How do you vary networking permutations?

  The Belarussian Mafia 11:15 12 Jun 2006


I'm a novice when it comes to networking. With the help of this forum I eventually managed to connect my desktop (XP) to my laptop (2K) using a crossover cable - that's all I've ever done. I've now been given a second desktop (XP) for the kids & would like to connect it to the first desktop for gameplay using a crossover cable (-can't afford to splash out on a wireless router & the missus won't allow cables everywhere so we could connect them all using a wired router).

Question: Can I configure the original desktop to work with the second one without undoing the configuration that allows it to connect to the laptop (i.e. can it be configured to connect to either, depending on which one I happen hook up at any given time)?

If this is possible, can I just run the XP wizard on one or both of the desktops without messing up the original config for connecting to the laptop.

Small supplementary question: Will the 3-yr old network card on the second desktop work OK with the 1-yr old network card on the original PC (i.e. might there be different protocols)?

  ade.h 14:17 12 Jun 2006

It's essentially plug-n-play (or plug-n-prey as it used to be known). Just plug in the RJ45 and configure an extra set of rules in each firewall if required. Running the NSW is optional - especially if file sharing is not needed - as it just holds your hand; it can do nothing whatsoever about firewalls and won't even complete the network if the firewalls haven't been sorted. It's better to use the New Connection Wizard instead if you want some assistance.

Small supplementary answer: Yes.

  The Belarussian Mafia 19:25 12 Jun 2006

Thanks. Interesting that you talk about configuring both firewalls - I could only get my previous simple network going when the laptop had ZoneAlarm switched off (& I was told this was the only way).

Sounds like I just use the Connection Wizard and the first setup will remain - right? I'll be chuffed if it is that easy!

  ade.h 19:50 12 Jun 2006

"I was told that this was the only way".

Utter rubbish. If a firewall can't be configured successfully to work in a network enviro, then it's either the user's lack of specific knowledge or the firewall is really awful. I have worked with one or two firewalls (McAfee for example) that are extremely "un-tweakable" and seem to be aimed at people who will never need to fine tune anything. But every PC user needs at some point to fine tune their firewall! ZoneAlarm is not the most networkable firewall, but it is quite acceptable. The important thing is... know your firewall inside out. Read its help files/manual and practice with it. If I encounter a firewall that won't do what I want it to do, I replace it with one that does.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings! To answer your last comment; yes, it is that easy!

  The Belarussian Mafia 20:13 12 Jun 2006

At the risk of going off topic - is there another free firewall that's as stable as ZoneAlarm? (The only long-term shortcoming it has is that on older PCs some 3D games would crash with ZA switched on.) I once heard SyQuest had a decent freebee, but I think they started charging for it.

  ade.h 20:35 12 Jun 2006

The two that I always recommend are Kerio (which runs both my PCs, plus the family's PCs) and Outpost, which has a free version (Lite). I use both specs of kerio and they are basically very similar.

  The Belarussian Mafia 20:53 12 Jun 2006

Many thanks ade.h . Will report back when attempting to setup network.

  ade.h 21:30 12 Jun 2006

Best of luck with it - not that you'll need it... ;-)

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