After hours of researching I noticed many users are experiencing the same problem so I decided to write this post so it saves others time and frustration. Before I begin I'd like to point out that I already had a home network setup between three computers through a modem/router from Bell. Two desktop computers are connected directly by ethernet cable and one laptop on wireless connection.
1. Step one, have all your updates installed and unneccessary applications turned off so you don't have to restart your computer in the middle of operations.
2. Two, use Home Network Wizard on the machine with XP OS (operating system) to setup initial network group. (Start>Control Panel>Network Connections>Set up a home or small office network>follow instructions and setup according to your router or network connections, view examples to help you determine the right option.) Restart your computer once this is complete.
3. Three, on the machine with Vista OS, click Start (Vista icon)>right click Computer>in the "Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings" section click Change settings on the right side of the screen. In the pop-up window, click Change (To rename this computer), under Workgroup: type exactly the same name you specified during step two in Home Networking Wizard and click OK. (If you forgot the workgroup name, go to machine with XP OS, right-click My Computer>Properties>Select Computer Name tab>check WORKGROUP name)
4. Four, still on the machine with Vista OS, click Start>Network>Network and Sharing Center>set as follows:
- Network discovery - On
- File sharing - On
- Public folder sharing - On
- Printer sharing - Off (unless you have a printer to share on this machine)
- Password protected sharing - Off (you don't want to be prompted for a password everytime you access your files within the network)
- Media sharing - Off (you don't need to share all your media at once, you may select each folder separately later on)
5. Five, from the Network and Sharing Center window use the Tasks navigation menu on the left hand side to select "Manage network connections", then right-click your current working network connection and click Properties>select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click Properties, make sure that 'Obtain an IP address automatically' and 'Obtain DNS server address automatically' is selected. Click OK and Close wireless network connection properties window.
6. Six, (still on the Vista machine) click Start>Computer>right-click your system drive (C:) and click Share>click Advanced Sharing button>confirm that Share this folder is check-marked and click Permissions underneath the comments field>check the following in the 'Allow" column: Full control, Change, and Read. Click OK, once again OK and Close hard drive properties window.
7. Seven, technically you should have shared folders on your Vista machine automatically but after reading numerous forum posts it came to my attention that users had to share folders within folders or sub-folders to actually be able and access them, otherwise XP OS will simply show that these folders are shared but restrict access to them. So, click Start>Computer>open C: drive>right-click New, then Folder. Pick whatever name you want, then right-click the folder you've just created and click Properties>switch to Sharing tab>click Share button, then choose Change sharing permissions option>once opened simply click Share and Close folder Properties.
8. Eight, you're almost done. Completely close/exit all kinds of anti-virus software applications you may have to prevent all sorts of port or traffic blockings.
9. Nine, restart your computer one last time.
10. Ten, you are officially done, but lets make sure everything is setup properly. On both machines open Run window (Windows + R), type CMD, in the black pop-up window type "ipconfig /all" (without quotes) and press Enter. Make sure that Default Gateway, DHCP Server, DNS Servers and Subnet Mask are the same on both machines. Only IPv4 Address will vary by last two digits, ex. 192.168.2.XX (its suppose to be that way).
(Note: For those without DHCP enabled you may have to turn NetBIOS over TCP/IP setting manually. To do this, click Start>Network>Network and Sharing Center>click Manage network connections>right-click local connection and choose Properties>select Internet Protocol Version 4 and click Properties>click Advanced>switch to WINS tab>select Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.)
I used a Toshiba laptop on wireless connection to get the network going, the steps for Ethernet connected computers are exactly the same, if you have any questions, comments or concerts please do let me know and I will try my best to help you out.
Unfortunately, even with all these settings configured we couldn't get a lan game going because Need For Speed Underground 2 requires additional settings adjusted before users are able of hosting or joing lan servers. But, we were able to play Heroes of Might and Magic 5 with no problem.
It came to my attention that after a few restarts default anti-virus software, such as Norton are automatically turned on again and they will block disable your network connection to Vista machine. I suggest you turn Norton off completely or remove it from your computer because its a trial version anyways. If you insist on keeping Norton you may disable it while you use network connection and enable it afterwards or contact Norton support to find out how to set-up Norton application so it doesn't block your home network.