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home network setup

I'm having some troubles setting up a home network.

My computer - Windows XP Pro SP2
My mom's PC - Windows XP Home SP1
no router, just 40ft. of CAT5 cable

I've gotten it okay to where she can look at my files, etc, but I can't look at hers. In fact, her computer isn't even listed in the network window.

Is there a site somewhere that lists specific instructions for setting up the network?

And, once I get this all set up... are there any good network messengers? Something that works like aim/yim/msnim, but offline, through the network?
Thanks much...

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Use something else

In reply to: home network setup

Windows file sharing is slow, insecure, and unreliable. I would just abandon the whole idea right now in favor of something else.

My preferred solution is FTP, which has a number of things going for it.

* It's an open protocol, so anyone can make an FTP server or client that wants to
* It's a well established protocol, dating back to almost the very beginnings of the Internet
* It's widely used, and widely understood, so finding help with problems is easy
* It was designed specifically for the transferring of files between computers, and thus has a number of useful features lacking with Windows File Sharing (transfer resuming being one of the biggest)
* It's more secure: It's a lot easier to set up a SFTP server compared to trying to tunnel Windows File Sharing over an encrypted connection, and it's also very easy to set up accounts and restrictions with FTP compared to Windows File Sharing

The only real drawback to it, is that it doesn't have the same transparency that Windows File Sharing does, though this can also be a good thing. It makes it a lot harder for someone to accidentally delete something.

Since FTP is an open protocol and anyone can make servers and clients for it, a good number of people do. There are plenty of free ones and plenty of commercial ones with varying price tags. So, if one doesn't work out for you, you can just move along to the next.

I'd suggest starting with a free server and client combo known as FileZilla. Some people love it, others detest it, but it's as good a place as any to get started. Shouldn't be too much work to get them both set up to allow for file sharing. It's really no more work than trying to get Windows File Sharing working. More people have problems getting that to work than any other basic networking task.

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Mike, the only time

In reply to: Use something else

I use FTP is for uploads to my site or some downloads from others, FTP is NOT an easy way to connect a LAM. Maybe you can do it, but I should imagine not many know how. The protocols for XP work well enough if you follow a few common sense rules.

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Not that difficult

In reply to: Mike, the only time

Install the server, add an account, connect to server using said account. Use the FTP program to create some sort of bookmark so you don't have to remember specific IP addresses, and just use static DHCP if the router supports it. Most FTP servers for Windows will handle the majority of this for you. It's not quite as simple as a Mac, where it's automatically configured with user accounts on the machine, so you just turn the service on and are done, but it's not that much more difficult.

The number of things that can cause people grief with windows file sharing are numerous and hard to debug. In large part because there's no documentation for the SMB/CIFS protocol. No one, besides Microsoft, really knows exactly how it works.

FTP has been around for ages, it was designed specifically for transferring files back and forth, and you can go to just about any IRC network, newsgroup, online forum, email list, or other resource and be able to find help with it. It'll even work across pretty much every platform on the planet. Windows, Linux, Mac, and whatever version of those you happen to be running... All for a minor amount of additional work, provided you have no problems getting windows file sharing to work.

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Just a mention...

In reply to: Not that difficult

Please do include the security risks. There are a number of them among plain text problems. Encryption being another. Any packet sniffer can take a peek at information. Passwords are much more easily taken when using FTP, along with credit card numbers etc.. Another would be firewall issues, while the firewall first needs to support FTP, the problem is FTP needs to punch a hole through the firewall which the firewall will have a hard time if not NO filtering of the client side port. ...While many of these issues can be resolved you do have to learn quite a few work arounds and may not be so easy for beginners\newbies\or typical user. I would assume with your FTP knowledge, I don't have to go into detail and you know what I am saying here. But as mentioned , for others, this can be quite confusing.


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Doesn't matter

In reply to: Just a mention...

At least not in this case, where access is only going to take place over the LAN. You can just configure the FTP server to reject any non-LAN addresses, which would be a good backup to the router which should stop incoming requests cold if the port isn't forwarded. In any case, FTP is no less secure than SMB/CIFS if you're talking about accessing it outside of the LAN. It's probably marginally more secure, since even though passwords are sent in plain text (unless using SFTP or some other encrypted type of connection), someone has to know enough to monitor those packets to extract the password. SMB/CIFS just lets you right in once configured the way most people want it.

