How to connect a computer to a computer

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1. Choose a method

The best way to connect computers is through a router. You can assemble all your devices on a single network to share files between them and use a shared printer.

If you do not have a router, you can connect a pair of computers directly using a LAN cable. This item is inexpensive, and can be purchased at any computer hardware store.

2. Connect computers

Using a router

It is possible that you already got the router from the provider. Or you can buy it yourself.

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You can connect to the router either using cables or wirelessly. For example, connect a laptop via Wi ‑ Fi, and a desktop computer via a cable.

Via cables

You will need LAN cables, they are also called Ethernet cables or network cables. They look like this:

            How to connect a computer to a computer

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To connect the device to the router, take a LAN cable and connect one end of it to the network connector of the computer. It looks like this:

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Insert the other end of the cable into a similar connector on the router.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Repeat this operation with the second computer.

The LAN cable has a special latch that prevents it from accidentally falling out of the port. When connected, a characteristic click is heard. If you need to remove the cable from the connector, first press the latch, then carefully remove the connector, otherwise it will not succumb.

Important: do not confuse the LAN connector on the router with the WAN port. The latter may differ in color or be located away from the LAN-connectors. The cable of your Internet service provider is connected to it.

Via Wi-Fi

If you do not want to pull the cables, and the computers are equipped with Wi-Fi-modules, you can connect them to the router without wires. You need only the network name and password from it.

You can’t imagine what your Wi-Fi network is called, what is its password and what does this box with blinking lights generally do? Read our instructions.

find out
                    💻

How to configure a router without the help of a specialist

Windows

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Left-click on the network icon located in the lower right corner. A list of available Wi ‑ Fi networks appears. Choose yours. Mark the checkbox “Connect automatically” and click “Connect”. Enter the password for the network and click "Next".

macOS

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Click the Wi ‑ Fi icon in the upper right corner. Select your network from the list and click on its name. A window will appear asking you to enter a password. Do this and click "Connect."

Linux

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Click the Wi ‑ Fi tray icon. Depending on the Linux shell, it may be located at the top or bottom of the screen, in the right corner.

Select your network from the list. A window will appear asking you to enter a password. Do this and click "Connect."

Via cable directly

Take a LAN ‑ cable and connect one end to the network connector of the first computer, and the other to the connector of the second.

3. Making folders public

Now that the computers are connected, the matter is small. You need to specify which folders should be available for public use.

Windows

Make sure that sharing is enabled on the system. To do this, click "Start" → "Settings" → "Network and Internet" → "Sharing Options".

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Check in the "Private" section that the "Enable network discovery", "Enable automatic configuration on network devices" and "Enable file and printer sharing" options are active.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Click "All networks" and activate the option "Enable sharing so that network users can read and write files to shared folders."

Please note: in order to access shared files and folders, by default you need an account on the computer where they are stored. When you try to connect, the system will ask you to enter a username and password. If you don’t want to bother with this, select the option “Disable sharing with password protection”. Your files will still be safe: only devices that are on your local network can access them.

Click Save Changes.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Now right-click on the folder you want to share. Choose "Grant Access" → "Individuals."

            How to connect a computer to a computer

In the window that opens, click on the arrow next to the empty field and select “All”. Click Add.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

In the “Permission Level” column, specify the “Read” options to allow only viewing the contents of the folder from another computer, or “Read and Write” so that it can also be changed.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Click Share, then Finish.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Finally, you need to find out the name under which your computer is listed on the network. Click "Start" → "Settings" → "System" → "About System". You will see the item “Device Name”. So that you can easily find the computer you need in the list of devices on the local network, you can change the name. To do this, click Rename PC.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

macOS

Open System Preferences → Sharing. Turn on the “File Sharing” option on the side.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Click the plus sign below the Shared Folders section. Choose the one you want to share.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

On the right is another field. It indicates whether you can change the contents of your folder from another computer. Click on the drop-down menu next to the “All Users” item and select the desired access level: “Read and Write”, “Read Only” or “Write Only”.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Click “Options” and check the box “Share files and folders using SMB”. Then check your macOS account in the box below.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

If you want to connect to shared folders on a Mac without a password, go to System Preferences → Users and Groups. Click on the lock and enter your user password, if necessary. Then select the “Guest” account and activate the option “Allow guests to connect to shared folders”.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

You can find out the Mac name on the local network by looking at the top of the window in the "Sharing" settings. To change it, click “Change” and enter a different name, then click OK.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Now you can close the window.

Linux

Select the desired folder and right-click on it. Click “Public LAN Folder.”

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Turn on the "Publish this folder" checkbox. For the first time, the system will prompt you to download the necessary applications for working with the local network. Click “Install Service”, then confirm “Install” and enter your user password. Wait a couple of minutes for the service to install.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Now click "Allow other users to change the contents of the folder" and "Guest access" (so that you do not enter any passwords again). Click "Apply" and "Set rights automatically." That's it, now the folder is open for public use.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Click “Show applications” → “Settings” → “Sharing” and make sure that the switch in the window title is activated.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Here you can find out and change the name under which the computer is displayed on the local network.

4. View files on another computer

Windows

Open "Explorer" and select the "Network" section in the side menu on the left. You will see all the devices with which you are connected. Select your computer. If you enabled guest access on it, all its public folders will open in front of you. If not, the system will first ask you to enter the name and password of the account that you use on that computer.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

It happens that the computer you need is not displayed in the list, although you did everything right. Then connect to it by entering its name in the address bar of the "Explorer".

For example, if our second computer is called iMac.local, in the "Explorer" we enter a double backslash and the name:

\ iMac.local

And before us opens all the shared files.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

You can click on the computer name in the side menu and select “Pin to Quick Access Toolbar”. It will remain there, and you will not have to enter anything else manually.

macOS

Open Finder and click Go → Network.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

You will find all the computers on the local network. Click on the one you need.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

If you enabled guest access on it, then the connection will occur immediately. If not, the system will request credentials. Enter the name and password that you use on the computer to which you are connecting.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

If your Mac does not display a computer on your local network, you can connect to it directly. To do this, click Finder → “Go” → “Connect to the server”. Enter the name of the computer you are connecting to, along with the smb: // prefix, for example:

smb: // desktop ‑ sd9hje9

Select which folder you want to connect and click OK. Enter a username and password if necessary.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Now the connected computer will remain in the sidebar of the Finder in the "Network" section.

Linux

Open the file manager and click on the "Other Places" button on the sidebar. You will see all the computers that are connected to the local network. In this case, computers with Windows will be moved to a separate folder.

            How to connect a computer to a computer

Click the desired device, enter the name and password of its account if necessary, and you will see all public folders.

If for some reason the computer does not appear in the list, enter its name with the prefix smb: // in the "Connect to server" field, for example:

smb: // desktop ‑ sd9hje9

And click "Connect."

Now you can exchange files between all computers on the local network.

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