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Tips and Tricks > Connect 2 Laptops Wirelessly & Share

Connect 2 Laptops Wirelessly & Share

Need to share data quickly without any Internet connection? Here is what you do:

If you have a networking device such as a router or switch, you can get your computers to link to each other, by using file sharing, authorizations & firewall configurations.
If your computer has a wireless card and so does your friend, you can use the cards to make a wireless connection. Once they are connected wirelessly (peer-to-peer ad-hoc wireless network), you can easily start sharing data.
Here are the steps for creating the network for both Windows or in OS X Operating Systems. Ad-hoc networks in general have limitations that make them effective for certain situations only: 
A Ad-hoc network  requires a max speed of 11Mbps and is slower than b/g/n/ac max speeds.
One can’t monitor signal strength of ad-hoc networks, therefore you have to ensure that the computers are close to each other and not to mobile. Remember ad-hoc networks don’t support all the security features and can be easily hacked.

Setting Up your ad hoc Network

These instructions can be used for Windows7, Windows 8 and Windows Vista.
To get started, open the Control Panel and click on Network and Sharing Center:

On the next dialog, click on the Setup a new connection or network:
Scroll down to find the Setup a wireless ad hoc (computer-to-computer) network option:
On the next dialog, the ad hoc wireless network is explained and will indicate you’re current wireless network connection status. Go forth and click Next:

Here choose a network a name, select a security type and give it a security key. For the security key, you can choose from only three options: no authentication, WEP or WPA2-Personal. The default is WPA2-Personal, which is the strongest. Click next and then you’ll get a dialog showing you that the network has been successfully setup. Remember to check the Save this network box, when you disconnect from the ad hoc network, it will disappear. 

At this stage you have completed the first step. Next open your list of wireless networks and you will see your newly created network listed along with the rest of the wireless networks. Click on it to connect.

Once you are connected, you’ll see a message next to the network name that says Waiting for users. The new network is now ready to accept new connections / users. At this stage you able to connect and share data between the two PC's or Notebooks. 

Share Data Across ad hoc Network:

Now that you got the ad hoc network setup, have the other users connect to your new peer network. 

At this point, you have several ways to share data between the PC's / Notebooks. Here are the options based on the different scenarios:
For Windows 7 & 8 users
– If the devices are all running Windows 7 or higher, you can use the homegroup feature that allows you share music, videos, documents, pictures and printers quick and easy.

For Windows 7, 8, Windows XP and Windows Vista users
– Computers running Windows, but there are Windows XP and Windows Vista users, then all the computers needs be joined to the same workgroup and be sure to enable the network discovery,file and printer sharing options.
For Windows & Mac users

– With a mix of operating systems like Windows and Mac, one needs to use file sharing and permissions. The most important things here are making sure the user account in Windows has a password (otherwise you can’t connect to a file share) and enabling file sharing on the non-Windows operating systems correctly.

We’ll create a new homegroup and on the next screen, you’ll be asked what items you want to share. You can choose from Pictures, Music, Videos, Documents and Printers. Click Next and you’ll get a screen with a homegroup password.

At this point, you just need everyone else to do the same thing as shown above, but to join the existing homegroup rather than creating a new one. Once you do that, you can open Explorer and click on Homegroup in the left-hand menu. When others join the homegroup, the shared data folders will appear there and you whatever is dropped into those folders will be visible to everyone in the homegroup.

Workgroup Sharing
If you have computers running Windows XP and Vista in the mix, then the homegroup option will not work. In that case, you still have options. Firstly, if you are trying to connect from the XP or Vista machine to a Windows 7 or higher machine, then there are a couple of things you need to setup on the Windows 7 or higher machine.
Firstly. you need to make sure the ad hoc network is setup so that its network type is either Home or Work. To do that, open Network and Sharing center again and then click on the link that is below the name of the wireless network. If it already says Home, then you’re set. If not, then you want to click on it and set the network location to Home. That will allow sharing on the network with other computers.

The next thing to do is to make sure that all the computers are in the same workgroup. This is especially important for Windows XP and Windows Vista computers that you want to access via a Windows 7 or higher machine. By default, most Windows machines are in the WORKGROUP workgroup, so you may not have to change anything, but it’s a good idea to check.
On Windows XP, click on Start, right-click on My Computer and choose Properties. Under System Properties, click on the Computer Name tab. Click Change if you need to change the workgroup name.
On Windows Vista and higher machines, click on Start, right-click on Computer and then click Properties. Under the Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings section, click the Change settings button if you need to change the name.
Now the last thing we need to do applies to Windows 7 and higher. Go to Explorer and click on Network in the left-hand menu.


When you do that, you might see a bar pop up that says Network discovery and file sharing are turned off. Network computers and devices are not visible. Click to change. Go ahead and click on that and choose Turn on network discovery and file sharing. Once you do this, you should see all the other computers that are on the ad hoc network as long as network discovery and file sharing and enabled on them too. Just follow the same procedure on each computer to turn it on. The process mentioned above is just for Windows 7 and higher. Here’s how to do it on the other operating systems:
Enable File Sharing Windows XP
Enable File Sharing and Network Discovery Windows Vista
For all the advanced sharing options, go to Network and Sharing Center from the Control Panel and click on Change advanced sharing settings link.

Here you will find all the options for sharing, some of which we mentioned above. Make sure you are looking at the settings for the Home or Work profile and not for the Public profile.

The top section is network discovery and file and printer sharing, which we already talked about. Public folder sharing is if you want to allow others to access only the public folders over the network. If you’re doing this over a ad hoc network, then just turn it on.

Media streaming will allow others to stream content from your computer, but you can disable this and still share data between computers just fine. File sharing connections are set to use 128-bit encryption by default, so you should probably leave that setting alone. Password protected sharing makes it so that you have to use a user name and password from the computer you are trying to access in order to see the shared folders/files. If you don’t want to have to do that, then you can turn off this option. Lastly, homegroup connections will be accepted by default and those don’t require passwords to connect.
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