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Connect two desktops

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I have two desktop computers: one is vista, the other is xp. I want to connect them to share files and functionality, but operate both with one keyboard, one mouse and one monitor and also keep my internet connection.
I have read on the internet that this is possible, but can't find exactly how to do it. Some sites say that you need a ethernet crossover cable, while others say a hub, but there seems to be no agreement on this. I would like to know exactly how this is done in the cheapest and easiest way (I am not a computer expert). Thanks, so much for your help and advice. Please feel free to email me about this.
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Unless you are only wanting to use one computer at a time, you will need some additional equipment to use the same monitor, mouse, and keyboard and the same internet connection.

To use the monitor, mouse, and keyboard, you will need what is called a KVM switch. You can get a relatively inexpensive one for a 2 computer setup. Probably the best bet would be some place like Ebay.

To share the internet connection (I am assuming you are using broadband, like cable or dsl internet, or perhaps satelite?), you will need a router. These aren't all that expensive anymore either. I prefer the Dlink brand, but there are plenty of opinions that will steer you toward others as well. You can pick one up at your local office supply type store like Office Max... etc.
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