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What Do I Need to Access the World Wide Web?
A first-timer needs four things to connect to the Web: a computer, Internet browser software, a modem, and an ISP. You already have the computer, and Windows XP comes with an Internet browser called Internet Explorer. And, chances are, your computer already has a modem inside. (If it doesnâ€™t, youâ€™ll know when you try to set up your ISP, as described in the very next section.)
You can find an ISP listed in your local Yellow Pages under Computers â€” Online Services & Internet or Telecommunications. Or ask your local computer dealer for names and numbers. If youâ€™re desperate, choose MSN Explorer from the Start buttonâ€™s More Programs area. That lets you sign up for an account run by Microsoft.
A Blatant Endorsement Department: If you use the Internet a lot, please check with your cable provider to see if it offers cable modem service. No more thumb-twiddling: Pictures, graphics, and animation simply pop onto the screen. I love my Cox Cable service, except when it goes down every month or so.
A Because techies created the Internet, itâ€™s often cumbersome for new users to enter and navigate it. Sometimes, your computer can slip into the Internet just as easily as a crooked politician can. Other times, your computer makes you fill out many forms and enter a lot of numbers before you can access the Internet. Donâ€™t be afraid to ask a friend for help the first time you connect to your ISP.
A Donâ€™t be afraid to bug your ISP for help, too. The best ISPs come with technical support lines. A member of the support staff can talk you through the installation process.
Chapter 12: Cruising the Web, Sending E-Mail, and Using Newsgroups
A After youâ€™re finally signed up and aboard the Web, though, life rolls along much more easily. The Web is enormous, so it contains speedy indexes known as search engines that ferret out your favorite goodies. Type in a subject, and the search engine spits out bunches of applicable places to visit.
A Because Windows XP can run so many programs in the background without being slowed down, forgetting to disconnect your Internet connection is an easy thing to do. If youâ€™re being charged by the hour, keep a watchful eye on your Internet browser and make sure that you log off when you no longer need to access the service.
Setting Up Your Internet Account with the Internet Connection Wizard
After you have a computer, a modem, and Windows XPâ€™s Internet browser, you need one last thing â€” an Internet service provider (ISP). And setting up your ISPâ€™s account is one of the most terrifying tasks in Windows. (Except for setting up an e-mail account, but that comes later.)
To help you out, Microsoft created the Internet Connection Wizard. After a bit of interrogation, the wizard helps you and your computer connect to your Internet service provider (ISP) so you can Web surf like the best of them.
If your computer connects to the Internet through a network, donâ€™t use this wizard. Use the Network Setup Wizard, instead. (Chapter 9 gives you the rundown.)
To transfer your existing Internet account settings from another computer, use the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. It copies the settings onto a floppy; insert the floppy into your new Windows XP computer, and the wizard automatically installs them.
Chapter 12: Cruising the Web, Sending E-Mail, and Using Newsgroups 241
Hereâ€™s what you need to get started:
A Find an Internet service provider. This company provides a connection to the Internet. Ask a friend, coworker, or teenager for a recommendation. Donâ€™t know which ISP to choose? The Internet Connection Wizard can find one for you thatâ€™s in your own area.
A Get your user name, password, and phone number from your current Internet service provider. Donâ€™t have an ISP? If the wizard finds you a service provider, it dishes out those three items, so grab a pencil and paper.
A Find a modem. Most new computers come with a modem lodged in their innards. To see if oneâ€™s inside of yours, look for telephone jacks on the back of your computer, near where all the other cables protrude. Make sure a phone cable connects between your computer modemâ€™s telephone jack (the jack says Line, not Phone ) and a phone jack in your wall.
Whenever you encounter difficulties in getting your Internet connection â€śjust right,â€ť head here and run through the steps in this section. The wizard displays your current settings and allows you to change them.
Modem plugged in? Now youâ€™re ready to start the New Connection Wizard by following these steps.
1. Click the Start button, click More Programs, choose Accessories, select Communications, and load the New Connection Wizard.
Or, just choose Internet Explorer from the Start menu. If you havenâ€™t set up an Internet account yet, your PC wonâ€™t be able to connect, so Windows brings up Mr. Wizard automatically.
On the first screen, the wizard explains that it helps you connect to the Internet or a private network, or set up a home network.