Do I need a local network?

  johnincrete 07:09 15 May 2013

My main computer with attached printer is in my basement. The internet runs from a router that is in my apartment and is connected by a wire. I am about to take delivery of a new laptop to use in my apartment and which will also connect to the router with a wire. When I had an old laptop, if I wrote something in Word and wanted to print it, I had to copy it to a USB stick and take it to the main computer. I got into difficulties with a Power Point presentation which I was developing on the main computer but running on the laptop, ensuring that the files on the two machines were the same. It would be extremely convenient if I could: (a) share files beetween the two computers i.e. to open something on one machine that physically existed on the other machine, and update it. (b) Be able to print something from the laptop on the Canon MG 5250 printer. The printer has some form of networking capability but I'm not sure what. (c) Have Skype running on both computers and to accept a call on the one I nearest to. Do I need to set up a network and, if so, how? The new laptop will be running Windows XP SP3 the same as my main computer unless I convert the main computer to Windows 7 which I am reluctant to do.

  Taff™ 08:03 15 May 2013

Yes. Why on earth order a new laptop with XP on it? (I assume it is brand new - can you still get XP on a brand new machine?) All you have said can be done by setting up a local network.

Basically you run the Network wizard in control panel on both machines. Make sure you have the same network name in both - the default is MSHOME or on a XP Pro machine WORKGROUP - change both to something else.

Reboot both computers. You may need to set up an account password on both machines but you should then be able to view files, share printers as above.

  onthelimit1 08:58 15 May 2013

It can be tricky setting up XP on a W7 network, so you may be better sticking with XP on both. A guide is here

  Ian in Northampton 09:36 15 May 2013

John: note that, when you've done what the guys suggest, you'll be able to access the printer from any of your PCs/laptops. What you'll need to do is to install a 'new' printer on whichever machine(s) the printer isn't attached to, and choose 'network printer'. The wizard will (should) find your printer for you. However, there can be issues in a mixed W7/XP environment, but they're easy enough to solve - I did it myself. Oh, and, on the machine that the printer is attached to, you'll need to change the properties of the printer to 'share'.

Oh, and: good for you for buying an XP machine - despite what Taff said... :-)

  Taff™ 10:10 15 May 2013

All good advice chaps and I agree with you both. XP support is nearing closure though - it's older than the hills ;0) Now gimme Vista every time!

  SimpleSimon1 10:17 15 May 2013


"Now gimme Vista every time!"

Flipping heck, I'd rather have Windows Millenium! Now, if you said W7, that would be a whole different matter (and, yes, I know they share the same kernel)

  Ian in Northampton 10:19 15 May 2013

Taff: there's nothing wrong with being older than the hills. I speak from personal experience... ;-)

  SimpleSimon1 10:20 15 May 2013


"It can be tricky setting up XP on a W7 network..."

But it's a doddle to set-up a W7 machine on an XP network (that's how I run my network at the moment) so I'm with Taff - why on earth would you go for a new XP machine?

  Woolwell 11:31 15 May 2013

I would look at getting a network printer and connect it to the router by Ethernet or wifi. With that set up you can then print from any computer connected to the router without any of the other computers being switched on.

I'm in the W7 camp and have had W7 and XP happily talking to each other and even W8.

  Woolwell 11:35 15 May 2013

Reread your post. You already have a suitable printer which if you set up so that it connected by wifi would work.

Skype - have the same account on each pc/laptop and have Skype open on the nearest. You can answer from whichever. I regularly switch between desktop, ipad and laptop. There is no need for a network for this.

  johnincrete 14:35 16 May 2013

The new laptop will come with Windows 8 but will have either 7 or XP put on it because there is too much talk about windows 8 problems. I accept that, sometime in the future, XP will go but I am happy with it and I'm too old a dog to learn many new tricks! Onthelimit: Thanks for the link to the guide. Woolwell: The printer is connected to the machine in the basement by normal wire.

Thanks all once again

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