My friend has two PC's, both identical, both running XP Pro with SP2, and both have on board Ethernet capabilities. He wants to connect the two to access the secondary from the primary. As I know nothing about networking, but am fairly computer literate, can someone advise me as to the simplest way to achieve this with minimum cost. I know bluetooth is now a viable option in SP2, but would prefer a faster option. The PC's are in the same room, next to each other (don't ask.....please) this it what he wants and I said I will assist him to achieve it.
Maybe I have misunderstood what you are looking for but... would not the cheapest method be an RJ45 crossover cable? (about £2 from B&Q!!) As for software, if you are using XP you can use the networking wizard which will set everything up for you. Or if you have broadband, why not put a router in between? (about £40 - even less on eBay!)
get a Cat5 Crossover cable, this is all you need. As for software, nothing additional is required, just run XP's network setup wizard on both machines. If you need more info, check out homenethelp click here