Most ISPs can give you a copy of the Trumpet Winsock shareware program or the Shiva TCP/IP package that comes with Netscape -- just ask your ISP. Trumpet Winsock is freely available shareware (we thought that you would like that, although you should register and pay for it if your provider hasn't done so for you). They may also give you a copy of Eudora Light, the freeware version of the popular Eudora e-mail program, and possibly Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer.
Here are instructions for getting your Windows 3.1 system connected to an Internet account. First, open an account with the ISP (Internet Service Provider) of your choice -- see Chapter 4 in The Internet For Dummies for how to choose.
Making a Home for Your Programs
Before you begin filling your computer's disk with network software, make a directory in which to put it. You can use this directory for the programs you download and install.
Run File Manager, move to the directory in which you want to create the new directory (probably the root, a.k.a. C:\), and choose File@-->Create Directory.
Setting Up Your Connection Program
Some ISPs give you an automated sign-up program; AT&T WorldNet, Concentric, and other nationwide ISPs do, which makes setting up your account easy. (The Internet For Dummies, 7th Edition, Starter Kit Edition comes with signup software from MindSpring, a nationwide ISP.) Otherwise, your ISP should give you detailed installation and configuration instructions. If they do the latter, plan to spend some time on the phone getting your software set up correctly.
After you're done setting up Trumpet Winsock, you have a Trumpet icon in one or your Windows program groups. If your ISP provides another connection program, you'll see another icon. Double-click the Trumpet (or other) icon and follow the instructions your ISP gave you to get connected.
Setting Up Other Internet Programs
Your ISP should also have given you, at the very least, an e-mail program and Web browser. If your provider gave you Netscape Navigator (Version 2.0 or later), you have an excellent if outdated Web browser and an acceptable e-mail and newsreader program. Because Microsoft Internet Explorer also runs on Windows 3.1 and is free, your ISP may give it to you along with Outlook Express, an e-mail program. Parts III and IV of The Internet For Dummies, 7th Edition tell you how to use these programs.
Using UNIX Shell Accounts
In the unlikely event that you need to use a UNIX shell account (an old-fashioned, text-only Internet account), Windows 3.1 comes with the terminal emulation program you need to use. Run Windows Terminal and sign in with the user name and password that your ISP provided.
One last idea: AOL has a Windows 3.1 version of their connection program. You can call them and request the program, which includes e-mail, Web access, and chat all in one program.
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