Most people who have a desktop and a laptop computer at some point find a need to connect the two computers together. The computers can be shared in one of a few ways over the Internet or a local network. The way that has the two computers working at the fastest speeds for sharing is to directly connect them to each other through a crossover cable.
1. Connect the crossover cable into the network card on the laptop and connect the other end of the cable to the network card on the desktop.
2. Set the workgroup. On each computer right click on "My Computer" and select "Properties." Next select the "Computer Name" tab. Underneath "Workgroup," select "change," and on the "workgroup" line change the workgroup to a name that you will use on both computers. You may leave one computer alone and just change the other computer to match it.
3. Go to the control panel and open the "Network Connections." Right-click on "Local Area Connection" and choose "Properties." Select "TCP/IP" and click on "Properties." The top menu will have two options to choose, either obtain an IP address automatically or several fields to input your own setting. The automatic option may work, but if it doesn't use the following settings: IP Address 192.168.0.10 and Subnet Mask 255.255.255.0. On the other computer, change the last set of numbers in the IP address from 10 to 20. All the other fields can be left alone.
4. Make each computer share something. Under Windows Explorer, pick at least one drive and right-click on it. Choose the "Sharing" tab. Click on the message to accept the risks of sharing. Under "Network sharing and Security," check the box that says "share this folder on the network." Do this on both computers and reboot.