Networking PCs is the easiest way to enable transfer of files between them, as well as the quickest. With every version of Windows since Windows for Workgroups, Microsoft has worked to make networking Windows based PCs easier with each version, and with Windows XP, it does not get much easier. Whether you are connecting the PCs with Category 5 cables, or wirelessly, all it takes are a few pieces of hardware, and a few mouse clicks and you are on your way.
Place your hub, switch or router somewhere near both computers. This location will need to be near an electrical outlet, or you will need to run an extension cord to it.
Plug your Category 5 (Cat5) cables into the Network Interface Card (NIC) on each PC, and then into your hub, switch or router.
Connect your computers to the hub/switch/router using the Cat5 cables.
Right click on "My Computer" and select "Properties." Click on the "Computer Name" tab. Make sure both computers are on the same workgroup. If they are not, click the "Change..." button and make sure each computer has a unique name, and then select the radio button for "Workgroup" and set the same workgroup for each. Once this is done, click "OK," and then "OK" again. You will need to restart the computers if any changes were made.
Share out the drive or folder on each computer you wish to make accessible on the network. Do this by right clicking on the hard drive or folder icon and selecting "Properties," clicking on the "Sharing" tab, and check the box next to "Share this folder on the network." You may see a link instead that states "If you understand the security risks but want to share files without running the wizard, click here," go ahead and click it, and then follow the previous directions. Click "Apply" and then "Okay."
Set your routers Service Set Identifier (SSID) to something unique to make it easy to identify. Consult your manufacturer's manual for how to do this with your specific wireless router or access point.
Follow the directions of Step 4 and 5 in Section 1 to make sure your computers are in the same workgroup and have files shared out.
Right click the wireless icon in your system tray, and select "View Available Wireless Networks." Select your SSID from the list and click "Connect."
Follow Step 5 of Section 1 to share folders or drives over the wireless network.
- Be sure to change your router's administration password to something secure and not easily guessed. Likewise, set a wireless password that is strong, and not a dictionary word. Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters to create a strong password.
- When setting up a wireless network, be sure to use Wifi Protected Access (WPA) or WPA2 encryption with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), not Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP). Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) is extremely weak and easy to crack, and the TKIP method is also compromised, therefore these methods are not safe.
- ethernet cable 4 image by BlueMiniu from Fotolia.com