How to Network?

  Janet-201707 19:55 05 Apr 2005

Hello All

We have two Pc's and it would be useful to be able to connect them together. Old Pc is running Windows 98se, new PC running Windows XP. We have NTL broadband using ethernet connection. Is it possible, and what is required to so do? We are not PC illiterate but don't like to mess unless I know what to expect. Many thanks fo you help.


  Michendi 22:00 05 Apr 2005

A few questions about your setup:

1. Are NIC's (Network Interface Cards) installed in both PC's?
2. Do both PC's connect to the NTL Broadband feed?
3. How do the PC's connect to the NTL Broadband feed (router, hub, modem...?)
4. Are Firewalls installed on both PC's? If "yes" please provide product name and version.
5. Will you be able to connect the PC's by Ethernet or do you need a Wireless connection?
6. Do the two PC's share common periferals (printer, scanner....)?
7. Which version of XP is installed Home or Pro and which service pack is installed?
8. Is 98SE up-to-date with all updates and service packs?

  Janet-201707 13:47 07 Apr 2005

Hello Michendi

Ouch!!!! I didn't realize it was so complex. To answer your questions.
1)I have never hear of a NIC, but I guess the new PC has one. Uncertain about old, but this used to run our broadband connection before we got the new one.
2)We only now have new PC connected to Broadband
3)Via Ethernet and set top box ( NTL)
4)Only new PC has firewall installed.I have just tried to find out what version it is, but the info is not given in control panel(firewall). All I know is it is Microsoft so I guess it was loaded with XP setup.
5)That's the answer I am looking for. Does one go for Wireless option? Or some cable to connect the two pc's together.
6)We only have the peripherals connected to new PC as yet and it would be very useful to be able to print info from old to new, which I can't do now.
7) XP is the Home version withe service pack 2 installed ( and what a pain in the proverbials that was when it downloaded itself and completely screwed this new PC up, when we'd only had it a couple of months. The old PC had problems a few months back which meant I had to re-format the harddrive so it has not been able to have any updates at all as there is no Internet connection....yet. Another good reason to network...Yes????

Thanks for your help in this matter.


  Michendi 18:33 08 Apr 2005

Firstly, its not really complex, its just a matter of ensuring that the various components (both hardware and software) are able to communicate - something similar to a group of people all being able to communicate using a common language.

Let us start with the basics, and for that purpose the numbers below refer back to my original response and your reply.

1. NIC. Network Interface Card. This is NOT the same thing as a Modem. A NIC allows a machine (PC, printer, scanner, Mac...) to connect to a network. Some NIC's are smarter than others but they all require some help to establish a communication link in the form of software. A home PC often communicates with the Internet via a Modem. However, to communicate with another PC on the home network (a LAN) it needs a NIC.

2. The easiest (but most expensive) way for a small home network to communicate with the ISP (Internet Service Provider - in your case NTL), is through a Router. A typical Router for home/small business use will combine a Router, Hub, ADSL Modem and Firewall all in one box and will enable 4 PC's to connect to it (or more if it is wireless enabled).

In a simple 2-PC setup the least expensive option is to connect one PC to the ISP and then set the two PC's up in a Master/Slave configuration. The one disadvantage of this arrangement is that the Master must be on if the Slave wants to connect.

3. No problem here. This is a typical setup.

4. Seems like the XP Firewall is installed. This is fine for a Home PC. You just need to learn how to set it up. You can learn everything you need to know here >> click here
DONT connect to the Internet without a Firewall. Suggest that you download a free copy of ZoneAlarm and install that on the Windows 98SE machine. You can get a free copy here >> click here

This may sound obvious, but you must read the User Guide. 90% of problems in a Home network are caused by users not understanding how to setup the Firewall so that the PC's on the network can communicate with each other but that outside threats from the Internet are kept outside.

5. In my view the only reason to go wireless in a Home network is if the physical location of the PC's is such that it is impossible or impractical to run cable. Cable is much faster than wireless and does not have all the security issues associated with any wireless communication. Always use cable if possible and especially if the PC's are going to remain in the same physical place. Wireless on a laptop is practical because in the summer you can go outside and work.

6. The printer must have a NIC installed if you want to use it on the network. Does it? If you are not sure have a look somewhere, usually at the back, for a female socket that is about a half-inch wide and a quarter-inch high with a row of gold contacts. Don't confuse it with the USB port which looks similar but is smaller.

7. XP Home is fine. You will find everything you need to know here >> click here

8. Ouch!! That is a concern. Personally I would not network these PC's until the 98SE machine was completely up-to-date and with an Anti-Virus and Firewall software installed. Suggest that you get the 98SE PC connected to the Internet and get all the updates, install ZoneAlarm and Anti-Virus software. If you are looking for a good AV for home use then you can get a very good little package - which is free - here >> click here

Good Luck. And keep the Forum informed as to how you progress!!

  kp 22:56 08 Apr 2005


The printer can be shared on the network without a NIC installed. All that needs to be done is for printer sharing to be set up on the network. If the host printer is set up to allow sharing then the drivers for that printer can be installed on the other PC's.

  Michendi 22:27 09 Apr 2005


Your comment re the printer is absolutely correct, the only downside of printer sharing without a NIC is that the "host" PC must be active to enable other users to print. Something which I personally find painful.

But point taken. And my apologies to "bikerlady", I should have explained both options. Thanks KP.

  Janet-201707 10:06 10 Apr 2005

Hello Michendi

Thankyou so much for going to the trouble of explaining things to me. I am given to understand that as of June 2006, Microsoft will no longer be undating the security issues for Windows 98se, so I think it might be an idea to upgrade our old PC altogether and have both running XP and 2nd service pack.That would save the hassle of connecting the old to internet to update it. I have injured my wrist and not able to lift stuff for now. Busted it! But a router definately seems to be the best option. Many thanks.


  mekong 11:43 12 Apr 2005

I have three pcs connected by cable to a wireless router and a laptop on a wireless connection.
Three are Dell including the laptop and one HP pavilion about 6 years old running windows 98. All are networked.

The two new pcs and the laptop are recognised but cannot be accessed unless the firewall is disabled, the old pc can be accessed.

How does one overcome this and network without disabling the firewalls.


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