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Problem Networking Two Computers With A Crossover Cable

By LMoore ยท 19 replies
Mar 2, 2005
  1. I have recently purchased a new Dell laptop and decided to network this to my old Dell PC using a crossover cable, i was told that this should be simple but i have encountered problems. Both are runing Windows XP SP2

    After plugging the crossover cable into both computers they both said 'acquiring network address' and then i got 'limited or no connectivity... because the network did not assign a network address to the computer'

    On checking the IP adresses i discovered the following:

    The ethernet IP address on the desktop is in the format: 169.254.xx.xx

    and the ethernet IP on the laptop is in the format 169.254.xxx.xxx

    I think this is the main problem and the network may be more sucessful if the IPs were at least in the same format. Could someone please tell me how to change this or reccomend what i should do.

    Is there anything else i need to configure to get the network working properly? Lots more properties of the network have null values:

    Physical Address: 00-07-E9-CE-F1-FC
    IP Address:
    Subnet Mask:
    Default Gateway:
    DNS Server:
    WINS Server:

    Do these need setting up, and if so, how do i do this??

    Any help would be most appreciated.

    Many thanks, LMoore
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,546   +429

    The easiest way to do this is to run the network setup wizard. Go to My Network Places on one of the computers. On the left column there is a "Setup a home or small office network". Follow that, its going to want to make a floppy to use on the other computer to complete the setup. I usually tell it not to do that, and then I just go to the other computer and make sure it is on the same Workgroup. After that everything is fine.

    Might take a reboot of each computer. Do them one at a time though, don't reboot both at the same time, I've found that to make one or both not to see each other.
    dkbroadband likes this.
  3. LMoore

    LMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks very much, i was under the impression that the network setup wizard was to configure the network once it was initally set up and communicating, ie to configure ICS and file sharing, i have used it to little sucess in trying to set up a wireless network, i therefore overlooked it in trying to do this.

    Thanks muchly for your help,

  4. LMoore

    LMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey, i have not had too much success with the network setup wizard, after running it and restarting both computers (one by one) one of them, the desktop, started behaving and said that the network was connected, and had a normal network IP ( (not giving me any "limited or no connectivity" rubbish), however the other still did not want to respond, still displaying limited or no connectivity and having internet IP 254.xxx.xxx.xxx

    I still cannot ping between the two computers and the shared folders still do not appear in each other's network places, what do you suggest i could try to help make this work?
  5. REB_ElMagnifico

    REB_ElMagnifico TS Rookie

    If the 2 computers are not in the same network then they will not be able to connect to each other. Try giving them the following ip address and subnet masks:

    host 1 -

    host 2 -

    A default gateway is not needed. Also make sure that if you have a firewall you either disable it or you allow exceptions accordingly.

    Good Luck
  6. LMoore

    LMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    How do you edit IP addresses, i think i would probably be able to make it all work if i knew this but as of yet i cannot find how!

    Can ya take me through how to manually assign IP addys and SubMasks

    Thanks V much.
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,546   +429

    There is not any reason that you should have to assign them manually for something as simple as 2 comps over a crossover.
    If you tried what I suggested and it did not work, remove the network interfaces through add/remove hardware. Restart Windows, let it redetect. And then run the wizard again.

    The only reason I can think of that would cause it not to work after that involves faulty hardware (the nics or the cable).
  8. knuckleball

    knuckleball TS Rookie Posts: 57


    using a crossover cable isnt really networking your computers. all it does is make it so you can share files between the two. nothing more. if you are going to use it for this, make sure they both have the same workgroup name and open a folder, then go to tools, map network drive, browse, then either click on workgoup, or the workgroup name, etc. and you should see the other computers name.
  9. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,452

  10. LMoore

    LMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks guys that's been a lot of help, IP addresses are now configured on both comps and file sharing works, but only one way, the Laptop computer is able to view the workgroup and all printers and shared files on the desktop, however the same is not true the other way round, the same is true with pinging, it will only work one way, the laptop can ping the desktop but not the other way round.

    The fact that one computer can view the other suggests that both NICs and the cable are working properly, can suggest anything i can do to perhaps get it working the other way. The status window for the LAN connectio does say that it is connected but there is zero functionality.
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,546   +429

    Does the computer that can see the other have a firewall on that is preventing the other computer from seeing it?
  12. LMoore

    LMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    YES YES YES, the firewall on the laptop was blocking LAN IP addresses and i have now put an exception, making the network function properly

    Thanks everyone for your continued help and patience with me that you can rarely find on the internet.

    I will be trying to set up windows ICS across this connection later on, is there any tips that anyone can give me now before i start so that i do not have to make another "Problem" post??

    Thanks again for all of your help.
  13. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,452

    You could save yourself a lot of hassle by buying a router. That way, each PC/laptop can connect to the internet, independently or simultaneously, without having to have the other PC switched on. You will also get the extra hardware firewall from the router.
  14. LMoore

    LMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    That's not really a tip about ICS i'm a student and i have no money to buy even more hardware (I was advised to get a crossover when my wireless network failed to work!), and anyway, i like a challenge.
  15. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,546   +429

    If you've just got 2 computers a crossover cable is the way to go IMO.

