Network Windows XP Pro Workstations

Hi, I have two Windows XP Pro workstations.  They are currently connected to the same DSL connection through a Linksys Wireless G router.  I have Quickbooks Pro installed on one of the computers.  I would like to network the two computers so that we could work on quickbooks from both pc's simultaneously.  I'm not sure if the two computers are actually connected to see each other.  How would I check this?  Does file and print sharing have to enabled for them to see each other?  Is this considered a peer-to-peer network?  Any help you could provide would be appreciated.  Thank you!
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b0lsc0ttConnect With a Mentor IT ManagerCommented:

That would be a peer to peer network.  You have to enable File and Printer Sharing and share the drive or folder inorder for the other computer to have access to it.  The router you use has already done part of the work but those steps you will need to do yourself.  If the information/program is only on one computer then you could get away with just setting up that computer with File and Printer Sharing and sharing that computer's hard drive.

Let me know if you have any questions or need more details.

mmj1Author Commented:
Thanks very much for the quick response.  I am hoping to work on this during the weekend.  I will keep you posted.
ImmediateActionConnect With a Mentor Commented:
To allow sharing between the two computers, navigate to the location Quickbooks is installed (usually C:\Programs Files\QuickBook (Program Files\Intuit\QuickBook maybe?), right click the folder and and select the sharing option.

Find out the ip address of the computer where the files are located.
(Windows) Start menu --> Run --> ipconfig/all

And then from the other computer, access the compter with the following command.
(Windows) Start menu --> Run --> \\ipaddress

If you have any problems, drop the personal firewall on the computer sharing the files; if you deem it safe.

*I am not familiar with Quickbooks functions, but usually, if computer 1 opened the file first, then computer 2 would have a read only verison if they opened the *same* file.

**If it all works fine, then hide the shared folder from the network, by going to the sharing option for that folder and add a $ at the end of the share name. The other computer would then need to access it like this.
(Windows) Start menu --> Run --> \\ipaddress\sharename$
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And thanks b0lsc0tt for letting us know the routers connectivity will work, you never know what funky stuff goes on in  in this fragmented IT world; I aint really done good time on a LinkSys brand yet :) I also wanted to give the basics on getting it going physically, because networking can be difficult first time round, especially when ya need to troubleshoot.
b0lsc0ttIT ManagerCommented:
I'm glad that you added your comments IA.  The router should work fine and I recommend Linksys brand for entry level routers.

Quickbooks may not work if you only share the program folder.  You could try that first but if there is an issue then you will need to share the whole drive.  In your small network and with a router to protect it I wouldn't worry about trying to hide the shared resource.  You can try it if you want but that also may cause an issue with the program.  Another way to access the shared computer from the other computer would be to go to Network Places.  If everything is set up correctly then it will appear there or by clicking on Entire Network.

By the way, I don't think this was already mentioned but networking will be easier if you have set up each computer as belonging to the same Workgroup.  You can change the default name but use the same name for Workgroup in both computers.  To access this set up go to Network Connections, select Advanced at the top of the window, and then choose Network Identification.
mmj1Author Commented:
Thank you both for your expertise.  You have really given me a plan to try to get this working.  I'm eager to give it a try...  Thanks and have a nice weekend.  I will let you know how it goes....
Very true about the Workgroup b0lsc0tt,

And those command I gave are for ground roots conenctivity mmj1; you should be able to use the network neighbourhood as well if the personal firewall is configured correctly. You can also use  \\ipaddress\sharename$ in the Quickbooks Open File dialogue box to navigate to the file.

*And the last tips is user accounts ;)

Have a great weekend all.
bbrunningConnect With a Mentor Commented:
One more tip for mmj1, don't use the IP address as ImmediateAction said. If you have default settings on both systems then the router is giving those systems dynamic IP addresses. Although on a 2 pc network you most likely won't run into ip address never know. The best bet is to find out the name of the computer and use that instead of \\ipaddress\sharename.

To find the computer name go to start menu/right click My Computer/Properties/Computer Name

Look at the full computer name.  Use that instead

Then the best bet is to map the drive so you don't have to go through the \\blahblah\sharename everytime.
Find the share/ right click the folder/select map network drive

Give it a Drive letter and use that to connect to the computer from My Computer or File/Open on quickbooks from then on.
darrenakinConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You need to verify that they are in the same workgroup first. You will then need to make sure that Windows file sharing is enabled. On XP you may want to adjust the NTFS file permissions for the appropriate users. If there are only 2 system son the network dont worry about it, just make sure that the other user has write capabilities. (VERY IMPORTANT) You will then want to verify if there is any firewall software other than windows running, i.e. Norton or McAfee, you will want to make sure that in the firewall config that the IP address for the ther computer is allowed. This will be vital to sharing and even to see the other systems across the network. After you have completed this you will want to map a network drive to the location of your companies quickbooks files. If you have the version of quickbooks that will allow you to have more than one user you will then be able to have more than 1 person in it at a time. If you have the single user version only 1 can be in at a time, but it can be accessed from wither machine.
darrenakin, Workgroup doesn't matter

mmj1Author Commented:
Thanks to all for you help.  Both computers seem to be seeing each other just fine.  I did give the two computers the same workgroup name.  I have not mapped the drive to quickbooks yet as I am still reading up on the "multi-user" info from quickbooks - but I think I have half the battle won.  I also shared the printer from one of the computers and it works fine from the second computer.  One strange thing though, the computers were working fine over the weekend but then today when one of the computers booted up it seems to have lost its profile.  I don't think this would have anything to do with enable the file sharing, etc.  I haven't been able to troubleshoot the issue yet but I will tackle that soon.  Again, thanks to all for your assistance.
It could just be a corrupted profile, this happens from time to time. If you will reate a new user, log off then log on as that user. You will then be able to go to My Computer - C:\ - Documents and Settings - Profile you think is corrupt. Here you will be able to copy the Favorites for Internet Explorer, My Documents, as well as the old desktop that the user had before. Just be sure and DO NOT Copy NTUSER OR NTUSER.DAT files. You can find the new profile by going to C:\ - Documents and Settings - (THE NEW NAME YOU CREATED). You should be able to post all in here. If you are using Outlook express you will want to Search for *.DBX files. Find these and create a new folder, copy them in there for safe keeping. If you are using Outlook you should be able to go back to the Old profile and Export to a PST file. Once the new profile is created and all settings and files are moved over, you can then delete the old profile. But be cautious that all of your data is there. It really wouldnt hurt to leave it for several days to make sure you are not missing anything. You can also download TWEAKUI and use the autologon feature if you do not want to be bothered with other profiles.
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