There are many ways to connect computers for file sharing;one of them is to pass through routers ,those magic black boxes we plug our PCs into to be able to surf the web.But what if you just want your two computers to be able to communicate without using a router?You can do it!All you need is a crossover cable and a few configurations on both PCs and you are ready to go!
In this article,we will be connecting a Windows 7 PC to a Windows XP Professional PC; if both of the PCs you are connecting run one of the above mentioned OS’s,just follow the steps relating to that OS in the following sections and they should communicate without complications.
- Step 1.Physical connection.
Connect the crossover cable to the RJ45 ports(Network ports)of your two PCs.The crossover cable can be easily found in local computer stores.
- Step 2.Configure your PCs for network communication.
• 2.1 Windows XP Professional network configuration.
♦Click on Control Panel > Network and Internet Connections > Network Connections and you get to see you Network Interface Card.(shown in the figure below).If it is disabled, right click and click on Enable.
♦Right click and select properties;
♦Highlight Internet Protocol(TCP/IP) and click on Properties;this gives us an interface that allows us to assign an IP address to the Network Interface Card of our PC.Our IP addresses will be assigned manually because there is no middle device to hand them over for PCs to collect.Usually it is the router that provides those IP addresses.
♦Choose “Use the following IP address” and enter the information as shown below and click OK;one thing to be noticed is the default gateway;in this particular configuration of two PCs communicating through a crossover cable,we have to make sure that the Default gateway of one PC is the IP address of the other and vice versa.
♦Choose a folder on your hard drive that you wish to share on your PC and configure sharing;right click on the folder and click properties.Choose sharing in the interface that pops up.Some PCs that are configured for the first time propose a wizard that sets up network sharing in a way that we are protected from internet attacks;choose the wizard if it shows up and check the “Share this folder on the network” box.The “allow network users to change my files” box means that they can add or delete content in your files.I recommend you check it since it will allow you to perform network edits.
With these settings in place our Windows XP Professional PC is done and ready to fly!I mean ..communicate.
•2.2 Windows 7 Network Configuration.
In windows 7 ,settings are split into two sections: adapter settings and advanced sharing settings;lets start with the adapter settings;
♦Click on Control Pannel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center> Change adapter settings and you get to see you Network Interface Card.(shown in fig).If it is disabled,right click and click on Enable.
♦Right click and select properties;
♦Highlight Internet Protocol Version 4(TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties;this gives us an interface that allows us to assign an IP address to the Network Interface Card of our PC.Manually enter the IP address information as shown in the figure and click OK;again , remember that the Default gateway of one PC is the IP address of the other and vice versa.To see this compare the two IP address configuration figures.
Next,we cover the advanced sharing settings.
♦Click on Control Pannel > Network and Internet >Network and Sharing Center> Change advanced sharing settings; in the window that pops up,make sure you turn on “Network discovery ” and ” File and Printer sharing”.For other settings ,do as shown in the figure below.
♦Choose a folder on your hard drive that you wish to share on your PC and configure sharing;right click on the folder ,click on properties and select sharing in the interface that pops up.Click on the share button .Select everyone in the popup menu and click on add.Click on the share button to close the window.Now we are ready to test our configuration.
- Step 3 Test the connectivity.
In Networking,there is a long and rich list of commands we use to test and troubleshoot networks;one of them is the “ping” command and it is used here to test if our network configuration is working.
On your windows XP Professional PC ,do the following:
♦In the start pop up window ,click on “Run”.In the small window that appears,enter “cmd”as shown in the figure.
♦In the black and white screen that appears ,enter “ping 192.168.1.103” and hit Enter.If the system responds with replies from 192.168.1.103 as shown in the figure,your network configuration is working and you can share as much as you want!
On your Windows 7 machine ,just click on the start image and enter cmd in the search box that appears,the same black and white screen appears and you can ping the Windows XP Professional IP address to check and see if the connection is working.This is what you type in the black and white screen ” ping 192.168.102″.If you replies from 192.168.1.102 pop up we know that our connection works.
- Step 4 Find the shared Folder on the other PC.
On your Windows XP Proffessional PC ,do the following:
♦Click on Start > My Computer > My Network Places ;the window that pops up lists the foldersthe other end of that are shared on the network(the windows 7 PC).
On your Windows 7 machine,do the following:
♦ Click on Start > Computer > Network and the folders from the other PC that are shared appear in the window that appears.
How is this important?
Personally I think this kind of Network Configuration is important in three ways:
File sharing between PCs and Savings in storage space:With this configuration ,from my Windows XP Proffessional PC I can watch the movie I have stored on my Windows 7 machine in the other room.All I need to do is share the folder that contains the movie on the Windows 7 PC and access it from my Windows XP PC.Since I did not copy the movie to the Windows XP PC ,some storage space is saved!
Moving large files between PCs:Normally,when I have to move large files,an external hard drive has to be used.With the network configuration we have just covered,an external hard drive is no longer needed for these purposes!Just share the source folder that contains large files you want to move ,access them from the other PC and copy them to thedestination location of your choosing.
Educational purposes :This is the simplest network configuration I can think of.If a student understands the concepts and principles involved in connecting two PCs for communication,it will be easier for him to extend them to 10,100 or 1000 PCs.No,I did not mistype!1000 PCs can be connected for communication.
We have covered so much about networking in this article .If you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to comment and tell us what you think.We hope this has been informative to you and we would like to thank you for reading.