How to connect Windows XP and Windows Vista computers using Ethernet cable?

Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA)

5. Windows will be trying to discover a DHCP server to assign a private (LAN) IP address for a network (LAN) adapter. But since in this direct connection there is no DHCP server, after a few seconds Windows automatically assigns itself a private IP address from an APIPA address range. Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) is a feature that lets a Windows Vista or XP computer (and several previous Windows versions namely Windows 98, 98 SE, ME, 2000, Server 2003) assign itself an IP address when a DHCP server is not available. An APIPA IP address is a Class B IP address in this format 169.254.x.y with a subnet mask of x and y are integers making the APIPA address range from to

In Windows Vista, the status of the connected network (Ethernet) adapter changes to Unidentified network which can be seen in Network and Sharing Center and Network Connections folder while the network location is automatically set to Public. To see  IP address and subnet mask of the connected Ethernet card (Local Area Connection), in Network Connections right click its name/icon and select Status, in the Local Area Connection Status select Details.

Windows Vista : Network Connections - Local Area Connection - Unidentified network

Picture: The status Unidentified network for the Local Area Connection
in Network Connections (DESKTOP running Windows Vista)

In Windows XP, the status of the connected network adapter (Local Area Connection) is Limited or no connectivity which indicates it has no Internet connection. Meanwhile, IP address and subnet mask are displayed on the Details pane so there is no need to open another window.

Windows XP : Network Connections - Limited or no connectivity - APIPA IP address

Picture: Private IP address 169.254.x.y and subnet mask
on the client computer (LAPTOP running Windows XP)

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