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How to Network Windows 7 with Windows XP

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/12/2010

If you've bought a new Windows 7 laptop or PC and still have a Windows XP computer at home with many files on it that you would like to access, this guide to networking a Windows XP computer with a Windows 7 machine should explain all you need to know.

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    Windows Network Shares

    How to network Windows XP and Windows 7 If you’ve just got yourself a new Windows 7 computer and need to connect to a Windows XP machine, you can use the standard Windows networking to establish the connection.

    While there are two different operating systems in use, as long as both devices are connected to the same local network and a drive is shared, you can network Windows XP and Windows 7 computers.

    The benefits of this are considerable – for instance you could use a main Windows PC with acres of hard disk space as a central data store, and connect to it from a brand new Windows 7 laptop.

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    Network Windows XP and Windows 7

    To set up file and printer sharing between a Windows XP and Windows 7 PC, you first need to configure your Windows XP computer to allow access from other computers on your network.

    This is done by starting the network wizard, which you can do by right-clicking on the drive or folder you wish to share across your network, selecting Sharing and Security and assigning a name to the drive.

    Once permissions have been assigned correctly, Windows XP will begin the sharing wizard. This configures the operating system to permit connections from other computers on the network, and will need to be run on all other Windows XP computers you wish to connect.

    Windows 7 computers come already configured for this – all you need to do is point your computer at the shared drive and you’re ready to open folders and files, edit and save!

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    Configuring Remote Drives in Windows 7

    Use the map network drive command to network windows xp and windows 7 With a Windows XP PC configured to accept network connections, you can access the drive you shared by opening Start > Computer and choosing Map network drive from the tool bar. The next step is to give the drive a letter. This can be a letter you designate on your Windows 7 machine, but you might wish to use the same letter as assigned to the drive on your Windows XP computer for simplicity.

    Next, enter the name of the folder. On my computer, ATOMIC-XP, I have a drive called K:, known as “Website.” This can be entered into the Folder: field either as \\atomic-xp\website or the intended location can be found by browsing. Ticking the Reconnect at logon option will allow you to avoid going through this process again in future; click OK to complete.

    If permissions have been correctly assigned, you will now be able to open and edit files on your Windows XP computer from the comfort of your Windows 7 computer.

    Another benefit of this form of network filesharing is that you can also share printers across your local network.