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How to connect desktop to laptop?

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I want to share my internet connection with my laptop. My desktop is XP and laptop is windows 7, is it possible? I do not have a router so can I connect directly using a network cable? What's the easiest way to do this?
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The easiest way is to get a wireless router, connect that to your DSL phone socket, then connect both computers to the router with an ethernet cable, or one with an ethernet cable and the other connected wirelessly. This setup allows either PC to connect to the internet quite independently of the other one (ie, for internet access with one computer you don't need to have both computers running).

The other way is to make use of Windows' built-in Internet Connection Sharing (ICS), but this requires that the "host" computer be running if you want to access the internet with the other computer. See this: http://windows.micro...nection-Sharing

Since the appearance of reasonably-priced wireless routers, ICS is now rarely used. Everyone I know with a shared internet connection uses the wireless router setup.

Edited by phillipcorcoran, 01 May 2011 - 07:37 AM.

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