How to Network Two XP Computers

Level of difficulty: Easy

Networking two computers poses many advantages. This allows the computers to share hardware like printers, CD/DVD drives; share files without having to use a thumb drive or floppy disk; share one Internet connection; and support multiplayer gaming. Aside from those, networking two computers is a task that can be done easily.

Materials Needed:
- Two computers installed with Windows XP
- installed network card with appropriate drivers
Step 1
Make sure that the two computers are part of either the same domain or workgroup. If they do not have at least one of these in common, the process of networking them is not possible. To set this up, go to 'My Computer' and choose 'Properties'. Go to 'Computer name' and then click on 'Change'.
Step 2
Enter the appropriate information. Restart the computer. Make sure you reconfigure the other computer to have either the same domain or workgroup.
Step 3
You then need to reconfigure the TCP/IP Protocol Stack. Go to 'My Network Connections' and click on 'Properties'. Right click on the connection that needs to be configured. Once more, select 'Properties'. Check all the boxes for File and Printer Sharing, Internet Protocol, and Client for Microsoft Networks. Double click TCP/IP and set the IP addresses in the same range, for example: & with a mask. Click 'OK'.
Step 4
To be able to share files and drivers, launch Windows Explorer and then select the folder or the driver that you would like to share by right-clicking on it. Select the 'Sharing' tab on the menu that will appear. Under 'Network sharing and Security', select 'If you understand the security risks…' Choose 'Just enable file sharing' and click on 'OK' in the pop-up window that appears. Type the name of the share for the next step. The other computer should now be able to establish a connection with your computer.
Step 5
If a printer is connected to your computer and you would like the other unit to have access to it, go to 'Control Panel' and select 'Printers and Other Hardware' then proceed to 'Printers and Faxes'. You will now get a view of the printers connected to your computer. Select the printer meant for sharing, and on the left pane, click on 'Share this printer'. When the 'Properties' window is displayed, click on 'Sharing'. Select the share name and click on 'OK'. The other computer now has access to your printer and may directly print any file from its system.