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I have a laptop running CrunchBang linux (debian based) and a Windows 7 desktop. I use the desktop only for working on SQL Server and Visual Studio and use the laptop for everything else.

Internet setup
From the laptop, I use a wireless router to connect to internet, which gets its internet from a DSL internet connection cable. For the desktop, I simply connect a LAN cable to one of the router's empty LAN ports.

I have now bought a Crossover cable with the intention of connecting both these machines.

I don't want to share the internet connection.

I want to be able to connect to the SQL Server residing in the Windows 7 machine to do some practice. I know that I need to use an rdp client to access a windows machine. I connected both machines using the cable, but I am not sure I am actually connected. Windows 7 machine shows as connected to Unidentified network and has a warning symbol at the bottom of the Network Connections tray icon.

How do I ensure that I am connected to the Windows 7 machine from my laptop?

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You need to set it up with a static IP – Simon Sheehan Jun 7 '12 at 13:16
From Windows or Linux? Can you please point me to step-by-step guide to doing so? – Nanda Jun 7 '12 at 13:18
With modern systems - gig-e on at least one end, a crossover cable would be unnecessary. – Journeyman Geek Jun 7 '12 at 13:37
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Having both machines connected to the same router makes them connected to each other .. you do not need to connect them with a cable..

To connect to your windows machine from your laptop you have to:

a. On windows:

  • Start -> Run -> type cmd and press the Enter key (this will open a command prompt window)
  • in cmd window type 'ipconfig' (without quotes) and press the Enter key
  • check the ip address

b. On laptop:

  • use a rdp client to connect to the ip of the windows machine
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You will always benefit from a direct computer to computer connection. The router will add some overhead because it has to receive the packets and then retransmit them. Plus there's the packet inspection or any port checking it has to do.

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