set up home network 4 desktops

I would like to setup a home network on 4 desktops.
1) Dell Precision T7500 Workstation 10 years old
2) Dell Inspiron Quad core desktop 10 years old
3) Lenovo ?? small desktop 6-7 years old
4) Custon built new desktop high spec i9 CPU etc
Currently I am connected to Virgin broadband and router
has 4 ports, only 2 available for computers.
What type of hub do I need to accomplish this.?
It's not essential that all four computers be connected to the internet
Two would be sufficient. I have no intention of sending data out over the internet.
The main function would be to share files between all four computers.
Any help/advice most appreciated.
Ian BellretiredAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Put in a decent Wireless 4-Ethernet or 8-port port router attached to your ISP modem.

Make sure the router is a common (Netgear, Cisco RVxx) type of router that is fairly easy so set up and keeps everything on one subnet. You may wish to hook a printer as well for all to use.

Once done, follow my article on folder sharing to connect computers.

Good luck with this

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Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
You didn't mention anything about wireless internet cards. As two of my computers are 10 years old they aren't fitted. This is where
my problem started. What cards if any are required on each computer ? I'd be happy if you said none are required :)
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I always have a laptop around (I need that for my consultancy) and laptops are often wireless so I use a wireless router.

Older computers usually have (as you do) Ethernet. That is why I suggest a 4 or 8 port Ethernet Wireless router. Now you have the best of both worlds.

No need to convert an older computer unless you wish to, but there are lots of USB Wireless cards around that you can use. So many, that just look in Google -> Amazon for one you like.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
you can piggy back s cheap unmanaged switch to add more ports i.e.
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
That seems too easy David :)  I'm beginning to understand now that everything is wired therefore internal wifi cards are not needed.
Back to the old days when I set up networks long before wireless became popular. I was concerned that new technology demanded the use of wireless network adaptors but apparently not so. Are there any downsides to the 5 port gigabit desktop switch ?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
A decent 5 port switch does not pose any problems. I use them.
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
How would I configure the 5 port switch to interact with the router ?
or vice versa ?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Plug one port into the router and you are ready to go.
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
This hopefully would solve my 4 device setup.
In the meantime I have 2 computers connected directly to the router
but network credentials error message each time I try to connect to other computer despite correct details
being entered. Is there a way to bypass the network credential screen ?  I use 8.1 Windows
or should this be a new question ?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Look up my article on folder sharing and review it. Network credentials are not much related to just network technology.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
drawbacks in a small network = none
you should make a common user account w/password. suggest you use cmd prompt "net use * \\computername\share /persistent
it will prompt for computer\Username and password and save it to the credential store
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
That didn't work for me David. Perhaps I'm not understanding the code.
I'm getting a value error.
I looked at your article John and states to make a username same as on laptop.
Instead of a laptop I would like to create same username  for both desktops.
My username login on Computer A is a Microsoft email account and a password which I use to login.
As I understand from both your comments it would be preferable to use the same
login and password on Computer B  do I understand correctly ?  
The computer name (example)  BRONCO and the user is say Noddy  being  BRONCO\Noddy
Do I need to have both computers use the same login details (email address ?    (it would suit me)
and do I need both computers to have same user name (Noddy as in above example?)
I'm sorry I'm a bit slow :)
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You may need to set up the user name and password of the source machine (the one trying to access) on the target machine (the one you are trying to access).  I do that in more difficult situations. And that allows machines with local ID's and Microsoft Email ID's to interact.

You can also use the same user name login details. That may be easier for you and also works fine.
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
Firstly, I would like to do away with the login screen I find it unnecessary as
I have no security issues here.
To clarify let's call them computer A and computer B
On computer A   the computer name (example) BRONCO and the user is Noddy

So, do I now go onto computer B and type in cmd  prompt  and what exactly ?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
That is not possible. Keep user accounts and passwords. Home Group has vanished. So you do need to use User Names and Passwords.

For part two:  NET USE X: \\bronco\folder   Preset return and authenticate with User Name and Password,
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
Seems not as simple as that. I get a load of stuff
The syntax of this command is
computername sharename volume
user name domain name
smart card
persistent yes no etc etc
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
That is strange. I use NET USE all the time.

Try to capture a screen shot and post back here.
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
I will do that tomorrow as this old boy needs some sleep.
Thanks to both of you for your patience. My head needs a pillow fast :)
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
My username login on Computer A is a Microsoft email account and a password which I use to login won't work in this scenario.  it has to be computername\username.. to find out what is the proper username to use from a command prompt type 'whoami'

Open in new window

fred hakimRetired ITCommented:
The easiest way to avoid the ISP login, is by connecting your own router then building your LAN behind it.    

You setup the ISP login on the router then all your devices should all work just fine.  

If you are on a tight budget, TP-Link and ASUS make some nice easy to use inexpensive routers.  You can get a gigabit router for around $40 with 4 local ports and an ISP port.   They may not be the coolest wireless solutions, but you say you are not going to use wireless.  

Check this one at Newegg

I have used these in small wired offices, where wireless is not really required.   TP-Link is easy to get connected to the ISP, provides some firewall functions and works great for a small network.   Its easy to expand ethernet ports beyond the basel 4, just connect a 5 or 8 port switch (these are not expensive either).   The router will recognize any devices on the switch and include them on the local network.
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
How can I tell if both computers are on the same subnet ?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Open a command prompt and run IPCONFIG
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
I'm sorry guys been rather busy and will be for a while. I have quite a deal of good information
from you and will work through this and if I get stuck I will raise a new question.
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
I'm having the 4th computer delivered within the next fortnight so will have
more time then to put some of your valuable suggestions into good use.
Thank you for your time and patience
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You are very welcome and I was happy to help
fred hakimRetired ITCommented:
By the way.  If all these computers are on the same private network and you have no concerns about access to shared directories among them, you can simply turn off passwords for private/home networks in advanced network sharing settings on each PC.  That eliminates having to worry about credentials and other complicating issues.  Just make sure discovery etc. is turned off for the public networks.
Ian BellretiredAuthor Commented:
Hi Fred This was covered in detail by John in his article (attached link on first post).
However he may have written this with privacy in mind as he states "Do NOT avoid passwords"
You are right Fred, I have no privacy issues being a single home dweller.
All I simply wanted to do was switch on up to 4 computers early morning and have them fire up
bypassing the login screen so when I finish shaving they are at the Desktop ready to go.
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