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At the moment I have one computer running Windows XP Home with 3 user accounts. Soon I will have two computers and I want to network them. Will networking allow me to keep these 3 user accounts on both PCs so when a user logs in on either they will have the same files in their My Documents and the same desktop etc.?

I will probably just use a crossover cable to directly connect the two PCs with no hub/router.

Thanks. ;)

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XP Home unfortunately doesn't support Offline Files (although XP Pro does).

With Offline Files, you could configure a shared resource on one machine, such as a My Documents folder, and the other machine would keep a local mirror of that folder. Thus, work on one, and the other folder updates over the network at it's first opportunity. This wouldn't address different folders for different users though... which brings me to:

Bypassing the Simple File Sharing system and setting up per-user security on a folder/resource basis. This way, User #1 would have network access to whatever is designated to their account, User #2, same deal for their own resources. The problem here is that this both eliminates all of the "friendly" logon features of XP, requiring all accounts to be password protected, and doubly painful is the fact that with XP Home, the only way to set this up is through Safe Mode, as the Security tabs for configuring resources is hidden in normal operation.

Long story short: What you want to do isn't really possible in the sense that you imply, but it is possible to set up something that works in a similar way... but without XP Pro, it's going to be very awkward to configure, and it won't work terribly well.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Simple possible fix:

1. Set up accounts on both machines.

2. Any resources you want to access from both, create simple shares, and map them between the computers, as in PC#1 has a folder you want to share, you configure it, give it a name, and tell PC#2 to consider that folder a remote drive.

3. Trust all the users not to peek into each other's personal files. ;)

One other thing: Enabling any sort of network shares will require you to not have a firewall on those particular network connections. It's also not a great idea to enable shares without a firewall better than the XP built in properly configured on any internet connection either machine may encounter.

Head spinning yet? :huh:

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Head spinning yet?  :huh:

Just a bit! :wacko:

Is it possible to set up the default location for a My Documents folder? So all users documents are saved on PC1 and when they click on My Documents using PC2 it opens their My Documents folder on PC1? :huh:

So I guess it's impossible to share settings over multiple computers (like desktop background) without Windows XP. :(

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Recon,Feb 11 2004, 12:12 ]Is it possible to set up the default location for a My Documents folder? So all users documents are saved on PC1 and when they click on My Documents using PC2 it opens their My Documents folder on PC1? :huh:

Although you can change the location of My Documents, the problem you get into is multiple users.

Unless all users are Administrators, their personal My Documents folders are inaccessible by others, and to the best of my knowledge, you cannot have the My Documents (which is a system folder) be a mapped network folder. XP needs all of the system folders to be local, although there's no need for you to use that folder as what it's titled.

So I guess it's impossible to share settings over multiple computers (like desktop background) without Windows XP. :(

Not impossible, just very daunting to configure, spotty in terms of functionality, and essentially requiring all computers to have XP Professional installed, not XP Home. :wall:

See, what you are essentially trying to do is set up a mobile account. This is normal on business networks, as it allows one user's logon credentials to give them access to the same resources no matter where on the network they are at the time. I have no doubt that SOTOPhantm could set up this kind of environment rapidly, but (and I'm not entirely certain here) it would require a domain controller (as in another computer operating as a network resource server), which as cool as it would be to have, it certainly outside of the scope of what you're looking for.

Now, that said, with luck Phantm will pop by this topic and lean in, as I know he's got more in-depth networking experience than I. He may be able to come up with a novel solution.

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:huh::(

I think I've decided to take the easy route now. I'm not going to bother with the multiple users on each PC. Instead, one PC will just have one single user (me :))). Will this computer (mine) be able to be set up so I can view and edit all the files on the other PC? I will also want to share an internet connection and have access to a printer on PC2. Can this be done?

Also, I currently have Office XP Pro. Is it possible to run programs off one PC using the other or does it need to be installed on both? Can Office XP Pro be installed on more than one PC?

Btw, both computers will have XP Home and as I mentioned before, both are connected via a crossover cable.

Thanks for the advice so far. :thumbsup:

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Recon,Feb 11 2004, 12:48]Will this computer (mine) be able to be set up so I can view and edit all the files on the other PC? I will also want to share an internet connection and have access to a printer on PC2. Can this be done?

Yes, yes and yes. This is in fact very easy to set up, with either XP Pro OR Home. Did I say easy? I mean easy.

Also, I currently have Office XP Pro. Is it possible to run programs off one PC using the other or does it need to be installed on both?

It would need to be installed separately on both computers. They can share files, but running applications, especially ones that tie into the system as tightly as Office, will not work over network connections.

Can Office XP Pro be installed on more than one PC?

You'd have to check your license. Certain versions of Office allow dual installation, or are "home licences" which can allow multiple installations. The most complete answer to your question is "yes, but it might not be a legal installation". Thus, I won't offer any more advice on this one. You'll just have to check it out for yourself. :whistle:

Btw, both computers will have XP Home and as I mentioned before, both are connected via a crossover cable.

When you're doing something as simple as sharing an internet connection, folders and printers over the network, this is just fine a setup.

Thanks for the advice so far. :thumbsup:

Glad to assist if I can.

By the way, the XP help dialogs are pretty good, and the wizards are very good, but you will still probably encounter some apparent problems, as there are a few fiddly settings that can cause problems. They are all easy to fix, but if you are not familiar with networking XP, it might not be clear what the issue is.

Just ask here. I'd list a bunch of things to check out, but frankly, there are a lot of them, but all so minor that it's probably easier to offer some kind of "on-the-fly" help if you encounter any troubles.

