Installing the NetBEUI Protocol on Windows XP

Many small networks, especially those not connected to the internet or which were originally set up before the introduction of Windows 98 or Windows 2000, were set up using the NetBEUI protocol because it was the default protocol at the time as well as being the easiest to install.

With the introduction of the internet, the communications protocol used by the internet itself became a popular choice to use as a networking protocol as well since using it for networking as well as internet access negated the need to install two different protocols. With the introduction of Windows 98 and Windows 2000, TCP/IP became the default choice for networking protocol. Windows XP has now gone one step further by not even offering NetBEUI as an option for installing your networking.

So what do you do if you want to attach a new computer running Windows XP to an old network running NetBEUI. Converting the network to use TCP/IP instead may be a time consuming task that is not easy for the typical home user to implement. If one or more of the computers is running OS/2 then converting the networking protocol is not even an option as OS/2 does not support print and file sharing under TCP/IP.

All is not lost. It is possible to install NetBEUI for use on a computer running Windows XP and here is how you do it.

  1. Go to the \Valueadd\Msft\Net\Netbeui folder on the Windows XP CD-ROM and copy the Nbf.sys file to the \Windows\System32\Drivers folder (where \Windows\ is the folder where you installed Windows XP).
  2. From the same folder on the CD-ROM copy the Netbnf.inf file to the \Windows\Inf folder.
  3. Click the Start button followed by Control Panel, then Network and Internet Connections followed by Network Connections.
  4. Next right click on Local Area Connection and select Properties. Click the Install button on the General tab, select Protocol in the Select Network Component Type window, and click the Add button.
  5. Click the Have Disk button and then the Browse button and go to the folder where you copied the Netbnf.inf file. Click the OK button to accept the path then select NetBEUI Protocol from the list and click OK followed by Close.

You now have NetBEUI installed onto your Windows XP computer and can now add that computer to your existing network.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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