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Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

BertCoules
Grafter
Posts: 205
Registered: 12-07-2008

Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

My main PC (running Windows 7 Home Premium) has internet access via the PlusNet-supplied TG 585v7 wireless router.  I have a second PC (running XP Pro).  I've been wondering about the possible advantages of linking them together - a lot of my standard software only runs on the XP machine, so for example if I want to edit a wav file which someone has emailed to me (or I've downloaded) I have to save it from the internet PC onto a flash drive and reload it onto the second computer. 
Would linking the PCs mean that this would no longer be necessary?  Could I, in effect, access the internet directly from PC number 2?  What other advantages would there be if I did link th two machines?  Sorry for the very basic questions, but I'm new to the whole idea of networks (and I'm not even sure if a network is what I'm talking about) and I've found it hard to run down truly basic advice online.
If anyone can point me towards a really straightforward words-of-one-syllable article on the subject I'd be extremely grateful.
Many thanks.
17 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 17-06-2007

Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

Connect both PCs to the router - either through cables or set up their wireless connections. Both machines can then access the internet and can see each other on the network.
Then enable windows file sharing on both machines and off you go.
Not got any urls to hand as I'm running Linux but that is basically all there is to it.
Community Veteran
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Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

You need to make sure that:
* where you specify the name of the PC you have exactly the same workgroup name on both machines
* you have the same usernames and passwords on both machines
* in the Local Area Connection Properties you have File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks enabled
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
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BertCoules
Grafter
Posts: 205
Registered: 12-07-2008

Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

SteveA, thanks very much for that.
Quote
Connect both PCs to the router - either through cables or set up their wireless connections.

PC2 (the non-internet one) has no wireless capability, so it'll be a cable (Ethernet?).
Quote
Both machines can then access the internet and can see each other on the network.

I'm not sure how this "seeing each other" works in practice.
Quote
Then enable windows file sharing on both machines...

And again, I've no idea how to do this, hence my need for a truly basic walk-through of the procedure.  But you've given me specific stuff to look up, so I'm grateful.  I've also discovered that there's a Home Networks for Dummies book, so perhaps I should invest in that.
Jelv, thanks for the reply but once again I'm at a lower level of understanding than you're aiming your reply at.  "Specify the name of the PC" where exactly?  That's th sort of thing I need to find out.
Bert
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

On XP: Control panel, System. Select the Computer Name tab and click the Change button. Make sure Workgroup is selected and enter the Workgroup name. I assume it's very similar on Vista.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
BertCoules
Grafter
Posts: 205
Registered: 12-07-2008

Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

Ah, right.  Thanks.  I'll take a look.
Community Veteran
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Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

By default XP and W7 use completely different and incompatible network sharing mechanisms so you'll need to change some basic settings.
If you're as much of a novice as you indicate an hour of a PC experts time will sort it all out for you - money well spent.
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Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

Hi Bert
As has been mentioned, before you start, choose UNIQUE names for both PCs, and also think of a name for the WORKGROUP.  Windows 7 and XP, use differnet ones as default.  Set these up first, and then reboot both systems.
If you are lucky, if you open my network places in XP and networking on 7 both PCs should show up there.
Make sure both the Public folder on 7 and the Shared Docs on XP are set to be shared over the network, if they are they will have a little hand underneathe them. If not, right click the folder, select sharing and security, and highlight the button <share this folder>
it may be easier for you to run the network setup wizard, found under START - ACCESSORYS - COMMUNICATIONS - NETWORK SETUP WIZARD
This should do it all for you, including changing the PC and workgroup names. Post back if you get stuck
PS Ensure both systems have the same username and password as Jelv suggested, or you will run into other problems.
Good Luck
Community Veteran
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Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

Windows 7, to be more explicit, use Home Group sharing by default. You will have to turn this off before it will even see the XP machine.
This is new and different to Vista.
BertCoules
Grafter
Posts: 205
Registered: 12-07-2008

Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

Thanks to everyone for the replies; lots to work on there.  I've just discovered that my local library has the ...for Dummies book, so as soon as I'm no longer snowbound I'll see if I can't pick up a copy of that, too.

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Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

Quote from: HPsauce
Windows 7, to be more explicit, use Home Group sharing by default. You will have to turn this off before it will even see the XP machine.
This is new and different to Vista.
The odd thing is that a clean install of Windows 7 Home Premium immediately saw my home network and the computers on it (running XP) without me doing anything.
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Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

@OldJim, maybe you luckily didn't turn on HomeGroup?
I think, depending on the source of the install DVD, you may be asked if you want to use it.
I've seen several PC's that had it turned on by default and others where you positively had to decide to not turn it on - and the average user has no idea of the implications.
Another area that people trip over is password-protected sharing. To work "easily" with XP it's best (though less secure) to turn this off.
And turn on Network Discovery too.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

The install was using an upgrade disk - two installs with only the second being registered.
I don't remember turning it on but I do remember turning it off  Embarrassed
One thing I did find was that I kept losing the connection to the other XP computers (it wouldn't see them) and Network Map wouldn't work.
It turned out that XP SP3 sometimes doesn't have LLTD installed properly even if it thinks it has and you need to install it manually
http://forums.techguy.org/windows-vista/812883-vista-cant-see-xp-lltd.html
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/922120
Community Veteran
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Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

My experience is that Vista and XP networking was almost inevitably a nightmare and I'm glad to (mostly) see the back of it. W7 seems a bit more useable as long as you leave Homegroups alone, in fact I've had no significant problems in mixed networks apart from the inevitable printer driver problem - sometimes you just have to accept that sharing printers is not worth the effort  Sad .
BertCoules
Grafter
Posts: 205
Registered: 12-07-2008

Re: Setting up a home network (if that's what I mean)...

Quote from: HPsauce
...sometimes you just have to accept that sharing printers is not worth the effort  Sad .

Ah, so even if I do go for a network, perhaps I should think in terms of retaining my existing printer setup, which uses a simple USB switch to connect it to both computers?  It certainly works perfectly well, with the very useful full Canon toolbox suite on the XP machine and just the basic drivers on the Win7 PC (since the Canon software isn't compatible, alas).