Windows XP Help

Peer to Peer Network using Ethernet

If your two computers have Ethernet network cards installed then you can create a peer to peer network using a crossover UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cable to connect the two. The all you need to do is set up a Local Area Network between the two computers.

You have a choice of three protocols you can use: Netbeui, IPX/SPX and TCP/IP (which is preferred).

Netbeui is Microsoft's early Workgroup type protocol, first used by Windows for Workgroups, it is very simple to install and requires no comfiguration. The disadvantage is that its very old, its not installed by default on XP and its non-routable, so its no good on a Wide Area Network.

IPX/SPX is the protocol used by Novell Netware until recently and is sometimes used by some games. Only requires a little bit of configuration such as the Frame type but thats it.

TCP/IP is the best protocol and is widely used especially for 'Business Class Networks' and the Internet. It requires more configuration than the above protocols but its has better support.

If using Windows XP in a mixed Windows environment, you may need to install the Link-Layer Topology Discovery service to see other PCs such as those running Windows Vista.

Installing a Local Area Network Connection

1. Install your network card.
2. Start, Settings, Network Connections
3. Select Create a new connection
4. Select Set up a home or small office network
5. Click Finish
6. The Network Setup Wizard will start
7. Read the checklist
8. Select Other from the list
9. Select This computer belongs to a network that does not have an internet connection
10. Enter a description and a name for your computer e.g PETERSPC (this must be unique)
11. Enter a Workgroup name. By default, XP uses XPHOME, on old windows it may be WORKGROUP. Make sure all computers use the same workgroup name or else will not be able see other shares on the network easily.
12. The computer will then set up the connection. This may take a few minutes.
13. At this point you can create a Network Setup disk on other PCs, use the Windows XP CD or just finish the Wizard.
14. If you select Finish, you then need to reboot.


LAN Properties

1. Start, Settings, Network Connections
2. Double click your Local Area Connection and select Properties
3. On the General Property page:
Connect Using: <Name of Network card>
Connection using the following items: Client for Microsoft Networks, File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks, QoS Packet Scheduler, Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
Show icon in notification area: Yes

The Client for Microsoft Networks is required for connectivity to Microsoft Servers and other Windows PCs so that you can connect to other PCs, browse for them in My Network Places and so on. This uses Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs).
File and Printer Sharing is required if you want to share folders and data between PCs. This actually uses SMB (Server Message Block) protocol which allows computers to transparently share files over a network. It is also used with Unix, Linux and MacOS X.
Qos Packet Scheduling is a Quality of Service service to improve network traffic between computers.

TCP/IP properties

Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is the main protocol used to transmit data between PCs (it replaces the old NetBeui protocol in older Windows). By default, it is set up for DHCP, so an IP address is automatically assigned by a DHCP Server or if using Cable/DSL then via a Router box. If you do not have a DHCP Server, then you should assign an IP address. An IP address is made up of 4 dotted numbers: Each number can be from 0 to 255. IP addresses are usually assigned by the network administrator at a work place, but for private or home users then you should use Private IP addresses, i.e. 10.x.x.x or 192.168.x.x.

If you leave the IP and DNS on Automatic then you can get the Alternative Configuration tab, so if you use a PC and move it a lot between networks and you want to keep one configuration with a static IP address different from others, you can configure TCP/IP here.

Alternative Configuration

Next we have the Subnet mask, if your network is split is different LANs (or subnets), then you use this value to determine which part of the IP address is the Subnet and which is the Host or PC number. For example, for, the first 3 numbers (10.0.0) is the sub net and the last number (4) is the host number.
The Default Gateway is the IP address of the router to allow you to access other LANs or subnets. If you only have one LAN then this should be left blank. If using DSL/Cable, then it is set to the IP address of your DSL Router for example.
The DNS Servers are names of the DNS servers usually provided by your ISP or provided via your DSL Router. If you have a home network then these are left blank. You can set up your own host names via the C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\Etc\Hosts file. DNS is required to access the internet so it can resolve email server names, web addresses etc.
If you click Advanced button you can modify or Add additional IP addresses, DNS servers and WINS servers if necessary. You can also change TCP/IP filtering for the Firewall on individual TCP and UDP ports.


Here you can enable/disable authentication for access to Wireless (802.1x type) networks and the type of encryption/authentication used (EAP, MD5 or Smart Card). You can also authenticate as computer when computer info is available and as a guest if computer information is unavailable.


Here you can enable the Internet Firewall Connection, this is provided mainly for Internet access and will prevent outside users from gaining access to your computer over the network. It does not prevent unauthorised outgoing internet data.To make full use of this, first make sure your Windows XP is updated regularly with the Security Updates from Microsoft's update site, and use programs such as Ad-aware to find and remove 'spy' software that may get installed on your computer which sends information to companies. For more advanced Firewalls, use something like Norton Personal Firewall, Mcafee Firewall or ZoneAlarm etc.

Viewing IP Address

You can view your IP address in 2 ways:
a) Start, Run, Cmd.exe and type IPCONFIG (use /ALL to view more information). Enter exit to close window.
Windows IP Configuration

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
IP Address. . . . . . . . . . . . :
Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . :

b) Right click My Network Places, select Properties, select Local Area Connection, right click and select Status then click on the Support tab for a display like below (if you enabled the LAN icon in the system tray you can right click it and select Status that way).

c) Open the System Information tool (msinfo32), expand Components, Network, Adapter and look for your network card in the list and it will display IP Address, Subnet and Gateway