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How to create a direct connection using Ethernet crossover cable in Windows XP?

Connecting Windows XP and Windows Vista computers
Part One : Direct Ethernet connection setup using the Network Setup Wizard
- On the first computer
- On the second computer
Part Two : Direct Ethernet connection setup from Network Connections folder
- Defining computer and workgroup names and verifying the adapter installation
- Local Area Connection details on Network Connections folder
- Connecting the crossover cable and acquiring IP address
- Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA)
- Enabling file and printer sharing from Windows Firewall
- Exploring workgroup computers and shared folders-printers
- Internet connection sharing (ICS) setup
Troubleshooting tips


Ethernet crossover cable with RJ45 connectorsIf you have only two computers (desktop PCs or laptops) and both computers have either built-in or additional Ethernet network adapters, you can connect both computers directly using a crossover cable. Crossover cable is an Ethernet cable (Cat 5, Cat 5e or Cat 6) that has pins 1, 2, 3, 6 on one end crossed to pins 3, 6, 1, 2 on the other end respectively. Like standard (straight-through) Ethernet cable, crossover cable is also terminated with RJ-45 connectors. Please note, if one of your computers has an auto-crossover (a.k.a. auto-switching or auto-MDI/MDIX) Ethernet port, you can connect them using either crossover or straight-through cable. Most Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000BaseT) adapters have auto MDI/MDIX function. Therefore, if you have it installed in one computer, you can connect it with other computer using a standard Ethernet cable.

The direct Ethernet connection works like an Ethernet network that is equipped with Ethernet hardware, i.e. hub, switch, or router. It can be used to share files, folders, drives, printers, and peripherals. It can also be used to share an Internet connection or play a networked game.

Most consumer Ethernet adapters in use today are Fast Ethernet (10/100BaseT) with autosensing which means the direct Ethernet connection can switch from/to 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps link speed depending on line condition. Therefore, a direct connection between two computers using Ethernet crossover cable is faster than using either serial or parallel cable. Moreover, Ethernet cable can reach longer distance (up to 100 meters) without repeater and you don't need to buy additional software to configure the direct connection.

What should I prepare?

RJ-45 vs. RJ-11 jack/outlet/socket

Picture: Diagram of Ethernet (RJ-45) socket compared with telephone (RJ-11) jack.
RJ45 has 8 wires, RJ11 has 2 or 4.

1. Make sure your computers have Ethernet ports. An Ethernet port is an RJ-45 female connector (socket). It looks like a wall telephone jack (RJ-11) but a bit larger. If you can't find an Ethernet port, then your computer doesn't have an Ethernet adapter. You must install it first. You may choose internal (PCI card) or external adapter (USB or PCMCIA PC Card)
2. Plug the cable RJ-45 male connectors firmly into Ethernet ports on both computers.
3. If you would like to use the direct cable connection for sharing an Internet connection, check the Internet connection facility on each computer, i.e. whether it has an internal or external modem, whether the modem connects via PCI slot, Ethernet or USB and the physical connection to the Internet using telephone or cable TV line. Decide how you will connect both computers to the Internet.
4. Prepare an empty formatted floppy disk or Windows XP CD-ROM if one of your computers running a previous version of Windows, i.e. Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows ME.

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