Working with 'My Network Places' in Microsoft Places

Browse network resources such as printers, shared files, and weblinks

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My Network Places is a feature of Windows XP and older versions of Microsoft Windows used to browse network resources. Network resources in Windows include shared file folders on other computers, networked local printers, and weblinks (URLs).

Windows XP has been discontinued since April 2014. Update to Windows 10 to ensure that you receive the most up-to-date security and feature updates. We retain this historical content for people who cannot upgrade Windows.

Where to Find My Network Places

My Network Places in Windows XP can be accessed from the Windows Start menu (or through My Computer). Launching My Network Places opens a new window on the screen. Through this window, you can add, search for, and remotely access these network resources.

My Network Places replaced the Network Neighborhood utility found in Windows 98 and older Windows operating systems. My Network Places also offers additional functionality not available through Network Neighborhood.

Search for Network Resources

Through My Network Places, Windows searches for shared network files, printers, and other resources present on your local network. For example, use My Network Places to confirm that each computer set up on a home network can see the other computers.

To browse the list of available network resources, choose the Entire Network option in the left pane of My Network Places. Then, in the right pane, several options may appear for the kinds of networks available to browse. Choose the Microsoft Windows Network option to browse resources available locally.

Each local computer found in My Network Places is listed under its Windows workgroup name. In home networks, all computers should be set to use the same Windows workgroup, otherwise, they will not be accessible through My Network Places.

Add a Network Place

The Add a network place option can be found on the left side of the My Network Places control window. Clicking this option starts a Windows wizard that guides you through the steps to define a network resource. Here you can specify the location of the resource by entering a weblink (URL) or a remote computer or folder name in the Windows ​UNC format.

The Add a Network Place wizard allows you to give descriptive names to the resources you add. When the wizard completes its setup, an icon similar to a Windows shortcut icon appears in the resource list.

Along with the resources you manually add to My Network Places, Windows sometimes automatically adds other resources to the list. These are places on the local network you frequently access.

Remove Network Places

Removing a network resource from the My Network Places list works as in Windows Explorer. The icon representing any network resource can be deleted as if it were a local shortcut. During a delete operation, no action is taken on the resource.

View Network Connections

The My Network Places task pane contains an option to view network connections. Choosing this option launches the Windows Network Connections window. This is technically a separate feature from My Network Places.

Summary

My Network Places is a standard feature of Windows XP and Windows 2000. My Network Places finds network resources. It also supports creating descriptively-named shortcuts for network resources.

My Network Places can be a useful troubleshooting tool in situations where two local networked devices cannot communicate with each other. Resources that don't appear in the Microsoft Windows Network may be networked improperly. Resources will not appear in My Network Places for any of the following reasons:

  • Firewall interference
  • Workgroup naming
  • TCP/IP address settings
  • Other Windows software settings