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Home network

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Last Modified: 2010-03-19
Hi all.

I would like to setup a home network.

I have two computers both running XP HOME, I would like to share files as well as use one printer.

As far as the printer what are the best ways to go about this? Should I purchase a mini print server or simply connect it to one of the computers and then have the other one connect to it, the only downside would be that the computer must always be on right?

Any ideas would be great!
Watch Question

If you purchase a small print server, the print server must always be to be able to print from either computer. You don't have to connect the printer to another computer if you buy a small print server. Just plug into a small network switch.

On the other hand, if you connect the printer to computer A, just share it. Then, yes, computer A must always be on if you want to print from computer B.

Make sense? Hope this helps.  

First you need a small switch.

What printer model you have or you plan to buy a new one? if already have a printer and don't want dependency buy a print server.

If you plan to buy a printer then buy a hp 1022n that have a builtin printserver ability.

titterSystem Administrator

Setting up a network with XP Home is very very simple! I wrote this tutorial as a large .jpg for a friend wanting to do the same thing not so long ago. Here is a step by step guide.


I will rewrite it for you in the next reply. For now, it should get you started until I finish. As for printing, you are correct. If you share the printer from another computer, that computer would have to be on, and the computer connection to the share would need the correct print drivers as well. If you want to use the printer all the time, regardless of what computer is on, a mini-printserver box is what you need. Personally I would just share the printer, and not waste the extra 50-80 bucks on the print server. If you really want to print without worrying what computer is on, then you will need to purchase the print server.
System Administrator
I forgot! To share files over a network, you will need to be connected to a switch or router. If you are sharing internet connection between both computers, then only a router will work.

Also promised here is the updated text version:

1.) Start -> Control Panel -> Network Setup Wizard
2.) Click "Next" on the checklist screen.
3.) On the "Select a connection method screen" select “This computer connects to the internet through a residential gateway or through another computer on my network.”
4.) Next you will need to choose a name for each computer. They have to be unique, and for your sake you can name one Comp1, and the other Comp2, or you can name them anything you want as long as the names are unique, and do not match the local username of the computer. The description isn’t needed.
5.) This is the most important step ... you have to choose a workgroup name that is the same for both computers. This step puts each computer on the same Workgroup, meaning they are grouped together on the network.
6.) After choosing the Workgroup name it will ask if you want to turn on file and print sharing. Since you want to share files, and printers, I think you can make the right choice :p
7.) The next screen is just a review. You can click next if you think everything looks good. If not click back, and fix what needs to be fixed.
8.) It will now go through the process of setting up all the settings you just told it to.
9.) That is all there is to setting up the network. Click next, then Finish. It will ask you to reboot, click yes. You will now need to goto the other computer and then repeat the process over again. Just make sure they have the same workgroup name, and the computer names are different. You can also create a network setup disk before clicking finish, but honestly you can probably manually setup the other computer faster.

This should complete the entire network setup process. After a reboot you can verify that the computer name, and workgroup have been updated by right clicking on My Computer, and selecting properties (or winkey + pause/break). Goto the Computer Name tab, and verify the computer name, and workgroup is setup. Next I will explain how to share files, and setup a share.

1.) To share files right click on the folder(printer) you wish to share over the network. Then select Sharing and Security..
2.) Check “Share this folder on the network.” This will make the folder, and all files in this folder able to be  accessed over the network. You can also check “Allow users to change my files” if you want to add or move files from one computer to the other. Once done choosing a name, click Apply, then Ok.
3.) Once you click OK, you should see this little hand appear under the Folder you just shared. This just lets you know that the folder is being shared.

That basically is everything there is to share a folder/printer. Next I will show you how to get to the shared files from the other computer!

1.) Start -> My Network Places (If this isn't on your start menu, you can right click on the taskbar, and goto Properties. Click the Start Menu tab, select the Start Menu radio button, and click customize. Goto the advanced tab, and scroll to anc check My Network Places. Click Ok. Apply. Then Ok.)
2.) This will show all the folders shared on the network between the 2 or more computers. You can then open, and change files like a regular folder on your computer.
3.) If for some reason you do not see anything listed, click the “View Workgroup Computers” link in the Network Tasks pane. This will list all computers on your Workgroup, and you will be able to open the computer, and view any shared folder on it. It should also then update the My Network Places window.

That is it for sharing over the network. It isn’t that hard just takes the intial setup process, then it is a sinch. You have any problems just drop a reply, and I will get back ASAP!

Justin K

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