I also see that my predictions were bang on about problems with Windows file sharing. Of all the basic networking tasks, it is by far the most troublesome. It's also not worth the bother when FTP is trivial to set up, and is far more reliable and fault tolerant. After all the time and effort spent trying to get Windows file sharing to work, the person probably could have already gotten a working FTP setup up and going and been going about other business. Why people insist on doing things the hard way when there's a simpler, and all around better, way available I don't think I'll ever understand.

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In reply to: Doesn't matter

that is only your opinion that things are being done the HARD WAY. FTP is not for everyone. I have set up many computers on a home network using these methods and personally haven't had trouble and find it (to me)fairly easy. While FTP may be great for you, others may not care for it, or care to dwelve into it. For FTP users, your info is great, for those using NSW or don't know about FTP, may in fact confuse them even more.


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To me...

In reply to: Mike...

The primary goal is to get something that works. Sometimes it's ugly and/or annoying, but it's functional.

You all just decided to continue on, hoping to blindly stumble across the solution, which seems to elude you still. FTP may not be everyone's ideal solution, but it works, and could have been used while you grope around in the dark trying to figure which of the million and one possibilities is disrupting Windows file sharing.

I'll probably give myself a bald spot from all the head scratching I'm sure to do, trying to figure out why I seem to be the only one who recognized this possibility. So I will choose to think of it as an acute blind spot, or repeating lapse in judgment, as the alternatives are far less kind. I'll leave you to continue blindly trying to find the answer through dumb luck. Hopefully the gods will quickly tire of thwarting your efforts, and you will arrive at the solution soon.

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Bald spot...

In reply to: To me...

Well I suppose, scratching your head bald is up to you but even with saying it's our LAPSE IN JUDGEMENT, GROPE AROUND IN THE DARK, AN ACCUTE BLIND SPOT, DUMB LUCK, and <Hopefully the gods will quickly tire of thwarting your efforts, and you will arrive at the solution soon> That's different.

Any way, thank you for your OPINION again, it's much appreciated.


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Don't blame me

In reply to: Bald spot...

You should be upset with yourselves for not thinking of such a simple option that was right in front of you the whole time, not me for finally pointing it out to you. Right now, you have a choice. You can either swallow your pride, admit your mistake, and attempt to learn from it. Or, you can let arrogance win out, and be doomed to repeat this mistake until such time that you are either dead or have learned from it.

So, which sort of person are you? The wise sage who can admit when he's made a mistake, and tries to learn as much as possible so that the same fate can be avoided in the future... Or are you the arrogant blowhard who's never wrong, just has the supremely bad luck to be surrounded by incompetents wherever he goes? Got to say, so far, the odds of being the former... Not looking good.

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In reply to: Don't blame me

This is a help forum for computers, not ego tripping, let's please keep this to the subject at hand and if the postee wants to take your route then they will CHOOSE to on their own. Until then , let's try to solve their issue.


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In reply to: home network setup

First of all, I assume you know how to run the network setup wizard. Starting on one pc, run the wizard, when it asks you to make a disk, do so. Use either floppy or CD and finish.

Now go to the other computer, use the disk to run the wizard and setup and complete the process which you no longer would need to make a disk.

Restart both pcs. Now right click on the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose properties and then the Computer Name tab. Click the Change tab and look to make sure it is part of the workgroup and has the correct workgroup listed, along with the correct computer name. Do this to both computers, restart both. Then with a couple of things in mind...

1. Make sure BOTH workgroups are of the same name.

2. Make sure BOTH pcs are of UNIQUE computer names(not the same).

3. A lot depends on your firewall, I would temporarily disable it when doing this and it may still block your sharing and you may need to post back on what firewall and settings.

4. Make sure your file and printer sharing is enabled. If it won't work after the above steps, this may be an issue but let me know.


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and the problems continue...

In reply to: Troubles...

