How to network Windows 7 and Windows XP

Description: This article will show how to network Windows 7 and Windows XP computers together.

  1. Make sure they are both on the same Network – that is connected through the same router and have the same IP address range (on the same subnet).
    • If you only have one router this will happen automatically
    • If you have more than one router or are not sure, you can check this by going to Start, All Programs, Accessories, Command prompt
      • Type IPCONFIG and press enter
      • Write down the IP address. It will look like or
      • Both computers should have the same numbers up to the last set, for example one may have and the other
  2. Make sure they are both on the same work group – normally called WORKGROUP
    • In Windows 7
      • You can find the workgroup and computer name settings by clicking on the Start button, move your mouse over Computer and right click, choose Properties from the menu
      • In the open screen move to the section at the bottom and you will see the section for Computer name and Workgroup. In the example below, the workgroup is called support. Click on Change Settings

      • You will see the following box, click the Change button.

      • This will bring you to a box where you can change the workgroup name if necessary.

      • If you need to change the computer name click the ‘more’ button in the same box.


      • Then go to Control panel, Category view (upper right corner), Network and internet, Network and Sharing Center, on the left column (blue) choose Change advanced sharing settings. You will want to make sure those settings are set like the following:


      • In order to allow any user to access the public shared files, you can turn off the password protection as well (which is down more on the page).


      • If you want to keep the password protection, you will need to create a login account on your Windows 7 pc for the users of the Win XP computer to be able to log in.
      • Finally, you will need to make sure your Win 7 user account is password enabled.
        1. Go to Start, Control Panel, (in category view) choose User Accounts and Family Safety, then under User Account click on the blue text - Change your Windows Password.


        2. Click on Create Password for your account and enter a password twice. Write down this password for safe keeping.
  • In Windows XP
    • You can find the workgroup settings in the system settings in Control Panel, System and Maintenance, System.
    • Look for the Computer Name domain and workgroup settings
    • Click on the Computer Name tab and then click the change button.
    • The following box will open. You will want to make sure the computer has a unique name and then click on the radio button below for workgroup.

    • Make sure the Windows XP has a password for the user account.
  1. Make sure that sharing has been set for the folders or printers you want to use.
    • Printers

      • On Windows 7 you can share a printer by going to Start, Devices and Printer, and then right click on your Printer
        1. Choose Printer Properties
        2. Choose the Sharing tab
        3. In this tab check the boxes "Share this Printer" and "Render print jobs on client computers"
        4. Give the printer a share name if you want to use a different name than the default.
        5. Click "Apply" button in the lower right.
    • Additional Drivers

      • If your Windows XP is an X86 version you can install Additional Drivers on the Windows 7 computer so that they are automatically installed when the XP computer connects to the shared printer.
      • After clicking the button, put a check on each of the versions of Windows you want to make this available for.
    • Folders

      • Documents placed in the Public folders will be available for anyone on the network now.
      • Other folders can be shared by right clicking, going to the share option and then choosing to share with a specific user or with your homegroup.

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