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How to Connect a Netbook to a Desktop PC

Connecting a netbook to a desktop PC is not difficult. There are various ways to do it, but the two most common techniques are either through a wired/wireless network connecting through your DSL or cable router, or using a special Ethernet cable called a "Cat5 Ethernet Crossover Cable" to physically connect the two computers. This tutorial will show you how to use the Cat5 Ethernet crossover cable to directly connect the two computers.

A crossover cable looks just like a typical Ethernet cable, but the wires inside the cable are modified for the specific purpose of allowing the two computers to transmit data directly to each other. You can purchase a crossover cable at an electronic retailer store.

Check both computers to ensure that your network capability is enabled.

In Vista, go to "Start," "Control Panel" and open Network and Sharing Center. Look for "Sharing and Discovery." Under this title is "Network Discovery." The small button should be green, and when you click the arrow, "Turn on network discovery" should be selected. If it is not, select it. Click "Apply." Close the "Network and Sharing Center" and the Control Panel window, and reboot your computer. Recheck to ensure the "Turn on network discovery" is selected.

In XP, go to "Start," "Control Panel" and open "Network Connections." Right-click on the "Local Area Connection" icon to ensure that this is enabled. If it is not enabled and you do enable it now, reboot your computer before proceeding.

Turn off both computers.

Double-check your Ethernet cable to be sure it is a crossover cable (the cable should be labelled as such). Insert the crossover cable into the Ethernet RJ-45 modems of both computers.

Turn on one computer and allow it to boot up completely before you turn on the other computer.

Check to see if the netbook and PC "see" each other.

In Vista, go to "Start," "Control Panel," and open "Network and Sharing Center." At the top left side panel, under "Tasks," click "View Computers and Devices." You should see the other computer listed as a connected computer.

In XP, go to "Start," and "My Network Places." The connected computer should be listed there.

Things You'll Need

  • Netbook (running Windows Vista or XP) with Ethernet port capability (a RJ-45 modem)
  • PC (running Windows Vista or XP) with Ethernet port capability (a RJ-45 modem)
  • Cat5 Ethernet crossover cable, any length
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About the Author

Rebecca Mecomber, a former radio broadcaster, has been a professional blogger and writer since 2006. Her articles and interviews have appeared in "The Wall Street Journal," Salon.com and several other publications, covering topics such as Federal Trade Commission policy and media regulations, blogging, home improvement and New York travel.