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Setting up a home network

 7:46 pm on Dec 19, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't know much about networking but I'm trying to learn more by setting up my home network. I have one desktop computer running Windows ME, one desktop computer running XP Pro, and a laptop running XP Home. I'm using a router and a cable modem to get them connected to the Internet.

My main goal is to be able to share files between the computers so I don't have to be copying files from one and moving it to the other etc....

My first question is am I gonna be able to do this without a Network Hub?

I've tried different things such as assigning static IP addresses to each computer in order to connect from one to the other. But it didn't work. Can anyone give me any pointers?



 3:10 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

1st question, does your router have a switch/hub built into it?
Is it a wireless router?
You said that you have assigned static IP addresses to each PC, how are they connected to each other?


 3:43 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just a quick list for you:

1) yes you need a hub (or switch) in order to connect all your computers. Unless you only have 2 then there is another option dealing with the way the ethernet cables are wired...

2) if you have some type of Internet sharing device (router) you can normally connect them to that (solves the hub issue)

3) make sure each machine is using the same workgroup (set the workgroup to whatever you want, just make sure they are all are the same word)..this will allow you to browse the network and see each machine...

4) make sure your IP scheme on each computer is like so:

192.168.1.XXX (any number between 2 and 254 here)
no two machines can have the same IP address..you'll get warnings when you start the machine if you have dupilcate IP's.

5) create a folder on the machine, right click on the folder and select "sharing".... create a share named "whatever you like"...any word will work..

6) go to another machine, open network neighborhood, then "entire network"....you should see your workgroup out there....open the workgroup and you should see each computer on the network...

7) it can take up to 15 minutes for the computer to show up when browsing the network...sometimes...

That should get you "linked" if you have any questions...ask away...

You guys Rock!


 3:44 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am not sure whether the router has a switch/hub built into it. I can check that first thing tomorrow morning. Would it say in the instruction booklet whether the router has this or not?

It is a wireless router. But only the laptop has the wireless stuff built into it, not the other two.

The PCs are connected to the router only. When I go to configure the router ( I have the option of assigning static IPs or letting the router dynamically assign IPs. What do you mean by connecting the computers? Do you mean literally connecting two computers with an ethernet cable or something else?


 4:33 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

my advise would be since this is a small network...to assign your own IP addresses...

sometimes, the routers have issues with releasing the IP addresses from computers that have left the network (turned off...). This is a "mock" DHCP server (dynamic host control protocol) the "thing" that hands out IP addresses on a "real" network...

Since you only have one computer connected to the wireless router, you won't be able to see the others since you can't physically connect them to the same network with out wireless cards...

the "connection" would be any physical connection to the same network....via wireless or ethernet cables.

the point is....they all have to be "wired" one way or another in order to see each other...the rest is exactly the same as the prior post...



 3:53 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

If the two desktop PC's are connected to the router, then they are "connected". The router acts as a "hub".
Is internet working on all the computers?


 4:55 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Alright here are some answers/explanations and more questions...

The laptop I have is mostly being used upstairs where the wireless connection signal is fairly low. Therefore, it is usually hard wired to the network. So from what you are telling me, the laptop and the desktop XP Pro should be "connected".

What I did then was assign the static IPs to each of the two computers configuring the router (being connected to the other desktop Win ME is not that important b/c it's mostly off). Then I used the Network Setup Wizard on each computer and created the same Workgroup, hoping that I'd see the shared files of one computer from the other one. But nothing happened. When I click on 'View Workgroup Computers' it tells me that in my workgroup is only the computer I am using and no other one. I have no idea why this is happening.

Should I manually assign static IPs directly on the computer leaving out the router? I did that first. The internet worked just fine but when I went to look at the router configurations the two computers weren't even showing up, as if the router couldn't even find them on the network. Do you want me to change the IP settings on the two computers (make them static) and then see if they can "find" each other via the Workgroup? Thanks guys....


 5:23 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

forget the network setup wizard....

Just manually assign the computers IP addresses...
Manually change the workgroup on each computer...

change the IP scheme from the first suggestion though...

You stated your router was at

so use the scheme of 192.168.0.XXX for your computers..

in this way...you can assign your gateway and DNS servers of on all the computers....this way...they all see each other...and they all get the internet at the same time...


 7:53 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Also, I was having the same sort of problem with a mix of XPHome laptop/XPPro desktop - could see the other machine from each one, but not access the other machine. Did a search here and found a post which indicated that in order to get them to access each other, NetBEUI needed to be installed (from the XPPro and XPHome cds, in the VALUADD/MSFT folder). While skeptical, I did install NetBEUI on both machines. It worked - first time. Something to do with XPHome in the mix, I assume....

If nothing else works, try that.


 8:25 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I did exactly as you told me.

I statically set the IPs on the two computers. Since I have the webcam IP being, I have the desktop IP now at, and laptop IP at

I checked again the name of the Workgroup so it matches. But no success yet. Should I remove the old Workgroup and create a new and fresh one? Maybe that would work. I don't know why they can't see each other......Any thoughts.....


 9:00 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

I did create a new workgroup simply because I had read somewhere else that that helped. Can't hurt I guess....

I don't have the laptop at a static IP. I set it to obtain an IP automatically....


 9:17 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)


go into your network properties...for the network card installed on the machine... (the adapter..)

ensure that you have the following installed..

- client for microsoft networks

There is nothing to configure for "client for microsoft networks" just make sure it's present.

open up the TCP/IP properties:

set the IP to 192.168.0.XXX (different for each machine)
set the subnet to (all machines)
set the gateway to (all machines)
set DNS server to (all machines)

ensure your workgroup is the same...on all machines...

once connected: at a DOS prompt: (command prompt)

type- PING

you should get a reply from the router..

try the same command for every computer IP address (except the one you are on...) 8-)

if you get a "request timed out"...there is a problem.
the issue could be an ethernet cable not wired or connected correctly, or the network card may not be configured correctly.

let me know...



 9:17 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)



 10:08 am on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm going to second the NetBEUI protocol recommendation here. It was the only way I could get XP/2000 machines to see the 95/98/ME machines. The NetBEUI protocol just simply works. Give it a try.

How to install NetBEUI on Windows XP [support.microsoft.com]


 2:13 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

NetBEUI is a totally unsecure protocol...

yes it will work for sharing, however you open your self to issues when connected to the internet...

Unfortunately, many Microsoft Windows users are unaware of a common security leak in their network settings.

This is a common setup for network computers in Microsoft Windows:

Client for Microsoft Networks
File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks
NetBEUI Protocol
Internet Protocol TCP/IP

If your setup allows NetBIOS over TCP/IP, you have a security problem:

Your files can be shared all over the Internet
Your logon-name, computer-name, and workgroup-name are visible to others.

NetBEUI (NetBIOS Extended User Interface) was first introduced by IBM in 1985. NetBEUI is a small and efficient protocol designed for use on a small LAN.

Windows networking technology is based upon NetBIOS and NetBEUI, which were NEVER designed to "go global". It wasn't ever meant to cope with foreign agents, competitors, pissed off ex-employees, previously significant others, or malicious teenage computer vandals with too much time on their hands. But when you hook your Windows-based computer to the Internet with this protocol installed, this is precisely who has access to your machine!

Just because you can "make it work" doesn't mean that it's the way it should be....


 4:42 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

bill: thanks, I believe yours was the post I initially located when trying to figure out how to make my machines behave....

Terabytes: yes, I do know all of that. If all you are doing is networking 2 or 3 machines (as I did) without needing to share net access (mine's just dialup - I don't really need to share that, besides the fact that it's almost a practical impossibility with the 2 machines I have, according to my friendly MS techie), then there IS NO SECURITY PROBLEM since my network is not "always connected" (in other words, I'm simply using a crossover cable when I NEED to access the other machine), and in fact was only set up to allow some of my files to be transferred back and forth desktop to laptop.

A little paranoia is a good thing, that goes without saying. And in fact, if there were another way to get these machines to access each other, I would have already done so, but there isn't. I had already gone through every step you postulated any number of times, with ZERO result. Each of my machines could see the other, but no matter what I did with sharing, etc. neither machine could access any part of the other system. NetBEUI solved the problem nicely for me, which is not to say that I will not seek another solution eventually, or that the original poster should leave NetBEUI in place forever, but it does give one an access point to work from while troubleshooting.

And in fact, I don't myself expect to need it once I upgrade the laptop to XPPro. You would have laughed outright at the waffling the MS techie did over the fact that XPHome in this case acts more like any of the older flavors of Windows than it does as XP.... which is why I didn't want it in the first place....


 7:24 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some interesting discussions flowing around here.....Thanks for sharing them....

Alright so I did assign static IPs for both computers. And I also created same name Workgroup on both computers. But they cannot see each other. However, when I use ping I am getting replies no problem....

Terabytes are you sure I'm supposed to set DNS server to on the machines? I have two fields, Preferred and Alternate DNS Server, and I put in the numbers that I got when I typed in 'ipconfig/all' in my cmd window.

Another interesting thing that shows up after typing in 'ipconfig/all' is this:
NetBIOS over Tcpip. . . . . . . . : Disabled
So now the question is whether I should install NetBIOS on the two computers or not? I do have cable internet and I am online all the time. Should I not do this and just rely on copying files the old fashioned way?


 8:05 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you have a jump drive, the copying would be easier in the long run.

If you really want to set up your machines to access the net the way a network should work, you would probably be well-advised to do some further research. Try a search for "setting up home network" - there are various sites out there which have that specificity. You might also find some helpful info on places like Tom's.... assuming it's still around (haven't been by there in a year or so.... hmmm. Maybe I'll go look m'self!) And some of the pc mags online might have articles which could help....

And note, I'm NOT saying that Terabytes' info isn't good info! Just that a: it didn't work for me; and b: I didn't need it to work for me....


 5:10 am on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

> NetBEUI is a totally unsecure protocol...

Yes, but as the original post states:
I'm using a router and a cable modem to get them connected to the Internet.

That would indicate that this is only going to be working behind the router anyway...so this is what a lot of sites recommend for setting up small home LANs. As long as you Disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP on the WINS tab of your Advanced settings you'll be fine using NetBEUI on your home LAN. The router itself is going to be making any local LAN connected IPs inaccessible to the Internet at large anyway...

NetBEUI certainly wouldn't be a great choice for a corporate domain or larger network, but for a small private LAN like this behind a router I don't see the danger.


 3:26 pm on Dec 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bill, that is correct. I am using a router which should help with security.

When I look at my LAN connection properties NWLink NetBIOS is not installed. When I want to install it I get 3 options: Client, Service, or Protocol. Which one should I install?

So after I install this on both computers it should work eh?


 6:01 am on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

You would want to install the NetBEUI Protocol on all your machines. If you have things set up properly it should just work.


 7:02 am on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

As a network technician (among other things) that does this sort of thing with anywhere between 2 and 200 machines on a regular basis, I feel the need to correct a few misconceptions. I'll start off by saying that if you follow some of the processes posted in this thread, you'll ultimately end up at your goal of being able to share files, but not with the cleanest or easiest setup.

So first, I'll dispell a few myths.

Static IP Addresses: A static IP address is generally needed when a machine is providing a service to another machine, usually a server. If your computers are not providing any services (web, mail, ftp, remote access, etc), then there is absolutely no reason to set them up with static IPs. The disadvantages include the real potential for IP conflicts on the network (a new computer joins and is given an address by the DHCP server that conflicts with a machine that has one assigned statically), and it spreads out administration of IP addresses across the workstations, not centrally. While these disadvantages are minor in a network of three computers, there is no advantage.. so why put yourself in that situation? Most SOHO routers come with DHCP enabled by default and are perfectly capable of handling this task. All of the settings that you've been told to type in manually will be automatically assigned to the workstations by the router, so there's no need. You will make the setup more complicated with static IPs. Though for anyone who currently has a setup with static IPs, there's not much point in changing it.

NetBEUI: This protocol has it's use if you're running Windows For Workgroups v3.11, but not for much else. It can also be used as a "I can't get it to work with TCP/IP" fix, but this type of fix is usually not the best.

NetBIOS over TCP/IP: If you're behind a firewall (every machine today should be), then there is no problem with this. And here's something I didn't see mentioned.. if you're *not* running NetBIOS over TCP/IP, then you will likely not be able to use your Windows Networking properly, which could drive someone to use an alternate protocol, like NetBEUI. This is used for Windows name resolution. On XP, you can modify this by going to your network properties, TCP/IP properties, clicking Advanced, and clicking on the WINS tab. You'll see three settings; Enabled, Disabled, or determined by DHCP server. Most DHCP servers will disable this setting.. so you may have to explicitly enable it.

If I understand you correctly, you have three computers (XP Home, XP Pro, and WinME). This is going to be fun.

It seems that to this point you've at least configured the physical layers (the three machines are physically connected and can ping each other). If you can ping but cannot browse, this is likely a NetBIOS over TCP/IP issue.

