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LAN & WAN Reviews

Network Magic - The Negatives

While these are good things, there are several drawbacks to Network Magic. First, if you have any print servers currently installed on your network, or ever had any in the past installed on any of your computers, the software will pick up these devices whether or not they are current and working. Figure 5 shows see a print server connected to our IBM PC.

Network Magic - Long gone print server

Figure 5: Long gone print server
(click image to enlarge)

However, that print server has long been gone from our network, and any attempt to send a print job to it will result in an error. It would be nice for Network Magic to figure this out before including it on the network map and according to Pure Networks a fix is in the works for this bug.

Second, Network Magic does not properly report applications added to your LANs PCs after Network Magic itself is installed. For example, if after you get it going you decide you want to further protect your PC with a software firewall, Network Magic will get confused and not report properly what is going on. The folks at Pure Networks indicate that they will fix this in the next version.

We had some other minor issues with the product, including the link to the "Install Network Magic on another PC". This is really asking the question "Do you want instructions on how to do it" rather than actually executing the installation. It would be nice to actually do the deed, rather than tell you about it - one of the big benefits of Network Magic is having it running on all of your network clients, and spreading its cheer and features around. But first, you have to do the running around yourself and install the software.

Finally, if you don't have a supported router, or if you go through more than one router to get to your Internet connection (such as two routers both doing NAT), you will likely be hard-pressed to make the Net2Go feature work and receive something like this less-than-useful error message:

Network Magic - Unhelpful error message

Figure 6: Unhelpful error message
(click image to enlarge)

There are workarounds for this, but they aren't pretty and will take time and the knowledge to poke holes in specific ports to get to the outside world.

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