    I have never used a router, but just look at the number of posts on this board and others about problems involving routers.

    I used a crossover cable for 2 years when I had cable modem, and I'm using one now so my old computer can dial up and my new computer connects through it. (doing that because of the lack of modem drivers for XP 64bit and Server 2003 64 bit).

    Anyway, glad to hear its all straightened out now.
  16. LMoore

    LMoore TS Rookie Topic Starter

    What does that mean, is it a program or protocol i can use for ICS, if so can i have some more details, or is it some acronym like "I'm going Mad Over all this trouble, why didn't i buy a router"

    You give me confidence that ICS can be done over crossover, what advice/links would you have to help me?
  17. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,546   +429

    IMO is "in my opinion"

    Many knowledgeable people on this forum started learning computers with a DOS platform. I did not. And from that upbringing I don't have an inherent desire if something doesn't work to go back to a command line to make it work.

    I learned ona Mac, we didn't have to type crap to make it work. Everything was visual and self intuitive. But anyway I've used a PC ever since 98 and have learned to accept it and use it.

    But because of the way I learned I have a different perspective than many people, and I like to rely on the automated stuff until it doesnt' work before I try to do it manually.

    That is why I say that you should let windows set everything up, I outlined everything you need to do in my posts in this thread. I also pointed out the firewall part because when you follow the wizards there are only a few things that can cause them to not work.

    My only advice is to not make things any more complex than they already are. A Crossover Cable for 2 PCs is EXACTLY what you need for simplicity and effectiveness.

    If in the future you get a 3rd PC then its worth considerign a router. Or if you shut down pcs frequently and therfore not have one that is continouslly connected, then in that case its worth a router.

    But I view my role here as helping people accomplish what they want to do in the simpliest means possible, and sometimes that is not inclusive to the "best" way to do it.
  18. aibocoqui

    aibocoqui TS Rookie

    Advance Firewall Settings Checkmarks

    I had the same message and did the following to get things working again:

    Went to Network Connections (on my main PC)
    Clicked on the network icon; right click on properties
    Clicked on advanced tab
    Click on Windows Firewall Settings
    Clicked on Advance Tab
    Located my current internet connection
    Clicked on all boxes that were missing a check mark (there were 4 without)

    Repair connection did not do it. Cables were re-checked on both ends. Did not have to re-boot.
  19. tdeg

    tdeg TS Rookie Posts: 109

    If you are connecting to broadband and want to share the internet between the two computers then you will need to make one of the PCs a gateway and the other will be the client.

    The gateway will need two network cards in it. One network card will connect to the broadband and the other will connect to the client. The gateway will always need to be on for the client to connect to the internet.

    If the broadband company has a deal where you get a free network card with signup, then you won't have to pay any more to get ICS working. If they don't, you will need to shell out probably about $10 for a network card and install it into the PC (or you can buy a more expensive USB network adapter and never have to crack your PC's case).

    After you hook one of the network cards to the broadband and the other to cross-over cable to the client, run the Network Setup Wizard on the gateway again. When you get to the prompt where it asks you how the computer connects, select the option that this computer connects to the internet and other computers connect through it. The wizard will ask you which adapter connects to the internet. Select the adapter from the list that the broadband is connected to. After that it will ask you which adapter connects to the LAN or to other computers (can't remember exact wording). Select the other adapter. After that follow the bouncing balls.

    After that is all set up, run the Network Setup Wizard on the client machine. At the option where it asks how the computer connects, select the option that says that this computer connects through another computer or a router. Follow the bouncing ball after that.

    When the wizards have been completed on both computers you should be able to connect to the internet from both computers.

    This is a fun exercise, but a router has MUCH less problems than ICS. As well a router allows others to connect (ie... your buddy brings his laptop over). Other people can just plug into a port on the router. Plus a router has a firewall. If you have a wireless laptop, I would look at a cheap wireless router. You can find a B type one (which should be good enough for pretty much everything) for about $20.

    Good luck, and remember if you have problems to use Google. Even if you find solutions to your problems using it, be nice and let us know the problem and the solution.
  20. aibocoqui

    aibocoqui TS Rookie

    Could it be that Norton Antivirus Worm Firewall option be the culprit?

    In prior message I had forgotten to mention that I had recently upgraded both PC's to Norton Antivirus 2005. That in the procedures above I had disabled Norton Antivirus suspecting it might be a culprit. After getting a connection as I mentioned above I shut down both computers for the day. When I went back and booted up, I started getting the message of not having a network address assigned to the portable. Checked all settings again and nothing. Curious about Norton being the culprit...I disabled the worm firewall fron the main computer and auto-protect...Then the portable came on. What is the connection between Norton and the problem of finding the network address?
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