K, I ran it... brought the setup to the other PC, ran it, still nothing. Both computers are on the same workgroup, both are unique, I restarted each PC, AND neither of them have a firewall.

Before I forget, how do I turn on file & printer sharing? Actually, a note - when I ran the wizard this time (on my PC), it actually asked me if I wanted to turn it on - it hadn't ever done that before. However, when I went to my mom's PC, it didn't ask me on there.

So it's just like before; my files are shared, while hers aren't. In her Network Places, it lists her shared folders as well as mine. In my Network Places, it only shows MY shared folders. When I click ''Entire Network,'' then ''Microsoft Windows Network,'' it takes a long time and then it shows ''Mshome.'' A long time later, it shows both my computer and hers. If I try to click on her computer, it pops up a message saying ''\\Dell is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.
Logon failure: the user has not granted the requested logon type at this computer.''

Dell is the name of her computer, since it is a Dell. I built mine, so it's just my initials, ''CK.''

And now, as I was going through the steps again to type them, it wouldn't let me into mshome. I clicked it, and got a similar message to the one I typed above.

Why are networks so difficult?

Thanks for trying, Paul... you have any ideas past this? Could it be some weird conflict with Home & Professional? I've heard many times that Home and Pro are exactly the same thing except MS crippled the networking ability of Home.

It seems like in Win2000, all ya had to do to network two computers was to plug a cable into the two of 'em, and they were just ''there,'' without any real setup.

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Neither has a firewall ???

In reply to: and the problems continue...

You state that neither has a firewall. Fully updated Windows XP has at least Windows Firewall installed. What is its status?

If you have a Norton or McAfee suite installed, then there is a firewall in each of those.

Don't mean to beat a dead horse--just being thorough.

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MS firewall, yes; but it's turned off

In reply to: Neither has a firewall ???

Yeah, of course both computers have Windows' firewall, but I turned those off. Call me careless, but the only security app I'm running is AVG. And that's after the mild insistance of one of my computer teachers.

However, I can't remember a time in the past few years that I've had a virus or malware. My stepfather's computer had some annoying thing, but I couldn't get rid of it... finally, I just formatted the computer, and voila. I guess that's my approach to everything; if it doesn't work, reinstall it.
Most days, I monitor my task manager's processes and make sure nothing unknown is running. If I find something weird, I google it, and then go from there. I don't visit sites I don't know very often, I don't download a whole lot of stuff, and I'm of the thought process that I'm simply one small user in a pool of millions, so what's the chance anyone will take interest in me?

As a result, computer bootup time is rather quick, the computer is responsive during use, and I rarely experience any instability.

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excellent chance

In reply to: MS firewall, yes; but it's turned off

So what's the chance anyone will take interest in me?

Essentially close to nobody taking an interest in you, in particular. In general, however, there are thousands of automated attacks that may target you without regard to who or what you are.

It's likely that if you are connected to DSL/Cable or better, then you are toast.

If I were you, I'd install Ewido, update it and scan. I'd also install free ZoneAlarm to get alerts on what programs are sending and receiving (and attacking).
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To Ck87.JF

In reply to: MS firewall, yes; but it's turned off

Firstly, enable those firewalls again, do full scans as detailed in later posts, then go to Control Panel/Network Connections and then go to the LAN symbol (it's the 2nd down), right click on it and then choose Proerties. When you're in here go to the Advanced page and click on the Settings button at the top. Make sure that the firewall connection is off for the LAN. This should enable both machines to "see" each other properly.

Now as far as file and printer sharing is concerned, this is in two sections. First for file sharing, open My Computer, then right click on the drive you want to share (if you want to share optical drives share these as well). Go to Proerties then the Sharing page click on the type in blue to enable sharing. Follow the instructions given you and you should then see a hand curled under the drive(s). Secondly to enale printer sharing, go to Start/Settings/Printers and Faxes, choose the printer and/or fax, again right click on the icon, go to Properties then the Sharing page, again follow the instructions and you should seea hand curled under the icon(s).

This should now enable both machines to talk to each other. Just remember, disable ANY form of firewall on the LAN system - but DO keep ii enabled on you intrnet connection(s). Keep you anti-virus and spyware/malware detectors up-to-date and run them regularly.

