Absolute Beginner would like a home network


I made the plunge and got a new laptop, as I already have a desktop PC. My PC runs Win XP Pro and has a wireless connection to the internet. My laptop was shipped with and is currently running Win 7 Home Premium 64bit (if that makes any difference).

Connected to my PC is my external HDD but I'd like to be able to access this from the laptop, as I use it to store films and music. I'm assuming that I can do this by setting up some kind of home network, but the information I've come across so far either assumes I know more than I do, or doesn't appear to be what I'm looking for.

Could anyone either point me in the direction of a fool-proof guide to setting this kind of thing up, or offer some sage advice on how to do it?

Also, the router I use is a NetGear DG834G.

Thanks in advance.
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More about absolute beginner home network
  1. If both computers are connected to the router it's fairly simple to set up a network -- though personally I would establish the links with ethernet cable first and then use wireless once it's all working.

    Basic steps

    1) set file sharing on relevant folders.
    2) Note down names of both computers (Control Panel, System, Computer Name) 3) Turn off firewalls on both machines.
    4) Got to Control Panel, Networking and select Network Wizard.
    5) In My Network Places select Add New Network Place.
  2. Thanks, that put me on the right track.

    I didn't realise that setting up a network alone wasn't enough, I also had to do a search on my laptop for shared devices.

    I appreciate the input.
  3. Do both machines , have to be setup under the same workgroup name!
  4. I think the workgroup name just defaults to the standard one unless you choose a new one.
  5. Thanks filhart!
  6. SR-71 Blackbird said:
    Thanks filhart!

    Although networking with Windows 7 and XP is basically simple and more or less the same as XP and anything else, there is now the added hazard of the W 7 Homegroup. I wonder if the OP is trying to use that or to network in the conventional way? the problems with Windows 7

  7. The problem i had was with my firewalls!Now all is running great on my mixed os's network!
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