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I've never setup a home network, so I'm looking for a little bit of help on setting up a home network with the following hardware:

  1. Linksys router.
  2. Desktop connected to router via CAT5.
  3. Laptop connected to router via wireless.

Both the desktop and laptop are running WinXP.

How do I setup a home network? Should I have a domain controller so I authenticate with the same password on any computer?

I'm not looking for anything too fancy; I just want to be able to see all the computers, share internet access, and share the printer connected to my desktop.

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@MaQleod - This is a pretty dated question. I'm wondering if it is specific to XP. More recent versions of Windows have a wizard to set everything up. Do you know if that was the case with XP? It's a bit of a different question if the implication is that every setting had to be done manually. – fixer1234 Dec 30 '14 at 9:15

As you are not looking for anything fancy I would say that you should steer clear of a having a domain controller.

You would need one if say you wanted to run your own exchange server, but for 99.99% of the things a home user does you just don't need it.

To keep things simple you should just have the user accounts with the same name and password on both machines.

You will be able to plug in your printer to the desktop and then share it out for the laptop to use.

Setup your the router to be your DHCP and DNS server, as opposed to your PC, again trying to keep things as simple as possible.

Also be sure to change the password on your router so that it is not the default.

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And don't forget to secure your wireless via WPA (not WEP). – Ben Doom Jul 27 '09 at 23:39

By connecting all of the computers to the Router using DHCP and the same Workgroup, you will be able to see all of the devices.

You don't need a domain controller, that would be overkill for your setup. You can use the same username and password on the desktop and laptop and that should allow you to access the other systems.


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Once you plug everything into your Router, and configure everything to use the same workgroup, I recommend using a utility such as Network Magic to run diagnostics and make sure you have everything configured (and secured) properly.

Wireless security is a must. Just like you wouldn't leave town for a week with your front door open, you don't want to leave your home network open for just anyone to use and abuse. Lock down your wireless with a WEP key AND use the MAC address allowed table in your wireless router to keep would be intruders out.

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