Did you disable the XP Firewall before setting up the network?
The cable you are using is a crossover one?
click here to see what one looks like.
Do a ping test to see if you can talk to each machine. To do this run a command prompt and type in ping 192.x.x.x . If you do not know what the IP address is of each machine at the command prompt type in ipconfig /all This will give you the IP address of the machine and it's NIC card address (Physical Address).
If you can ping each machine the network is there.
Open Network Neighborhood and navigate to the other machine from there.