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How to Share Files Between Two Computers, and Share an Internet Connection Using a Crossover Cable

March 28th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Networking

How to Share Files Between Two Computers, and Share an Internet Connection Using a Crossover Cable

Nowadays it is common for an average household to have more than one computer.  Transferring large files between multiple computers securely doesn’t have to be a daunting task; it can actually be quite easy. Since most everyone nowadays has a USB drive, or flash drive for transferring small files quickly; connecting two computers via a crossover cable would be mainly for larger files.  A crossover cable is also useful in situations where you need additional security and can’t risk your data with a USB drive.

The first thing you need to do is determine if both computers have an Ethernet port.  Almost every computer made in the last 10 years has an Ethernet port, so this shouldn’t be a problem. If both of the computers have Ethernet ports, then you are already halfway there.

A Crossover Cable is a type of Ethernet cable, usually the same size and shape as an ordinary cat-5 or cat-6 cable, however usually different in color, and different in wiring.  Crossover cables have wiring that “crosses over”; thereby bypassing the need for a hub, or other medium in between the computers.  The computers each see each other as part of a network, enabling sharing of internet connections, as well as easy transfer of files.  A normal or straight Ethernet cable will not work for this purpose; those cables are designed to connect devices through a medium, or a hub, not directly.  The computers will not see each other is a regular or “straight” Ethernet cable is used.

You can use an Ethernet crossover cable or a crossover adapter with a normal Ethernet cord.  If you don’t have one already, crossover cables can be bought from most local computer and retail electronic stores.  You can get away with a networking hub if you do not have a crossover cable and don’t wish to buy one.  Using a hub is akin to setting up a LAN, or local area network.  You would simply connect two regular network cables to separate computers, and then join them with an Ethernet hub, if you have one.  This is also simple, and quite secure.  Much more secure than an “ad hoc” wireless network since every computer in the network must be physically connected; not just in close proximity.

The speed of the physical transfer depends on the type of the cable you are using, as well as the networking capability of both computers.  The speed of file transfer via a crossover or network cable can be very high, as high as a USB cable in most cases.  Using a crossover cable is one of the fastest ways to transfer and share files between different computers as crossover cables can reach speeds of over 100mb/s.

What you will need-

An Ethernet or crossover cable.  Regular Ethernet cables are downright cheap; crossover cables are slightly more expensive.  If you have an older computer without a network port, then you most likely do not have a network card.  In this case you can use a USB to Ethernet cable, or a USB to Ethernet adapter.

Both computers will also need network cards.  Once again, this is not really a problem with any modern computer; however some older computers may not have the necessary network card, or necessary drivers to run these cards properly.  If this is the case, and you have valuable data you need to get off the computer, you can purchase and install one.  Usually this is easy enough to accomplish with the correct driver, which is usually found by referencing computer manufacturers’ website.

Once both computers have been connected via a crossover cable, a network hub, or a regular Ethernet cable with a crossover adapter, the computers are joined in a network.  All that is left to do is to run the network wizard on both computers, configuring the network.

Steps -

1. Connect Cable- First of all you will have to connect each end of the Crossover cable to both computers. You can use either end on either computer while connecting the cable.

2. After booting up both computers, you may need to set up the connection manually under network settings.  This is usually as simple as running the “network wizard” on both computers.

3. After a connection has been established, it is actually possible to share an internet connection between both computers.

How to Configure a Shared Internet Connection-

Setting up the Host Computer

The host computer is the computer which has the internet connection.  To configure the host, go to the Start button on the Task bar. Now go to the Control Panel and you will see several options. Now find the Network Connection icon and click on it.

Right click on the network you are currently using to access the internet.  Then right click, and then left click on properties. Under properties, click advanced, check the check box relating to allowing another computer to use the host’s internet connection.  Now the network status of the host computer should change to shared.

Configure the second computer-

To configure the second computer you will have to also access the networks, you should see a network with “limited or no connectivity”.  Right click on it and go to properties.  In the properties section you will have to double click on the Internet Protocol. Now you will find a new window. In this window check the icon that says automatically obtain IP address. Also check the option to Automatically Obtain DNS server.

All that is left to do at this point is to find your local network icon on your task bar with the yellow icon saying, “limited or no connectivity”.  Right click on this icon and select repair, refreshing the IP address.  Rebooting also will refresh the IP address.

Any browser on the second computer will use the internet connection of the host computer.

Voilà! You can now share files, and internet connections between computers.

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