Ever needed to connect two computers without going through a wireless network? I’ve written before about how you connect two computers wirelessly using an ad-hoc wireless network, but it’s not as fast as being connected directly.
If your computers are on a wired network, you can network two computers and then share files and folders, but it’s a lot of work! An easier way is to simply create a homegroup if you are using Windows 7 or later. A third way is to use a crossover cable to connect two computers and transfer data.
In order for this setup to work, there are a few things you need to check to make sure they are set up or configured correctly. I will try to go through all the different steps in this article.
Step 1 – Configure IP Addresses
When you use a crossover cable to connect two computers, the computers are usually not connected to a LAN network. In this case, you must configure static IP addresses for each computer.
You must ensure that both computers have IP addresses that are on the same subnet. For example, if you give one computer the IP address 192.168.0.1, you must give the second computer the IP address 192.168.0.2.
If you have used the above IP addresses, you must use a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0. If you use an incorrect subnet mask, the connection will not work.
Finally, the value for the default gateway must be the same on both machines. You can choose which IP address to use, but use it on both computers for the default gateway. Below is what my setup looks like for one computer:
It’s worth noting that you technically need the Default Gateway and Preferred DNS server fields empty because you really don’t need to connect to a device outside the local network. If you need more information about static IPs, be sure to read my post on how to do that assign a static IP address in Windows and Mac†
Step 2 – Crossover Cable
The second thing to check is that you actually have a good crossover cable. Basically, there are a few different types of crossover cables, but it’s best to get the standard crossover cable where the green and orange pairs are swapped and the brown and blue pairs are left in the same position.
The only pins that need to be crossed are 1.3 and 2.6. So just check your cable at both ends and make sure it matches the diagram. You can get a cheap 10ft crossover cable Amazon for $5 or you can get crossover adapterswhich are slightly more, but can turn any Ethernet cable into a crossover cable.
Step 3 – Local User Accounts
If you’re having trouble opening files either way, you may need to create a user account with the same name and password on each computer. This helps to get past any kind of Access is Denied errors that may appear.
Make sure the accounts are also administrator accounts! It is best to create a new account rather than renaming a current account.
Step 4 – Disable Firewalls
Finally, you should disable the firewall on both computers to make sure none of the file sharing ports are blocked. You can do this by going to the Control Panel and then to Windows Firewall. click on Out† If you are using a third-party firewall, you should disable it as well.
You should be sure to go back and enable the firewall once you have completed your file transfer. It is dangerous to leave the firewall off for an extended period of time as you are essentially exposing your PC to the entire internet.
That’s about it! If you follow all these steps, each computer should be able to access the other correctly. You can check the connection by opening a command prompt (click on Start and type in cmd) and tries to ping the other computer. Just type the word ping followed by the other computer’s IP address.
You should now be able to go to Post my network or Network in Windows Explorer and access the other computer. You will also have to set up a shared folder if you want to transfer files. Also check out my other post that talks about all the other ways you can share files between multiple computers† If you have any problems, post a comment here and I’ll try to help! Enjoying!