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Connecting desktop to laptop

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Hi there,
I want to connect my laptop to my desktop at the end of everyday so I can work at home on my laptop with files that I have modified during the day. What is the easiest and fastest way to do this? I've tried connecting both with a crossover ethernet cable, but had so much trouble changing network settings, etc that I gave up. My problem is that my deskptop is hooked up to a university network most of the day and my laptop to the internet at home everyday and the only time I want to sync them is for the period to sync file folders. Both my laptop and desktop are connected to different networks (deskptop is connected to a university network and my laptop is connected to the internet at home) during the day and that's why I don't want to fool with network settings too much. I've also heard that a USB to USB cable can work and is maybe less of a hassle than setting up a network between the computers.
Both systems are running Windows Vista Home Premium and both are HP models.
Thanks for any help!
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