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Windows 7 : Changing the Default Connection, Managing Multiple Internet Connections

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12/30/2013 3:04:36 AM

1. Changing the Default Connection

If you don’t establish a connection manually before using an Internet program such as Internet Explorer, Windows dials your ISP automatically when you start these programs. If you don’t want Windows to dial automatically, or if you have defined multiple dial-up connections, you can tell Windows which, if any, of the connections you want it to dial automatically.

To change the default settings, follow these steps:

1.
Open the Control Panel, select Network and Internet, and click Internet Options. Alternatively, within Internet Explorer, you can choose Tools, Internet Options.

2.
Select the Connections tab and highlight the dial-up connection you want to use for Internet browsing (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. In the Internet Properties dialog box, you can specify which dial-up connection to use automatically when an Internet application is started.


3.
If you use a standalone computer or a portable computer that sometimes has Internet access via a LAN, select Dial Whenever a Network Connection Is Not Present.

If you want to use the modem connection even while you’re connected to a LAN, you can select Always Dial My Default Connection.

Finally, if you don’t want Windows to dial automatically and you prefer to make your connection manually, you can choose Never Dial a Connection.

4.
If you have actually changed the default dial-up connection, click Set Default.

5.
Click OK.

2. Managing Multiple Internet Connections

Life would be so simple if computers and people just stayed put, but that’s not the way the world works anymore. Portable computers now account for more than half of the computers sold in the United States. Managing Internet connections from multiple locations can be a little tricky.


The issue comes up with plain Internet connectivity as well, so let me share some tips:

  • If you use a LAN Internet connection in the office and a modem connection elsewhere, open the Connections tab of the Internet Properties dialog box and choose Dial Whenever a Network Connection Is Not Present.

  • If you use different LAN connections in different locations.

  • If you use a dial-up ISP with different local access numbers in different locations, life is a bit more difficult. It would be great if Windows would let you associate a distinct dial-up number with each dialing location, but it doesn’t—dialing locations just adjust the area code and dialing prefixes.

    The solution is to make separate connection icons for each location’s access number. After you set up and test one connection, right-click its icon and select Create Copy. Rename the icon using the alternate city in the name; for example, I might name my icons My ISP Berkeley, My ISP Freestone, and so on. Finally, open the Properties dialog box for the new icon and set the appropriate local access number and dialing location.

    In this case, it’s best to tell Windows never to automatically dial a connection because it will not know which of several connections is the right one to use; it might dial a long-distance number without you noticing.

Moving around from one network to another or one ISP to another can also cause major headaches when you try to send email. The reason is that outgoing email has to be sent from your email program to a mail server called an SMTP server. These servers are set up to reject incoming email from any unidentified user who is not directly connected to or dialed up to their own network. For example, if you have an email program that is set up to send email through your company’s mail server and you try to send mail from home, your company’s server will see that you’re connected from a foreign network—that is, your ISP’s network—and might reject the message, calling it an “attempt to relay mail.”

Likewise, you might experience the same problem if you are set up to send through your ISP’s mail server and then try to send mail from a wireless connection at an Internet café.

 
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