Again, I assure you that what you have described is really easy to do. Did I mention it's easy? :D

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1. Yes

2. Play, yes. You won't be able to serve, but no problems connecting out.

Essetially, the computer connected to the `net would become a big `ol hardware/software router for puter #2.

Here's an overview from the Microsoft website. It's not descriptive of the tech behind it, but instead a general look at what you can do.

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I can't say never, but in order to host, you would have to forward the required ports through the main computer.

At this time, I am unable to determine if this is possible using the Microsoft ICS software XP uses. It is my best opinion that it is not possible. :(

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I've been nosing around, and there is at least one app out there (WinProxy I think) that does ICS and allows port forwarding. I don't have the luxury of checking it out firsthand, but a router is preferable in all cases.

@Phantm: I hope I didn't butcher the advice above too much, bro. :thumbsup:

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The best thing to do is spend 39 dollars on a router, and set it up that way.  There is no way that I know of to forward specific ports through ICS.

Is this just to host? Is the other way (with just a crossover cable) OK for everything else?

Thanks :thumbsup:

Edited by [TCS]Recon
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It should be, but you also have to remeber that you may get some lag gaming running everything from two PC's through one NIC. THe best thing to do is get a router that will load balance everything, and provide security for you. IF you do it the crossover way, make sure that the PC handling ICS is the more powerful one with plenty of RAM and processor.

The only thing that crossover networking is really good for is simple file sharing and basic browsing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Is there any way to convert a crossover cable into a normal (is it straight-through) network cable? Like with an adaptor or something? :unsure:

EDIT: And what's the difference between a router and a hub? :huh:

Edited by [TCS]Recon
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Thanks. Useful site. I found the section on making your own network cables and it looks like you can turn a crossover cable into a standard network cable just by rearranging the wires. Is there no adaptor that can do this? :(

Are there any disadvantages to just using two computers connected via a crossover cable if the main computer is always on?

Edited by [TCS]Recon
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Until I got a router, I didn't have any problems with using 3 NICs and a crossover cable. I didn't need the other machine to access the internet really (I basically use it to download pics from my digital camera) and some storage (it only has a 10GB HD).

I'm not sure, but one piece of network hardware will work with a crossover cable, but I don't remember which piece it is. If you can afford a few bucks, Radio Shack should have the connector ends and the crimper to be able to change the ends.

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Recon,Mar 8 2004, 17:55 ] And what's the difference between a router and a hub? :huh:

Check out this link to find out the diff between a hub, switch and router.

http://www.makeitsimple.com/sections.php?o...ntpage&artid=12

Anyone with a broadband connection these days really should pick up a router (they are pretty cheap these days with rebates) to act as a basic hardware firewall to protect your network from outside attacks.

I found the section on making your own network cables and it looks like you can turn a crossover cable into a standard network cable just by rearranging the wires. Is there no adaptor that can do this?

No adaptor I know of ... if there is, you'll likely pay more for it than just buying a plain straight-through Cat 5 cable.

Recon,Mar 8 2004, 17:55 ] Are there any disadvantages to just using two computers connected via a crossover cable if the main computer is always on? 

Not sure what you mean. There isn't any disadvantage I can think of except if one of your computers gets hit by a huge power surge.

Edited by CR6
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Thanks for the help so far everyone. :thumbsup:

Not sure what you mean. There isn't any disadvantage I can think of except if one of your computers gets hit by a huge power surge.

I was asking if it is any worse to network two computers using a crossover cable rather than using straight-through cables and a router? Why is it supposedly better to use a router? It is just the security? ;)

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Also, if you have a router does the printer connect to it? Can you print when only one PC is on when using a router? Would I be able to host using a router?

Sorry for all these questions but thanks for the help so far. :thumbsup:

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1. A router offers better security as well as more configuration options, as well as expansion is much easier with a router than a simple crossover cable.

2. Some routers have USB or parallel print servers built in. Alternately, you can use File/Print Sharing on your LAN even if you use a crossover cable, but make sure you have a decent firewall installed on the computer directly connected to the `net. By decent, I mean not ZoneAlarm.

3. You can easily host from behind a router. You merely have to use port forwarding. You would give out the IP of your router, but use the router's control panel to 'forward' ports 2346-2348 (example GR ports) to the LAN IP that you are hosting from. Folks outside connect to your router on the ports forwarded, and the router passes their info on to the server/vice versa.

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Thanks I think I'm getting a router now. :thumbsup:

One last thing:

I have a crossover cable already connected and fixed in where I will be networking and this cable will need to become straight-through. Rather than taking off the current connector, stripping the wires back... new plug etc... I had an idea:

You can get an adaptor thing to connect two network cables together. If I connected my crossover cable to another crossover cable through this connector would it "crossover twice" and become a straight-through cable? I know this isn't the normal thing to do but I don't have any crimpers and this adaptor and a short crossover cable cost very little so it's not too expensive either. Should it work? I couldn't see why it shouldn't, but then again I don't know very much at all about this sort of stuff. :huh:

Edited by [TCS]Recon
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IMO you should go ahead and spring for straight through cable. You will have less things to fail (specially since failures seem to happen at critical times). I have 2 50' lengths of crossover cable that I have no need for since I bought the router I am using (I did buy a 75' straight through cable though I really don't need that much, 50' is plenty in my small apartment).

You could try using the adapter and 2 crossover cables, just make sure you connect them properly for them to work (match the wire colors together at the adapter).

Let us know how it works out.

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