connection, and you’ll be online.

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