How to connect 2 computers for file sharing;crossover cable connection.

crossover cableThere 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.

windows xp network card

Windows XP Professional network card

♦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.

local area connection properties

Local area connection properties

ip adress configuration

IP address configuration

♦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.

Sharing configuration in Windows XP Professional

Sharing configuration

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.

Network card in Windows7

Network card in Windows7

♦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.

local area connection properties

Local area connection properties

IP address configuration

IP address configuration










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.

advanced network sharing

Advanced network sharing

advanced sharing settings

advanced sharing settings

♦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.

sharing configuration in windows 7

sharing configuration in windows 7

  • 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” and hit Enter.If the system responds with replies from as shown in the figure,your network configuration is working and you can share as much as you want!

ping command

Ping command response


run window







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 pop up we know that our connection works.

the ping command

Ping command response.

  • 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).

shared folder viewed on XP

shared folder viewed on XP

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.

shared folder viewed on windows 7

shared folder viewed on windows 7

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.


Posted in Computer hardware, Networking, Tutorials and tagged , , , .

Daniel Gakwaya loves computer Hardware/Software.He is a Software Engineer at BLIKOON and lead developer of bliboard-The whiteboard system currently marketed by the company.He is known to hack around on any piece of tech that happens to pick his interest. More on his tech endeavors here
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  1. sir i am following in u r link but only i can access the folder not a drive then what i do

      • Have you configured sharing on the drive?In win 7 right click on the drive and choose properties.In the pop up window choose sharing and in advanced sharing tick the Share this folder check box.

  2. Nice to read your post ,but i have to know about troubleshooting & testing command for networking purpose,waiting for your reply on my email account

  3. You sure about that default gateway? Cause I have done this many times and left the default gateway blank and it worked just fine…

    • Great to learn that jp,I had always hard-coded it in my connections.Thanks for your input.

  4. wow, what a great simplified way of exchanging data!. so crossover cable here, does this mean my UTP cat6 qualifies to be used?

    • Hey ata,crossover is in opposition to straight through.Here is how you may take it.You use crossover cable to connect similar devices like PC to PC and use straight thru to connect different devices.Like a PC to a switch.It would work to my knowledge.Let me know if it works for you.

    • Hey Cj Sison,well for the internet you can’t directly do that with a crossover cable,right?(just kidding!).But you can set up one pc as an FTP server and another as an FTP client and your files will be flying in no time.Google should give you the options that are out there.

  5. 10Q, Your posted article is clear and easy to understand. I like your writting way. You are great. Please help us by continue writting important articles like this. I want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH! Again. (from Ethiopia)

  6. thanks very much sir you just make fill like a king in my hardware shop by teaching ny boss how to backup large files from pc to the next thanks alote gakwaya

  7. OMG, this article was so helpful!!! It explained a lot about peer-to-peer networking and file sharing between 2 computers. Thanks for all this information. It really helped.

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