I don't really like the built-in tools for configuring the network settings on Windows XP. If for some reason I can't access the internet I never know where to look. Does anyone know of a good utility for fixing your internet or local network?
You can use a third party tool like that which comes with the network card (usually network cards have these tools). I have found that these tools are even worse than the Windows XP ones. I just got used to using XP methods, because they seem to work OK. All in all, you will probably need a whole tool kit for dealing with your network, as this realm of fixes usually requires quite a bit of troubleshooting. Just remember, you must change one variable at a time when you search for issues in a network. Also, you will probably want to get used to basic command line work. Here are some good resources for this: