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Windows XP Home is not a networkable or network friendly OS.
That is putting it mildly.
XP Home has a good chunk of that terrible POS Windows ME in it. I suggest you purge both systems of their OS, and if you wish to stick to windows, work with Windows 2000 professional, or XP professional.
Both OS's work on the NT platform, and network together well, (maybe not with any other system, but with each other). XP pro I believe has a better system for handling WLAN as well.
Windows XP Home is not a networkable or network friendly OS.XP Home will network just fine. You just can't join domains in a corporate LAN type of situation. It will work fine in a home LAN though.
XP Home has a good chunk of that terrible POS Windows ME in it.I don't know where you get that information, but it's not true. XP Home and Pro are essentially the same and based on the NT kernel...
The main issue is that when I try to access the XPs files from the 98 machine, it ask for a password ($IPC). I saw somewhere where if you set up an account on the XP machine, along with password and set up the same account and password on the 98 machine it would work. It didn't.
I do beleive when I first set up the network it worked just fine!
First thing to try is to enable Guest account on your XP machine. (Start, Settings, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Local User and Groups, right click Guest and Enable).
Second,(on your Win98 machine) would be to set your Internet Options, Security under Local Intranet, User Authentication, setting it to Automatic Logon with Current Username and Password.
Hope this will solve your problem.
Here's what I would suggest:
Be sure that you have created a 'new' user on your XP machine using the SAME user name and password that you use on the W98 laptop. You may also need to change the network login preferences in W98 from "Windows Login" to "Microsoft Client for Windows Login" located under "Properties..." when right-clicking on the Network Neighborhood icon.
Then you'll need to create a 'share' on at least one of your hard drives or folders. Your W98 machine should now be able to see the XP shared drive/folder.
I ran into the same problem months ago and this is what I did to get my W98 machine to see my other XP and W2K machines.
Hope that helps!