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Assigning IP Address to network card in WinXP... HELP!

Ranch Hand
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This should be a no brainer question but I cant figure out why its got me stumped. A friend of mine has bought a new desktop computer and theyre trying to transfer files from their old laptop to the new machine.
Both machines have ethernet cards so I figure I could network the two computers, share the laptops drives and then copy across the data.
Both machines network cards work; theyve both been connected to the internet via a cable modem and they work satisfactorily. Both used DHCP to get their IP address.
Now Ive set up the ip address on the laptop to and using ipconfig I can verify that it has been set and that I can ping to it. The problem lies in setting the ip address on the desktop.
Ive tried to set the ip address on the desktop to but the network card doesnt seem to hold it. That is when both computers are connected and I enable the connection on the desktop, WinXP complains that a network cable is disconnected, and checking ipconfig, their is no ip address assigned.
Could anyone provide any tips? The ethernet on the desktop is a Realtek 8139 onboard chipset.
author and iconoclast
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I could try to give you a hand but I'm not real clear on what you're trying to do here. For instance, when you say "I can ping to it" regarding the first computer, you mean from where? Also, you mention them getting an address via DHCP, but again, from where? Finally, how are you connecting the two computers together? You need either a network hub to plug them both into, or if you're connecting them directly together, you need to use a special cable -- the CAT5 equivalent of a "null modem" cable.
If you're still having trouble, let us know more details.
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