If you are using a cross-over cable (or known as P2P cable) to connect both Windows 7 PCs (other Windows client is possible) and wish to enable Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) and HomeGroup (function that specific to Windows 7 for easy file sharing), you are in the right place. Of course, a router (wireless or not) can easily get the job done, but why waste some bucks on the router while there is only 2 PCs available to communicate? Here I will show the components, steps and settings needed to enable both ICS and HomeGroup simultaneously over a cross-over cable.
1. 2 PCs – Host must be a desktop (because 2 LAN ports are needed); Client can be a desktop or laptop
2. 3 LAN ports – 2 LAN ports on Host, 1 LAN ports on Client
3. 1 Cross-over cable – Also known as P2P cable; Port configuration different from normal network cable
4. Windows 7 installed on both PCs – x64 platform tested
1. Ensure the host PC has 2 workable LAN ports – One for internet connection source (eg. DSL), another for cross-over cable. Connect the cables. Connect the other side of cross-over cable to the Client PC.
2. Navigate to Network Connections (Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections), select both LAN connections, right click and bridge the connection. For more information on network bridging, check here.
3. After both LAN connections are bridged, you will find there is a Network Bridge (icons below) in Network Connections window. (Don’t mind about the Network 2 in the screenshot below, it might be different in your case)
4. Right click on your Broadband dialer > Properties. Navigate to Sharing tab, tick on the first option “Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection”. It will automatically allows the Network Bridge to share the internet connection. Once the setting is applied, there is a prompt saying that once the ICS is activated, DHCP will be turned off and the IP address for the Network Bridge will be configured to 192.168.137.1 (it might be different in your case).
5. Right click on Network Bridge > Properties. Double Click on TCP/IPv4 (as highlighted in below screenshot), and you will find the IP address was set to 192.168.137.1. Leave it as it is, then proceed to set the Subnet mask to 255.255.255.0, and Default Gateway to 192.168.137.10 (it can be different IP – it is an IP address for the Client PC). And you are done (for host PC).
1. Access the TCP/IPv4 settings on the LAN connection in Client PC. Set the IP address for Client PC as 192.168.137.10 (as mentioned before, this can be different, but must be the same as the Default Gateway IP in Host PC), Subnet Mask 255.255.255.0, Default Gateway 192.168.137.1, Preferred DNS Server 192.168.137.1. (Update 16/07/2010: It would be better the DNS to be inserted with your ISP DNS Server addresses, or Google Public DNS 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206.)
2. Once the settings are applied, the internet connection should be shared from the Host PC to Client PC.
How about HomeGroup?
HomeGroup is a new feature in Windows 7 that ease the sharing of files and printers between the home PCs. If you have 2 Windows 7 home PCs connected using cross-over cable and you wish to enable HomeGroup function, well, definitely it is not a problem. The settings above should be allowing HomeGroup feature to be activated, and the HomeGroup can be created either in Host PC or Client PC. If you have no idea how to enable HomeGroup feature, PCPRO UK has a simple and complete guideline for it.
If you having problem getting the HomeGroup activated, please check that:
1. IPv6 is activated for both copy of Windows 7 (Host and Client)
2. The network location for LAN connections in both PC must be in Home Network (as screenshot below).
The above guide should be helping you to enable ICS and HomeGroup simultaneously using only a cross-over cable for two Windows 7 equipped PCs. As mentioned before, the Client PC can be other Windows, but HomeGroup cannot be activated since it is an exclusive feature in Windows 7 only. Do let me know if you find my guide helpful for you, or you can always let me know if it doesn’t work for you. I will try to help if I am able to (though I am not a networking expert). Hope you enjoy the guide.