Ever needed to connect two computers together without going through a wireless network? I’ve previously written about how to connect two computers wirelessly using an ad-hoc wireless network, but it’s not as fast as being directly connected.

If your computers are on a wired network, you can network two computers and then share files and folders, but it’s a lot of work! An easier way is to simply create a homegroup if you are running Windows 7 or higher. A third way is  to use a crossover cable to connect two computers and transfer data.

In order for this setup to work, there are a few things you need to make sure are setup or configured properly. I will try to go through all the different steps in this article.

Step 1 – Configure IP Addresses

Usually, if you are using a crossover cable to connect two computers, the computers are not connected to a LAN network. In this case, you will need to configure static IP addresses for each computer.

You have to make sure that both computers have IP addresses that are on the same subnet. For example, if you give one computer an IP address of 192.168.0.1, then you should give the second computer an IP of 192.168.0.2.

If you used the above IP addresses, you should use a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0. If you use an incorrect subnet mask, the connection will not work.

Lastly, the value for the default gateway should be the same on both machines. You can pick which IP address you want to use, but use it on both computers for the default gateway. Below is how my setup looks for one computer:

connect two computer crossover cable

It’s worth noting that you could technically leave the Default Gateway and Preferred DNS server fields blank as you really don’t have to connect to any device outside the local network. If you need more info about static IPs, make sure to read my post on how to assign a static IP address in Windows and Mac.

Step 2 – Crossover Cable

The second thing you need to verify is that you actually have a proper crossover cable. Basically, there are a few different types of crossover cables, but it’s best to get the standard crossover cable where the green and orange pairs are swapped and the brown and blue pairs stay in the same position.

crossover cable

The only pins that need to be crossed are 1,3 and 2,6. So just check your cable on both end and make sure it matches the diagram. You can get a cheap 10ft crossover cable on Amazon for $5 or you can get crossover adapters, which are a little bit more, but can turn any Ethernet cable into a crossover cable.

Step 3 – Local User Accounts

If you’re having problems accessing files both ways, you may have to create a user account on each computer that has the same name and same password. This helps get past any kind of Access is Denied errors that may pop up.

Make sure the accounts are administrator accounts also! It’s best to create a new account rather than rename a current account.

Step 4 – Disable Firewalls

Finally, you should disable the firewall on both computers to ensure that none of the file sharing ports are being blocked. You can do this by going to Control Panel and then Windows Firewall. Click on Off.

connect two computers

That’s about it! If you follow all these steps, each computer should be able to access the other properly. You can check the connection by opening a command prompt (click on Start and type in cmd) and trying to ping the other computer. Just type the word ping followed by the IP address of the other computer.

You should now be able to go to My Network Places or Network in Windows Explorer and access the other computer. You’ll also need to setup a shared folder if you want to transfer files. Also, check out my other post that talks about all the other ways you can share files between multiple computers. If you are having problems, post a comment here and I will try to help! Enjoy!

Comments [10]

  1. If I might just add a little bit of clarification and expansion on some of the points above. If you have two computers with gigabit interfaces then do not use a crossover cable as that will limit the connection to 100Mbs, for a gigabit connection you must use a straight through cable, cat 5e or better.

    The important thing about netmasks is that they should be consistent and allow for all computers on that segment, apart from that you can use almost anything you like on a private network. As there are only two computers on this segment you could use anything from 128.0.0.0 to 255.255.255.252. Using the default class c netmask of 255.255.255.0 is fine but not essential.

    Absolutely no need for a default gateway to be set, there is no way off this network and even if you do set it, it could be different on each computer without affecting anything.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Interesting what you are saying about the cat5 cables I tried this to connect 2 pcs together one running XP Pro and one running Win7 with GB network cards and both show a gb connection with crossover cable but I've not used anything to check the actual transfer speed, how can you connect 2 pcs directly with a staight through cable?

    The issue with this arrangement that I cant seem to resolve is:

    Both pcs have wireless connection and it all works fine with the addition of the cross over cable. I transfer large amounts of data between the 2 pcs and need the systems to use the crossover cable route for this action.

    BUT for some reason the data transfer periodically seems to attempt to use the wireless router path and of course a significant slowing in the transfer. I can check the connection on the cable and it is good. I've tried with both fixed and DCHP ip configuration.

    My question is when moving data between pcs is it possible to force on the wired path and achieve the high throughput needed?

    Thanks

  3. Hi,

    I'm trying to connect a laptop with vista to a pc with vista using a crossover ethernet cable. I've gone through all the steps above and can see icons for both the laptop and the pc on the network places screen, but when I double click on the icon, I get an error message 0x80070035 Network path not found. I've tried pinging the IP addresses and both computers send and receive all four packets of information without any problem. I've set the computer names and the workgroup for both is the same. Everything seems to be fine, except I can't access either the laptop from the PC or vice versa.

    Note: my intention is just to be able to transfer files from PC to laptop and vice versa, I don't really need to be able to connect to the internet over the crossover cable or anything like that…Any help or suggestions would be hugely appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Mark

  4. Both my desktop (WinXP) and laptop (WinXPPro) are connected via a crossover cable w/ assigned IP addresses. I can PING each successfully (yay!).

    But, in Windows Explorer, each computer cannot see the other. I am logged into both w/ administrator rights. What have I missed?

    Thank you,

    Elizabeth

  5. What if one computer is connected to the internet and the other one is not?

  6. @All… All those who have problems in accessing the other computer/laptop: Have you people enabled sharing? That seems to be the only thing holding you people back. Do let me know.

  7. I connect two laptops together using a cross over cable and both computers are seeing each other. However, I'm unable to open either of them from the other due to a access permission error.

    Error//// pc not accessible; you might not have permission to use this network resource. Contact the administrator to find out if you have access permission.
    logon failure: the user has not been granted the requested logon type at this computer.

  8. I have followed the instructions and the networking is fine. I am using a Windows 7 laptop with a XP PC. The PC is also set up for ICS and I can connect to the internet on the PC. However, I can't connect to internet on laptop. Any idea?

    Thanks

  9. In one PC, select from Start Menu -> All programs -> Accessories -> Remote Desktop connection, or you can search the program named “mstsc.exe”. Input the IP address of the other PC and press connect.

  10. HI, I connected two laptops following the above procedure. My Ip is 192.168.1.1 and the other system’s IP is 192.168.1.16. We both are able to ping each other and the reply is perfect. The problem is I shared a file, and the other computer is not able to open my ip address using the run command. Even I cannot open my Shared folder by giving in the run (\\192.168.1.1). A dialogue box with the message ” \\192.168.1.1, The Network Path was not found” opens each time we try this. But I am able to open his shared folder by giving in run command (\\192.168.1.16). I closed all the firewall services in my system. But still my system is not able to respond. Also we are not able to use remote desktop connection. Can anyone please help me???

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