Ethernet connection - Windows XP and Windows 7


I have an old machine that is running windows xp with files on that I need.

I have a new machine with Windows 7.

I have 1 monitor and an Ethernet cable.

Can any one tell me step by step how I can connect the 2 computers and copy the files from windows xp to windows 7? Ideally I need to be able to see the windows xp drives from windows 7.

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Before we get to far along you are going to need either a network switch and TWO ethernet cables so both PCs can be connected to the switch or you are going to need a crossover ethernet cable (has two wires reversed, not usually sold at big box stores to my knowledge) which will allow you to plug the PCs into each other directly.

Once there the rest can be accomplished with sharing out files/folders.

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JAN PAKULAICT Infranstructure ManagerCommented:
Eternal_StudentAuthor Commented:
I was planning on plugging the computers together directly ... I have the cable.

I also have a wireless router ... if that is an easier option?
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Eternal_StudentAuthor Commented:
Hi Jan ... thanks for your links but seeming as I am on Windows 7 and the files are on Windows XP I am struggling to understand or follow the instructions in those links. I need some really specific step by step instructions. Thanks
It won't work with the computers plugged directly into each other (unless something has changed in the past couple of years with network cards).  You always need to either go through a switch or use a crossover cable.  They will not communicate directly over a standard cable.  If they both have wireless cards then yes, the wireless router would work.
You can boot into an alternate operating system environment like the Parted Magic LiveCD. It's a freeware Linux-based environment that is designed to help you add, delete, and manipulate hard drive partitions, but you can also utilize it to copy files & folders to an external USB drive:

And for those of us who may need it, here is a short Parted Magic tutorial in PDF format:

Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
FYI it's been several years since crossover cables were required -- virtually all modern network adapters are auto-sensing and will work fine when connected using straight-through cables.    However, to connect two PC's directly together does require either configuring one as a DHCP server, or assigning static IP addresses to the two machines ... so it's much easier to simply connect them through a router.

... since you have a wireless router, simply connect each PC to one of the LAN ports on the router (assuming it has a built-in switch, which most routers do).     After you've done that, do the following:

On the XP system:  Right-click on My Computer; select Properties; click on the Computer Name tab;  click the Change button; be sure the Workgroup button is checked, and assign a convenient name (e.g. your last name).   Also, in the Computer Name field, note what the name is -- or change it to whatever you like (e.g. "My XP System").    Then click Ok, and then reboot the PC>

On the Windows 7 system:   Right-click on Computer; select Properties; click on Advanced System Settings; click on the Computer Name tab; click the Change button; and give it the SAME workgroup name you used for the XP system.     Accept the new changes and reboot the system.

Now on the XP system, load Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder that contains the files you want to transfer.    Right-click on that folder and select Sharing & Security.  Click on the "Share this folder on the network" button [and the "Allow network users to change my files" button if you want to be able to copy things TO that folder and/or change things from the '7 system)];  and then click Apply.

Now on the '7 system go to Windows Explorer and click on Network ==> you should then "see" the XP system (it will take a few seconds to browse the network).     Double-click on the XP system, and you'll see the shared folder (or folders).     You can now simply copy the files to a folder on the '7 system as desired.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... Note:   Since you only have one monitor, you can do both of the steps for the XP system while it's on and connected to the display;   then do the Windows '7 steps.

It's NOT a good idea to "hot plug" your display; so you should shut the systems down before unplugging and moving the monitor between them (unless you happen to have a KVM or monitor switch box].

Probably the easiest thing to do would be:

1. Shut down both computers.
2. Remove the hard drive from the old computer.
3. Install old hard drive as a secondary drive in the new machine.
4. Power up the new machine, copy the files over as need.

3A - *Alternate* - With the old drive removed from the computer, use a cable to plug it into the new computer.
         These cables are very inexpensive, and if you ask around (guys at the helpdek, techy neighbor kid, etc) you will probably
          find someone to loan you one.

$16.49 -

$2.13  -

$6.53 -

Honestly, the easiest thing to do would be to utilize an external USB hard drive.  If you don't have one yourself, I'm sure that you can find a friend or family member who will let you temporarily use their hard drive.  It would be much quicker and easier to migrate the files from the WinXP machine using an external USB device than configuring an impromptu network or slaving out the original hard drive.
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Agree that an external USB storage device -- hard drive; USB flash drive;  etc. -- is the simplest.   But the question was how to connect the PCs ... presumably to do so at no cost.

But if the amount of data is modest, a USB flash drive would be ideal => just plug it in the XP computer; copy the data from the PC;  then shut down; switch the display; boot up the Windows7 PC; plug the USB flash drive in; and copy it to the PC.    16GB drives are < $20 these days:
The cable option I provided was $2.13.  The files would only have to be copied once.

The external hard drive or USB options would require a copy to the external drive, then a move to the new computer.
Then the process would have to be repeated for any files that were missed or did not fit on the drive.
Ednetman, you raise some good points.  However, it's also worth noting that if you ask around you are probably even more likely to find someone who can loan you an external USB/flash drive.  Many of them have a much larger disk capacity than what the typical person would have stored as personal data files, and the process is much more user-friendly.  If the author wants step-by-step guidance to network two computers together, they probably wouldn't be comfortable dissecting one of them in order to salvage their pertinent files and folders.
personally, i just connect the old drive directly to ide/sata cable on the new sytem as 2nd drive, and copy the files
that is the fastest solution i know
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