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How to Network Two Windows 95/98 Computers
Last updated: 1/17/2000

INTRODUCTION.  A local area network (LAN) consists of one or more computers networked together, with cables and networking hardware and software components, in a small area such as home office, building, or even a group of buildings, such as a college campus.  This article will show you how to setup the simplest of Local Area Networks:  two Windows 95/98 computers, each with a network interface card (NIC) and connected together with a twisted-pair crossover cable.  Once networked you will be able to share disk drives, printers, and Internet connections, and play multi-computer games.

This is known as a peer-to-peer network.  There is no dedicated file server controlling the network. 

PROTOCOLS.  A protocol is a standard set of rules, embodied in software and hardware, which determine how computers communicate with each other across networks.  The protocols we will be concerned with are:

TCP/IP  or Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol are the protocols used on the Internet and may be used on a LAN to share an Internet connection and for other purposes, such as to communicate with LAN-based web server.

IPX/SPX is the protocol used on Novell networks.  You  may need it for some programs, most notably, in the case of a 2-PC network, to run some multi-PC games.

NetBEUI ("net buoy"), or NetBIOS Extended User Interface, is a fast, efficient protocol used primarily in smaller LANs.  This is one of the easiest protocols to install and configure and the one we will use if the other two protocols are not required for the LAN.  In a 2-PC network we would use TCP/IP for the dial-up adapter and the Internet and NetBEUI for the network adapter and the LAN.  If we were to use TCP/IP for the LAN, it would not work as well and would require additional and more complex steps to configure.

This article will cover only the use of NetBEUI and configuring it with TCP/IP and a dial-up connection present.  I plan to cover other configurations and networking with Windows 98 Second Edition in future articles.  These instructions will get you going...  I would install the NetBEUI protocol first, anyway, to do initial configuration, testing, and troubleshooting of the network.  That is, start as simple as possible before implementing more complex protocols.  If you can get NetBEUI working, you will know that the network adapters and cable are functioning properly.

UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE

  If you have a Super7 motherboard with the VIA MVP3 chipset, such as the Epox MVP3G-M, and Windows 98, download install Via's IRQ Routing Driver.  Without it, you will probably have interrupt (IRQ) problems with your network adapter.

  Make sure your Windows 98 is up-to-date.  There is a known problem with the original version Windows 98 and Plug 'n Play network adapters which may cause problems with implementing these instructions.  If you have Windows 98, click Start, Click Windows Update at the top of the menu, connect to Microsoft and update.  You may want to consider upgrading to Windows 98 Second Edition or ordering the Windows 98 Service Pack 1.

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.