Setting up Peer to Peer Networking for Windows 9x Computers

Throughout this essay you will be required to edit/add information in the Network section and the Device Manager in the System section of Control Panel.
The quickest and easiest ways to do this are as follows..
For Device Manager hold the <ALT> key and double click "My Computer"
(The alternate quickest way is to right click and then click properties)
You will be in the System Properties .. select Device Manager
For Network hold the <ALT> key and double click "Network Neighborhood"

Assumptions are that you are installing a NE2000 Network Interface Card as it is the most popular.  If not you will need to refer to your card's manual for addition information, however most of this information is still required.  Also, do not reboot unless instructed below.  Everything will work, but will take longer.

 First of all you'll need to make some decisions on connecting the computers.  If you only have 2 - 5 computers  Cheapnet or Thinnet may be used but I don't recommend it for performance reasons. It uses RG-58AU coax cabling.  This is easily purchased at most Radio Shacks, etc.  You will need a “Terminator” on each end of the LAN segment and a “T-Connector” for each network card. (You cannot plug the cable end directly into the card, you must use the “T-Connector”)

 I prefer using twisted pair with Category 5 LAN cable.  If you only have 2 computers you can use a “crossover” cable.  If you have more than that you must use a hub (or multiplexer). Good hubs cost from $30 for 4 port to over $300 for a top quality 16 port hub.  I have included, at the end of this document, the pinouts for a twisted pair “crossover” cable if you are only using 2 computers. With the advent of Cable Modems in our area an excellent choice is a "Netgear 4 port hub where one of the 4 ports can be used as an "uplink port" for the Cable Modem connection. This leaves three ports for your computers.

 Second, you need to acquire your network cards.  If you have a Pentium computer please make your life easier and purchase one of the many PCI cards available.  If your computer only has ISA slots available then I’d get a good NE2000 generic clone.  Both types can be found locally in your area for under $30.00. If you will be using a crossover cable then three cards will be needed: One for the Cable Modem plus one in each machine for your network.

1      If your installing a PCI network card you can PROBABLY skip to section  4

2      Boot Windows 95 before installing your network card.  Go into Device Manager.  Double click  Computer (the first entry)   You need to first find an available interrupt as all devices need a  unique one to function.  Write down an unused interrupt number.  Now click on Input/Output.  Look for unused addresses between 200 and 3E0.  I strongly suggest using the following addresses if unused: 240, 260, 280, 300, 320, 340, 360 as they are the most common.  Write down an unused IO address ( I suggest these as most of the NE2000 compatibles I have seen support them)

3      Shutdown your computer.  Examine your network card and manual.  Does it require you to set  hardware jumpers or is it software settable?  If it has jumpers, set the IO Base (Input/Output)  and IRQ (Interrupt) to the settings you documented, referring to the manual if needed.  If a jumperless card, boot computer to Command Prompt Only by hitting  the <F8> key when your computer says "Starting Windows 95" Insert the diskette that came with your card an run the setup program for the card. DO NOT  allow the program to automatically set your card up... you know more than it does about your  computer! Select the setup program's Manual Mode and input the documented information  If the program has a testing section for the card with your settings, use it!

4      With your Network card installed Restart your computer.  It is probable that you'll get a New Hardware Found message if you have a PCI card. I suggest you select Have Disk.  Insert the diskette included with your PCI card. You may need to browse the directories on the floppy, normally the drivers will be in a “win95”  directory. If you do not have a PCI card, then select Novell/Anthem.  Then NE2000 Compatible. Proceed to section 5

5      You should be brought to the main network section, and will see Ipx/Spx Protocol, Client for  Microsoft Networks and NetBEUI in addition to NE2000 Compatible adapter or whichever adapter you installed.  Double click your adapter.  Select Resources.  Here you will be able to input the correct settings for your ISA card.

6      If you are sharing the Internet on you LAN you will also need the TCP/IP protocol. If you are using a Gateway program then you will need 2 network cards. One for the Cable Modem/DSL connection and a seperate card for the LAN connection. This can be tricky since they both show up identically in your network properties. If possible use two different types of cards. Example: Use a 10/100 fast Ethernet card for your LAN connection and a standard 10 base T card for your Internet connection. This makes it easier since they will show up differently in your network definitions.

7      For Identification:  Give this computer a descriptive UNIQUE Name, then pick a Workgroup name. The Workgroup name will probably be the same on all the computers on your small network. Try not to use spaces or special characters in the Workgroup name. Select Access Control.  Select Share Level.  Select File and Print Sharing in the main Network section.  Select both options if you intend to share both types of resources.

8      Now you may reboot.  Open My Computer.  Right click on the Hard Drive or folder you want to share.  Select  Sharing.  Select Share As.  Use a descriptive name such as C_Drive or CD_Rom. Again I suggest not using spaces in the naming scheme.  If you do not require security, give Full  Rights.  You will now see a hand under the Icon, signifying that is shareable. You may share your printers the same way, by opening Printers from the My Computer Icon, and  right-clicking the printer you want to share, and select Sharing.

9     Do the same on your workstations, setting up shared drives, folders, and printers as needed.

10   To access shared drives simply double click Network Neighborhood and then the computer  whose resource you want to use.  Double click the remote computer's shared resource name shown for the drive or printer. You may "map" a permanent drive letter to a resource if necessary by right clicking on the resource and selecting Map if your application requires it. This results in a new drive letter on your machine making it look like the remote resource is a drive on your computer.

11     When doing a clean install of Windows 9x (any version) to a PC that has a PCI network interface card installed, peer-to-peer networking may not work properly after it is installed. A fix for this may be by clicking on Control Panel, Network. Double-click the icon for your PCI NIC and click on the Advanced
tab. Select the exact PCI slot number the NIC is in, reboot, and peer-to-peer networking should be up and running. If browsing the Network Neighborhood still doesn't work...try this:
         Shell to MS Dos.  Type "Net Use drive \\server\resource" For example:   "Net Use f: \\Server\C_Drive"  This should result on your computer having an    "F" drive which is actually a resource elsewhere in the network.
 If this doesn’t work, you've got problems and need to talk to your local computer network genius.  You could have either cable problems or the network card may not be set up right. In a typical situation this scenario will usually work.

 That's it.  You should be connected.  Now you can share your resources to others in the network and access other network resources that are shared. You may now implement any security you require.

  If you are not plugging your Cable Modem into the hub you must now install any Software which will share your Internet connection to your Downstream machines. This software turns this machine, into which the Cable Modem plugs, into what is called a "Gateway" machine. HINT!!Most Cable Modems limit the number of NIC cards that the Cable Modem may support. If you plug your Cable Modem into a hub the Modem can see All the NIC cards on the network but will share only to the limit defined in the Modem. If your Cable Modem is limited to less than the number of computers in your network using Gateway software allows the Cable Modem to see only the 1 network card it is plugged into but the Gateway software will share the Internet to all gateway client computers on your network. Cable companies prefer pluging into a hub for simplicty and to limit the bandwidth used by the Cable Modem by limiting how many machines the Cable Modem will support. Using Gateway software allows networks with many users to bypass this limitation.

Here’s the Crossover Pinout for your Twisted Pair Catagory 5 Cable…

                                  Function    Pin#               Pin#   Function
                                  TX+              1    <-------->   3        RX+
                                  TX-               2    <-------->   6        RX-
                                  RX+              3    <-------->   1        TX+
                                  RX-               6    <-------->   2        TX-