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In reply to: To Ck87.JF

I have that on my PC, it being Pro. On Mom's PC, it's slightly different, but I did something similar to disable her firewall. So yeah, both computers have the firewall off.

Something interesting to note about filesharing... when I'd run the network setup wizard, on my computer (Pro), it'd ask if I wanted to turn file sharing on/off, but it never asked me that in the wizard on Mom's computer (Home). Is there some weird thing with Home computers that file sharing is strange?

Anyway, on both computers, we have folders with the hand under them, as I set them up to share, plus there's the default shared documents folder... but I can't even get to that on her PC.

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In reply to: firewalls

What you are seeing (or not seeing) are some of the tiny differences between XP Pro and XP Home - they will still connect though.

You will have a new icon on the desktop on each computer, for Network connections. You will have to open this and set it to map the network drive(s). At the end of this you may have to reboot the computers, then you should find that you can connect with each other and read each other's files.

With regard to the printers, it may well be necessary to install the driver software for you mother's printer on your machine, and the software for yours on her's, otherwise they may well not print.

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a network to the other computer... only?

In reply to: home network setup

It sounds like you only have one computer hooked up to the other, since you don't have a router. Is that right?

There is so much more you could easily do with a router, like being able to share a single Internet connection. Not that it can't be done without a router, but a router really makes it easy.

Being able to share files and being able to IM (online or offline) is not hindered by having a router, and in some ways either makes it easier, or even gives you other options to do that.

The other people have given you ideas of how and what to do with sharing files on different computers, I am only wanting you to consider the acquiring of a router.

Routers can also be very cheap. I bought a used wireless DLink router for $8 at a garage sale. As people go and upgrade their older equipment, the still very useful (not the latest, but still very useful) old equipment is cheaply available.

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re: router, plus other info

In reply to: a network to the other computer... only?

It sounds like you only have one computer hooked up to the other, since you don't have a router. Is that right?
>That would be right.

There is so much more you could easily do with a router
>I realize this; however, at the current moment I'm being quite cheap. The CAT5 cable... I got it from my cousin who does construction stuff and has a ton of it (in other words, free).

Being able to IM (online or offline) is not hindered by having a router
>I know this, but I was wondering if there was such a thing as a network messenger.

Routers can also be very cheap.
>Right now, the phrase "free" is in my mind, since I know I can set up these two computers with each other with hardware I already have. A router may help, but it's not necessary at the current moment.

Now, right now, we still have dialup. At ten bucks a month with Juno, Mom's happy with that. However, she pays $90 for the phone, so that's a hundred gone each month. I've told her about Charter broadband & Vonage being much cheaper, but I've yet to convince her. So until then, no router. I've been looking at them in magazines, though (Staples, Best Buy, etc).

I'm wanting a simple file & printer sharing setup with the added bonus of playing networked bzflag ( if possible.

It'd also be nice if I could get Juno's connection shared (I've done this before, and I think I could possibly do it again). Yes, I realize it's not very fast, but it'd appease Mom when she wants to be online at the same time.

Sorry... I guess I never really posted my intent in the first message.

Anyway, g'day, and thanks so far to comicfan, since you actually provided some related information. I appreciate the effort, mike, but if I can, I'd rather get Microsoft's network setup working than to use a third party app, mostly because it'd be integrated into the OS, plus I'd get printer support, etc... that, and I'm too lazy to download anything at the moment. Silly

See ya! Happy (I'll try your suggestion in the morning, comicfan.)

If anyone has any added suggestions in case the network setup wizard doesn't help, please feel free to comment.

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configure firewall

In reply to: re: router, plus other info

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In reply to: re: router, plus other info

Yes, please let me know how it works. Quick rundown: Remember to disable the firewall temporarily on BOTH pcs. If it then works , re-enable firewall and restart pcs. If you can't recognize each computer after firewall enable\restart then it's likely a firewall issue, assuming the nic cards are communicating properly and file and print share is enabled in both pcs. There are some other issues that may arise also but not to worry until the other steps have been taken.


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cable involved

In reply to: home network setup

Do you need and have you considered that the cable between the two systems needs to be a crossover cable, not a regular network cable?


