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Connect Two Home Computers for File Sharing

Methods for networking two computers

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The simplest kind of home network contains exactly two computers. You can use this kind of network to share files, a printer or another peripheral device, and even an Internet connection. To connect two computers for sharing these and other network resources, consider the options described below.

Connecting Two Computers Directly With Cable

The traditional method to network two computers involves making a dedicated link by plugging one cable into the two systems. Several alternatives exist for networking two computers in this manner: Ethernet - Of the above choices, the Ethernet method is preferred as it supports a reliable, high-speed connection with minimal configuration required. Additionally, Ethernet technology offers the most general-purpose solution, allowing networks with more than two computers to be built fairly easily later. If one of your computers possesses an Ethernet adapter but the other has USB, an Ethernet crossover cable can still be used by first plugging a USB-to-Ethernet converter unit into the computer's USB port.

See also: Ethernet crossover cables

Serial and parallel - This type of cabling, called Direct Cable Connection (DCC) when using Microsoft Windows, offers lower performance but offers the same basic functionality as Ethernet cables. You may prefer this option if you have such cables readily available and network speed is not a concern. Serial and parallel cables are never used to network more than two computers.

USB - Ordinary USB cables must not be used to connect two computers directly to each other. Attempting to do so can electrically damage the computers! However, special USB cables designed for direct connection exist that can be used safely. You may prefer this option over others if your computers lack functional Ethernet network adapters.

To make dedicated connections with Ethernet, USB, serial or parallel cables requires

  1. each computer have a functioning network interface with an external jack for the cable, and
  2. the network settings on each computer appropriately configured
One phone line or power cord cannot be used to directly connect two computers to each other for networking.

Next > Connecting Two Computers through Central Device

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