We now use our laptops to connect to the Internet using wireless signals in many places. Desktops are used on wireless also, but usually you connect once and donít change. With laptops we take them different places and want to connect using a wireless (WiFi) signal where we are.
There are two ways to find the wireless signal and connect. Not all wireless signals will be visible, some people and organizations hide theirs. To connect to them is beyond this weekís column. Some are encrypted and will require you to enter a code and some are open where anyone can just connect.
The first way is to right click the wireless icon (picture for wireless) in the task bar (the bar on the bottom of your screen). It will show you the wireless connections available (or tell you no wireless connections are available) and you will choose one and choose to Connect. It will begin connecting and if a security code is needed, it will request it.
The other way in Windows 7 (will be similar in Windows Vista and XP) is to go the Start button then to Network and Sharing (if does not show on the Start menu go to Control Panel then Network and Internet and then Network and Sharing). Then choose Connect to a Network and you will get a list of wireless signals available and you can choose one and connect. If it is secured Windows will prompt for a code.
Once you connect you will get a box asking what type network it is, Public, Home or Office. If it is a network where you know who everyone is on it choose Office or Home. If it is one in a place you donít know (or trust) everyone on it choose Public. Choosing Public sets some security settings so things on your machine are not visible to others on the network.