planning on networking 3 pcs with Clear WixFBR-117

I am going to help a friend network 3 pcs ( 2 are XP and 1 Win7) together. He is currently using Clear WixFBR-117 for his internet connection and it has a built in router.

He is wanting to have a program that is installed on 2 of the pcs access files used by that program on the third. The files will all be uploaded onto the third pc and he will need to be able to open those files remotely via the other two pcs.  ( there is a reason for this setup - assume it wont change )

All 3 pcs are currently connected to the internet via the Clear Modem mentioned above. I have a decent pc knowledge but would like specific steps to make this happen. Is it as simple as "Sharing" the folder on the third pc so all others can access it?

Can someone please give me specific steps to allow 2 pcs access a specific folder on a third pc. (this will be done within a windows program ) The only networking that has been done is that they are all accessing the internet via the Clear modem mentioned above.

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Almost that simple. The problem with doing home networks like these without a domain is that each user has to be authenticated by the server or host computer. So share your folder on PC3 by right clicking the folder and going into the sharing and security settings.

For Windows XP Professional, you should first open a folder and click "tools > folder options" and under the "view" tab, disable simple sharing. This gives you individual permission options. If you have home edition you won't be able to micro manage as well.

Once you've got the folder shared, you can do the authentication part several ways. Here are your options:

1) Create one user name and password that is the same on all 3 computers. This way, when you connect to the shared folder, you get permission to view that folder without having to authenticate with a different account.

2) On the server computer (PC3) create logins to match the logins on the other 2 computers, so much like option 1 they will automatically authenticate correctly without being asked for a login via a popup box.

3) Connect to the shared folder and manually type in the username and password that is being used on PC3 to authenticate. This requires the users to know the account information of PC3.

4) You could create a mapped drive to the shared folder on both workstations and set the username and password to be saved and the mapped drive to auto-map after every reboot. Then point their software to the mapped drive which will authenticate to the server without the users needing to know the password. (This is another good choice that is fairly easy to setup).

5) You could just allow "everyone" modify rights to the folder that you are sharing and then everyone could access it on the network. This is the easiest method, but also the least secure.

So, there are lots of ways as you can see. Some are more difficult than others. It just depends on what you want. I tend to use option 4 a lot. But if the data is not important like music or something, I go with 5 to make it easier. If you have more questions feel free to let me know.
jpintexasAuthor Commented:
Ok,, can you run the basics for me? First I need to run network wizard on each pc, right? Otherwise the 3 pcs wont be on the same network, right? Currently they are just using the same internet connection. Can you give me the steps for that? ( xp and 7)

Then it sounds like I can create a mapped drive on each pc pointing to the shared folder on the 3rd pc ( server ). (step 4 )

I should be able to do the mapped drive portion, but as stupid as it sounds, can you give me the steps for xo and 7 for setting up a network? I want to make sure I get it right the first time.

Sure. I don't actually use the networking wizard. It may work, but I've always done it manually. The first thing you should do is make sure all the computers are in the same "workgroup". The default workgroup is usually MSHOME but it's recommended that you create your own that is different for security reasons. For instance, in my home I might would use my last name for the workgroup to make it simple, but different.

To do this, simply right click on "My Computer" and click properties. Click the "Computer name" tab and where it says workgroup, make sure that is the same on all the computers. In Windows 7 you'll do the same thing, but the computer name and workgroup are on the main page rather than a separate tab. Just click the "change settings" button to change it there.

Then to map a network drive, you simply open My Computer, and at the top, click "Tools > Map network drive". In Windows 7 you should just see a shortcut at the top to Map network drive. If the shortcut for some reason does not exist, in Vista and Windows 7 you can press the ALT key to get the file menu that you are used to in XP to pop up.

Make sure you've shared the folder first, then start the map. Choose a drive letter (any letter will work, but I usually go with something higher like P or M so I don't have to worry about my regular drives reaching that high). I recommend you use the same letter on all computers to keep it uniform. For the folder location, you may either browse for it or manually type it. Again here, I'd just manually enter the path "\\ServerName\Folder". So whatever your server's name is, and then whatever you named the shared folder when you shared it. You can check that folder is available by click Start > Run and typing the same information there. It should try to open the folder.

Once you've got that, check "Reconnect at login" and "Connect using different credentials" (That's 7, not sure exactly how it's worded in XP, but it will be very similar). Once you click that if you've shared everything correctly it should pop open an authentication box asking you to login with the server credentials. Do that, and choose the "Save password" box so everytime the computer reboots and reconnects the mapped drive it won't ask for the server password.

This should get you all connected like you've hoping. If you have any more trouble feel free to let me know. I'll have to respond in the morning as it is 1AM and I have to get some sleep. Good luck.
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jpintexasAuthor Commented:
ok thanks. That helps a lot! I wasnt sure of the exact steps, I had most of your information but not sure how to put it all together.

Only remaining question is just to make sure I am crystal clear, when you stated to "login with server credentials" that is just the username and password of the 3rd pc that we are sharing the folder of? correct? Same thing with "server name\folder" will just be 3rd pc name\folder, correct?

If I have a followup question regarding this issue can I add to this thread, or do I have to open a new question?

thanks again for your assistance.
Yes, you are correct. Whatever account you use on the 3rd (server) PC would be the credentials you type in the "login with server credentials" box. And yes, same with "server name\folder"

What is the second question? If it's not excessive I will try to answer it here. If it isn't something I am not able to answer it would be best to start a new thread so others will pay more attention to it.
jpintexasAuthor Commented:
system is making me include my comments, dont know why. Thanks for your assistance sjl1986!!! I appreciate it.
Haha ok. No problem. Thanks for the acceptance. Glad I was able to help.
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