How to set up a second home computer? HELP!

  zp 12:06 16 Mar 2006

I’ve just bought a laptop (Evesham Quest Roma, spec below) as my own private PC – leaving the ancient desktop to the family.

This is what I want to do, and I’m sure it won’t be as easy as it should be, so all advice is most welcome!

I don’t want to network the two computers in the sense of permanently link them, unless it is totally unavoidable. I do want to transfer my own files and things like old emails, address book, internet favourites list etc to the laptop.

And I also want to share the same broadband internet connection, hopefully so both PCs can operate at the same time.

I was going to copy my data onto CD and then physically transfer it, and use a second modem for the internet, but everyone I mention this too pulls a long face and says “you don’t want to do it like that”. There is talk of cables and routers and wireless, things of which I know nothing.

I don’t mind buying cables for the initial data transfer but I don’t want to have to permanently cable the two together, not least because one is ground floor and the other attic! I am quite happy to use wireless, but I’m fairly sure that the desktop (purchased August 2001) won’t have wireless.

So where do i start?! I don't mind spending a bit of dosh to do it right.

Review Roma march 06

Operating system
Microsoft® Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005

AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology MT-30

512MB PC2700 DDR RAM

Hard disk
60GB 5400rpm hard drive

128MB ATI Mobility Radeon X700 graphics

15.4" WXGA widescreen display (1280x800)
Built in audio & speakers

CD/DVD Rewriter
DVD/CD-RW/Dual Layer DVD-RW drive

Network card
10/100 LAN
Wireless Mini PCI 802.11bg (54Mbps) LAN & bluetooth

v90 56k modem

I/O ports
4xUSB2.0, Firewire, VGA, PCMCIA Type II x 1

8 cell Li-Ion battery (life up to 2.5hrs approx)

Standard software
Microsoft Works 8
Roxio Easy Media Creator 7

Built in 3 in 1 card reader (MMS, MS, SD)

  Genius1 14:18 16 Mar 2006

I would have to say networking would be the best (if only) option. Personally, I would use a wired network, as wireless can be unreliable and insecure (if sending credit card details over the Internet etc.). You could very well use CDs to copy data over to your PC, but using a second modem would not be the best option. Wired networks are relativley cheap to set up, and by using the Network Setup Wizard in XP easy too.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:54 16 Mar 2006

Option 1 cheap and easy
network together with a crossover cable and share the internet connection.
Pros cheap only need crossover cable and network connection in each PC (probably already fitted) laptop is fitted
Cons: Main PC needs to be switched on to access Internet from laptop. In same room due to connecting cable

Option 2 not so cheap but still easy (no router)
network together with wireless cards or dongles and share the internet.
Pros cheap dongle / card approx £20, laptop can be in another room.
Cons main pc needs to be on to share internet.

Option 3 more expensive
Buy a modem / router conmbind
Main PC can be either connect to router by cable or wireless laptop connected by wireless
Pros Laptop can be anywhere in wireless range of router, main pc not need to be on when using internet on laptop.
Cons cost, can be tricky to set up although not usually.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 15:55 16 Mar 2006
  zp 18:23 17 Mar 2006

thanks guys...very helpful. From what you say and what I've read on the net I was thinking of getting a router but already I see problems. The old PC doesn't appear to have ethernet...don't know if it even has a network card. Would one of those USB wireless adapters do the trick?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 22:27 17 Mar 2006


set the router with a cable from the laptop and the other PC will work with the wireless dongle or you can fit a wirless PCI card to it

  Strawballs 22:38 17 Mar 2006

You will need to connect one of the machines to the router initially to set it up but once done both machines can be wireless but if you wish to use the old one by wire you can get an adapter to go from USB to LAN so the old machine can be wired if you don't want to open the case case and install a £10 PCI LAN card

  keef66 23:17 17 Mar 2006

I'd recommend putting a pci network card in the old pc then plug it in to the router via network cable. For the laptop wireless communication would give you greater flexibility.

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