I carry around a crossover cable, so I write this based on experience.
If both computers are running a relatively recent version of Windows (Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows XP, or Windows 2000), your OS will mostly auto-configure once you plug in the cable.
One of these three methods will work.
In Windows XP (and maybe 2K), you'll see a network connection icon appear and a pop-up box reading: "New network connection". You won't yet be able to communicate, though. The reason is that your computer needs to detect network protocol info. Here's what you do: Right-click on the network icon and select "Repair". You'll probably have to wait about 30 seconds for the computer to realize it can't find a DNS server, in which case it will pick an arbitrary IP address. That machine is now ready to network.
- OR -
You may have a utility called "winipcfg" (Windows IP Configurator) that does virtually the same thing. Click the Start button, select Run, type "winipcfg" without the quotes, and hit Enter. If you have the utility, you'll see a new window listing some basic IP information. Click "Release" or "Release All", which will just take a moment to process, and then click "Renew" or "Renew All", which will take between 10 and 30 seconds to process. Once that's done, your computer should have a new IP address, and it is now ready to network.
- OR -
If those methods don't work, you'll have to do it the old-school, DOS-prompt way. Click Start and select Run. Type "command" (without the quotes) in the Run box and hit Enter. You'll see a text screen appear (this is the "console") - don't panic! You just need to enter three commands in order:
ipconfig /release all
ipconfig /renew all
The first one will take about 5 seconds to process; the second will take between 10 and 60 to process. The third will immediately close your "console" session, and your computer will then be ready to network.
- David Stein
"The Other is not a peaceful community. We are bitches." -kvrdave
Ask not what your country can do for you... because the answer is disappointing.