but no Network! Both have a popup from sys tray saying 'connected at 100Mbps', and if I unplus one of them, it says 'unplugged'... Both machines less than 1 year old, and both have n/w capabilities built in - I didn't need to install a n/w card. Please, can someone tell me, step-by-step, in idiot-proof language, how I set up this?
you simply run the netowrking wizard (on both machines) and that should be that.
If you are running personal firewalls, disable them. Make sure that both machines have the same wqorkgroup name (MSHOME by default) and that bthey both have different machine names ('Main' and 'Laptop' would be appropriate).
Then, make sure that any folders that you want to be available have been shared - click on the folder, select 'properties' and then click the sharing tab. It's not a good plan to share the root of a drive - that means you shouldn't enable sharing on the whole of the C drive for instance - although if it's only going to be you on the network it won't matter. Unless you are going to share an Internet connection, in which case it will matter very much.