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Set up a quick and easy Video Conference

From time to time we have customers who want to set up video conferencing between two locations. We have tried to set up a number of solutions (MSN, Yahoo, Trillian) and were very surprised that the easiest and quickest to set up was a Microsoft one. This is a simple and easy guide to setting up Microsoft NetMeeting, which is completely free.

NetMeeting

This guide assumes that you already have a Windows PC equipped with a functioning webcam and an internet connection. If you require remote or on-site support please do not contact us before referring to this page.

If you have a PC running Windows 2000 or XP:

  1. Upgrade now to another, secure operating system - your computer is at risk!

Go to Installing NetMeeting

If you have a PC running Windows Vista:

  1. Download NM30.EXE (1.6Mb) from this page on the Microsoft website
  2. Save the executable to your computer somewhere (Desktop or My Documents because it’s easy to find)
  3. Right click on the file and select Properties
  4. Click the Compatibility tab
  5. Put a check in Run This Program In Compatibility Mode For:
  6. Select Windows NT 4.0 (Service Pack 5)
  7. Click OK
  8. Double click the file, NM30.EXE, to start the installation

Go to Installing NetMeeting

Installing NetMeeting

  1. A NetMeeting installation dialog will open, click Next
  2. Enter your Forename and Surname as you want them displayed to the person(s) who you conference with.
  3. In the Email field you can enter anything, it doesn’t have to be an email address. So you could, for example, enter "JohnManchester" if your name is John and you’re in the Manchester office. This is the Username people will use to contact you.
  4. Leave the other fields blank if you like and click Next
  5. Put a tick in the first tick box and in the Directory field, remove the Microsoft server and enter in its place ils.kencomp.net
  6. Put a tick in the second tick box to have your details hidden from public view (people can pester you if your details are live, so we recommend you tick the box) and click Next
  7. Select your Internet speed and click Next
  8. Keep clicking Next until you get to the button Finish. Click it.

NetMeeting will now run and try to contact the ILS (Internet Location Server) you entered in step 5 above. If it cannot contact this server, just choose another one from any page that lists them (you can try this one for starters). Follow the instructions given to change the Directory server in your NetMeeting Options. The server we chose is in the UK and has few users online at any one time. This means little possible interference to your own video conference. All members of a NetMeeting conference must use the same ILS so, if you change server, remember to inform your colleagues.

At this point your firewall will almost certainly pop up and ask you whether you wish to block NetMeeting from using the Internet. Give it permission to run.

That’s it. NetMeeting is now running. Once your colleague also has it running, get him to tell you the Username he entered in step 3 of Installing NetMeeting above. To place a call all you need to do is enter the colleague’s Username in the field at the top of the NetMeeting window and hit Enter. The user on the receiving end has to have NetMeeting running in order to receive the call:

NetMeeting

When the call connects you will see the user(s) connected in that call.

NetMeeting

As well as being an Audio/Video conferencing application, NetMeeting’s functions include a basic Chat window that works just like most popular chat applications, e.g. MSN, AIM, Yahoo etc. It also includes Share, which allows you to share an application on another user’s PC. It includes Whiteboard, an application not dissimilar to Windows Paint, but where what you draw is seen by the other user(s) in the conference. Finally it includes File Transfer, allowing you and your colleagues to transfer the files you are discussing.

NetMeeting has not changed since 2001, so do not expect to see all the bells and whistles of modern video/chat applications. However, it is free, a breeze to set up, and when we installed it with our webcam, it just worked.

More information about NetMeeting can be found here


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