I'm on a dorm network, and I can see other computers just fine for gaming/sharing files. I had no weird protocols installed just the ones that XP installed by default.
A friend brought his computer over and at first I couldn't see him on the network, and couldn't even ping him. We tried something crazy and both installed the IPX protocol and we could see eachother just fine. But when I hopped on the network, I could now see nobody but him and this other guy on the network who I guess had ipx installed too.
Thanks for all the info guys, it seems to be working just fine now. After I made sure we were on the same subnet, I took ipx off of his computer. We can now share files and game like we should have been able to in the first place