You can also try to specifically access a system by name by going to Start > Run > and typing "\\computername" where "computername" is the name that you (or the manufacturer) has assigned to the computer that you're trying to access over the network. This can be a more reliable way of accessing a remote system when there is no domain controller on the network. You can also try \\ipaddress.

XP Service Pack 2 will turn on your firewall by default on the XP machines.. make sure these are off (and they're behind your router, so they're not needed). Also, XP Pro's default security policy will not allow a user with no password to connect over the network. You'll either need to use users with passwords (that are common on each machine), or edit the security policy to allow blank passwords.. the former is recommended.

However, if you're up for it, your best bet would be to setup a Linux Samba server that each workstation uses as a common holding place for files. Samba is much more capable when it comes to Windows networking than ME, XP Home, or XP Pro are. It has the ability to run as a Windows domain controller (which would simplify accessing resources on the network).. and it could provide static DHCP if you have some reason to insist on static IP addresses. Static DHCP will use the MAC address of a machine on the network to assign the same IP address to the same machine every time.. so you have the advantages of static IP addressing (if you're running a server on that box) and the central maintenance of DHCP.


 7:03 am on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

...I have one desktop computer running Windows ME...


Actually, get it running Windows 2000 and your network (and ISP neighbors) will thank you... immensely.


 8:44 am on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

There is a site called "practically networked" which has helped thousands of people in your situation.
Search for it and follow their guides and you are set.


 10:56 am on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

seems awfully complex ...

i have an upstairs pc used for web and multimedia and a downstairs one for office type tasks. i kitted both out with 20$ wireless PCI cards, ran the SP2 wireless network setup wizard which worked perfectly, against all expectations. this is an ad-hoc network which shares internet connection, printer and files.

now, somehow when i boot my laptop, it finds the network and is able to map the hard drives of my two home pc's aswell as get online. ad-hoc is apparently only for two pc's but im doing it with three.

this is all without cables or routers and two cheap pci cards. all the IP's are assigned automatically. other than the wizard and the workgroup name nothing was configured.

give it a go ...?


 2:47 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

NickCoons thank you very much! All I did was enable NETBios over TCP/IP and the two computers could see each other via same Workgroup! It doesn't get simpler than that...

I'm not worried about Win ME, but I might give it a shot to see if it will actually work.

Thanks to everyone who was helping me out here. Much, much appreciated!



 4:18 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Im with NickCoons, there is no reason to setup static IP's on a home network if your router/switch supports DHCP.

As for using NetBEUI, you shouldn't have to use it.

Also, XP Pro's default security policy will not allow a user with no password to connect over the network. You'll either need to use users with passwords (that are common on each machine), or edit the security policy to allow blank passwords.. the former is recommended.

Unless you use the wizard, you'll have to set permissions for the folder being shared also.

If you are using wireless don't forget to secure your connection. Make sure your router/switch only allows the computer you want to connect to it to have access. If you don't, people can easily hook into your network and download p2p or whatever under your account. Don't be fooled by thinking because you get a weak signal in the other room that there aren't people with bigger antennas that can pick up your signal a block away. Whenever my cable internet goes down my computer automatically picks up someones wireless dsl in my neighborhood. I have spent many good hours surfing under someone else's account. It only takes a little time and effort to secure you network, just don't forget to do it.


 4:39 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)


<ad-hoc is apparently only for two pc's but im doing it with three.>

Ad-hoc will work with more than two workstations (obviously), but the downside is that the two workstations communicating have to be able to "see" each other wirelessly. If you're using an access point, the two workstations don't have to be within range of each other, just the access point; so this potentially gives you the option to double the distance between the workstations.


<If you are using wireless don't forget to secure your connection. Make sure your router/switch only allows the computer you want to connect to it to have access. If you don't, people can easily hook into your network>

I've actually built a mobile device specifically for this purpose:
MWRP [mwrp.org]


 6:06 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I did as you said........put it back to DHCP. And now all of a suddent I can't even connect to the Internet.

Does NETBios have anything to do with this?

It works when I assign the computer a static IP but with DHCP I am having issues......Why is that?


Never mind! My DHCP was disabled in my router properties. After I enabled it the Internet was back on......oooops....


 8:09 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

NickCoons: just gave this another shot following YOUR instruction set this time - with exactly the same result as before: can see the other machine from both of them, but cannot access the other from either one.

Went back to NetBEUI, and works fine. I still think it must be XPHome....

This 47 message thread spans 2 pages: 47 ( [1] 2 > >
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