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Windows 7: Who wants to help me figure this out?

09 May 2011   #1

3 computers: Win XP 32 bit, Win 7 Home prem 32 bit and 64 bit
Who wants to help me figure this out?

Computer 1.
I have a desktop running Windows XP (32bit) that is my main home computer. It is receiving wired internet service through ethernet cable that connects it to a high speed modem. This computer has a USB Linksys b/g/n wireless adapter. This computer has two very large hard drives that I use for backup/storage, and also houses my complete music and photo libraries. I do not have a router, and really have no interest in purchasing one.

Computer 2.
I also have laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit), which has a b/g/n wireless card.

Computer 3.
My girlfriend has a laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium (32bit), also with a b/g/n/ wireless card.

What I've done so far:
I have enabled my desktop to share its internet connection, thus making into a sort of wireless hotspot. I am not sure if this is properly referred to as an "ad-hoc" connection, but anyway, when either of the laptops are in range of the desktop, this wireless network appears in their available networks box, and I can connect the laptops to the internet via this connection. It is very easy and smooth, and does not require reconfiguring any of the computers. (In fact, the only computer that ever needed any configuring was the host desktop. The laptops simply found the signal automatically in their available networks box). Moreover, any other friend who brings their laptop can get internet service via my desktop, as long as I give them the password.

What I would like to do:
I would like to set up a network that allows me to easily and wirelessly transfer files back and forth from my laptop to my desktop, so that I can backup laptop files onto the desktop's large HD. I would also like to be able to share and exchange music and photos with my girlfriend (and potentially with other friends who visit; but for now I'd be happy just to get this to work with my and my girlfriend's laptops).

If possible, I would like to set this up in a way that requires no future re-configuring of any of the computers. I am very new to networking but the many tutorials I have seen usually recommend to have the Windows 7 computer orchestrate the whole process of network setup. However, I am reluctant to do that because I am afraid of causing changes to my Desktop's settings that may affect my ability to successfully share my internet connection. So my instincts tell me that it is better to make the necessary incremental changes to my XP desktop system that are required to add networking, rather than to just initiate a new network setup on one of the laptops.

Can anyone walk me through how to do this? I feel like I am already half way there, because obviously the computers are aware of each other's presence and sharing internet signals. I just want to complete this connectivity by adding file sharing functionality.

My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Who wants to help me figure this out?

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