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I agree with riptaurus

In reply to: cable involved

You need a CAT 5 Crossover Ethernet cable to begin with. It differs from standard CAT 5 Ethernet by having 2 wires reversed to simulate the configuration within a hub.

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yeah, I have a crossover cable

In reply to: I agree with riptaurus

When my cousin was making it, he has asked me which kind I needed. I told him I was connecting two PCs, no router, and he said that I'd need a crossover. I said okay, he made it, and shipped it off to me.

So yeah, that's what I have unless he messed up.

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Double crossed..

In reply to: yeah, I have a crossover cable

well, maybe not double but for one, don't trust anyone's made cable unless you are right there to test it yourself. I help at the college to show newbies how to make crossover and straight through cable, some pass so I tug on the ends a bit, bend them around and finally the don't work. Not because I was too rough on them, but because the ends may not have been tight\crimped correctly, broken wire, etc...

I have no moral to that story. Any case, it depends what you need for cable , you can buy a patch cable, or have someone re-crimp some new ends on the cable. Or more expensively buy crimpers and make the cable yourself. Those are your only options unless you go wireless currently.

Just to be sure we aren't jumping the gun here, many get confused on the windows firewall settings so let's go over this...

1. right click on My network places and select properties, go to Change windows firewall settings.

2. On General tab, make sure it's off, click on the Exceptions tab and make sure all boxes are UNCHECKED as checking them will actually set exceptions. Go to ADVANCED tab and uncheck Local area connection. Click OK. Do this on both computers.

3. Reboot.

If still won't work, do this...

1. Go to add\remove programs, choose Add\remove Windows components.

2. Grab a cup of coffee and wait.

3. Go to Network components, click on details, you may need to check the peer to peer box , and make sure you check the others, click OK. If they weren't installed , grab another cup of joe and sit back.

4. Do whatever it says to complete it, restart.

5. Go to My network places, double click to open, right click the local area connection icon, click properties, make sure the boxes are checked..Internet protocol\TCP\IP, File and printer sharing,Client for MS networks,QoS Packet scheduler. If not checked, check that box and click install.

6. Grab more coffee and reboot.

If all this fails, then it's probably your cable, a nic card not communicating, or your computer hates your guts and wants you dead. (kidding, that's my pc).

Hope this helps,


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Back to Message #1

In reply to: Double crossed..

WoW: Back to basics.
If your mom can get to your files: You shouldn'd have a NIC, Cable or Work Group issue...

I'd assume you can Ping her PC since she connects to you, if so, I'd look at these items. Is she running McAfee or Norton and you have to Allow a connection? Test by disabling. Set up a Shared directory on her PC and make sure the security is set for access to everyone. Attempt to connect to that share via Internet Exporer using full URL (\\PC-Name\Share-Name). And finally, Do you use a specific user to login to your PC? Try adding that same user to her PC.

Hopefully this helps, Good Luck.

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In reply to: Back to Message #1

There are 4 pairs of wires for communication, two may be correct and allowing one way transmission while the other two are not which may in fact be why the postee cannot see the other computer. And yes it CAN be a hardware issue, a NIC card has several layers of communication and if one is not working properly, (nic is bad) it will cause other symptoms.


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It is not the cable

In reply to: cable involved

You obviously do have a proper cable, one being properly crossed, since your one computer can see the files of the other. Without the cable being correct you would not get that far. Having a mis-wired cable, or the improper cable, is going to prevent any communication from either computer to the other.

In my mind, I believe you have permissions problems. Either your file sharing is not on the computer that can not be seen, or you have access limitations because a password is needed to access the file.

I don't believe it can be a Workgroup problem either, because Workgroups are needed when you are networking through a router, not when you are connecting directly from one computer to the other.

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As I posted above...

In reply to: It is not the cable

Yes, it can be the cable, while I said 4 pair, I meant two pair, 4 wires, in question. Two may be working for transmission to one pc while the other two may be incorrect and not allowing the other to be seen, this can in fact happen, or it could be 1 bad wire. A bad NIC will cause all sorts of instances of non communication, it isn't always a Won't or Will work scenario.


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