For people sharing a single Internet connection at home, broadband routers are a godsend. You can easily share a DSL, cable or other broadband connection through WiFi or wired Ethernet. Not only can you share the Internet connection, but other network resources can be shared as well. These include files, printers, and other network appliances, like storage.
However, not everyone has a wireless network router. But you might find the need to transfer files from one computer to another. Or, you might want to share a printer plugged in only to one computer. This can be easily done with the use of an Ethernet cable.
In some cases, you will need to purchase a “crossover” Ethernet cable before you can successfully connect one computer with another without the use of a switch or router. Newer LAN cards will support a regular Ethernet cable, though, crimped using a one-to-one correspondence, and will do the signal crossing-over by itself.
This guide assumes that you have an Ethernet cable with each RJ45 end crimped on a “crossover” setup, or that your LAN card supports direct PC to PC connections without any additional setting or tweak.
- Power down both computers. If you plug in network cables while powered up, your OS might stall, or might not startup properly.
- Plug in each end of the crossover LAN cable into the RJ45 port on each computer.
- Turn on both computers. Sign in to the OS like you normally would.
Now, you will need to make some tweaks on both computers to let them share resources effectively.
- First, open the Computer properties by right-clicking on My Computer and selecting Properties. Give your computer a name under “Computer Name.” Give each computer its own, unique name.
- Choose a workgroup name. It doesn’t matter which you choose, as long as both computers are under the same workgroup. By default, this is named as “WorkGroup.”
- Open network properties. Under “My Network Places,” right-click “Properties.”
- Double-click “Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).”
- You will need to assign a unique IP address to each computer. For easy reference, call then 192.168.0.1 and 192.168.0.2, respectively. Subnet mask should be 255.255.255.0 for both computers.
You can now share resources across computers.
- To share files, right-click on a folder and click “Properties.” You will find a “Sharing” tab under this window, which you can enable to share files from this folder.
- You can access the other computer by navigating through “My network places.” Alternatively, you can type in the computer name preceded by two backslashes in Windows Explorer. For example, if the computer name was “computer,” I will type in \\computer on the Explorer address bar.
- Aside from files, you can also share printer resources. This can be an effective way to share a printer, without having to plug and unplug it.
The easiest way to network two computers is still with the use of a router. However, in extreme cases, you might find the need to connect two computers directly. You will need a crossover Ethernet cable to do this. Connecting computer-to-computer lets you share files, make backups, and share printer resources.