How to setup network (lan) between XP and Vista Windows PCs

Vista is Microsoft’s new operating system and it provides different network and security method than Windows XP, to its user. So in order to create network between Vista and XP, we have to enable few network related features on Windows Vista. 

First of all we have to turn on “Network Discovery” service; this service allows us to see other network computers and devices from our computer and allows people on other network computers to see our computer. We can also access shared files and devices on other computers and other people can access shared files devices on our computer. 

Next we are going to turn on “File Sharing” option. As name suggests it allows us to share folders on LAN. If you turn on this option, then you are also turning on the “Public folder sharing”. Public folder is the default share folder in Windows Vista like “Shared Documents” in Windows XP.

To turn on these features right click on Network and select properties. This will open “Network and Sharing Center” and do as marked in the "Vista Network Sharing Center" images below.

Click to view all images.

Vista Network Sharing Center (Click to Enlarge)

Go to Network Properties to open this window.
Go to Network Properties to open this window.

Now we will assign IP address to the Vista PC. In Vista we have two types of IP address, IPv4, IPv6. Windows XP also has IPv6 but you have to install it manually. We will use here IPv4 to setup networking between Windows XP and Windows Vista. 
Networking with Vista is cakewalk; I assume that Windows XP as properly configured PC and assigned IP “”, so we will assign IP address to Windows Vista. If you don’t know how to assign IP address in Windows XP then click here.

Now go to Network Properties of Windows Vista PC; this will open a window “Network and Sharing Center”.

Manage network connections

Now on left pane you will see some clickable links under Tasks Menu, click on “Manage network connection” link and It will open “Network Connections”. Here you can see you LAN card “Local Area Connection”. If you cannot see anything here then check your device manager or post comment here, I’ll try to solve that.

LAN adapter

Now it’s time to assign IP address to this LAN adapter, right click on it, select properties. These will pop-up Local Area Connection properties; select “Internet Protocol Version 4” and click properties.

LAN adapter properties

Type “” in the IP address box and click “Subnet mask” box, this will automatically put the subnet mask address. Click ok and you are done.

IPv4 (TCP/IP) properties

But before you access lets ping XP PC from Vista PC to confirm connectivity. On Vista PC press windows key + R then type “ping” without quote and hit Enter key. You should see something like this.

Ping result

You will get something similar response if your network is connected.
You will get something similar response if your network is connected.

Check Firewall Settings

Apart from this you need to check that whether Windows Vista Firewall has created exception for file sharing or not. In my case firewall was blocking the file sharing option and I created a firewall exception in this way.

On Windows Vista PC, go to Control Panel then double click on Windows Firewall. On left pane click on “Allow a program through Windows Firewall”, a “Windows Firewall Setting” window should pop-up. In the “Exception” tab tick “File and Printer Sharing” checkbox and click ok.

Firewall exception setting

This is picture of my created network between Vista and XP PC where you can see both PCs. I have not mention folder sharing process in Vista because I think it is tough job to do. But if you think I should create this tutorial then request me and I’ll do that for you.

My own network view

"Access is denied" error message when you try to access a folder on LAN

Few visitors reported that they are unable to share LAN using above tutorial and after trying a lot I came to know that may be some security issue is not letting you to access PC from LAN. If you are able to ping from both PC and not able to see shared resources on the LAN then please follow this.

To resolve this problem, you must turn off Simple File Sharing, and then take ownership of the folder:

1. Turn off Simple File Sharing.

  • Click Start, and then click My Computer.
  • On the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the View tab.
  • Under Advanced Settings, click to clear the Use simple file sharing (Recommended) check box, and then click OK.

2. Right-click the folder that you want to take ownership of, and then click Properties.
3. Click the Security tab, and then click OK on the Security message, if one appears.
4. Click Advanced, and then click the Owner tab.
5. In the Name list, click your user name, Administrator if you are logged in as Administrator, or click the Administrators group.

If you want to take ownership of the contents of that folder, click to select the Replace owner on sub containers and objects check box.

6. Click OK.

You may receive the following error message, where Folder is the name of the folder that you want to take ownership of:
You do not have permission to read the contents of directory Folder. Do you want to replace the directory permissions with permissions granting you Full Control? All permissions will be replaced if you press “Yes”.

7. Click Yes.
8. Click OK, and then reapply the permissions and security settings that you want for the folder and the folder contents.

Source: Microsoft Support

Hope this will help to solve your problem. Thank you for reading me.

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Comments 30 comments

Susan Ng profile image

Susan Ng 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I don't remember it being this complicated when I set up our network of two Vistas and one XP. Everything was done through the Network and Sharing Center for the Vista computers and I don't remember how I did it for the XP. All three computers communicate and share files just fine.

Robbie 7 years ago

Well my PC will share music files wirelessly between Xp & Vista but it won't ley my browse other folders. I'm not sure if it's my D-link router blocking it. But it's annoying ;-(

vel 7 years ago

Hi I have 20computers in LAN.and internet connection is only one system.i have a domain and global mail id's.i need configure outlook mail to all system with the global mail id.but i don't want internet connection in all the to do this?please mail

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maverick50 7 years ago

Could you please explain the folder sharing process in vista? I have got a home network set up with a wireless router. The main desktop is vista and the laptop computers are xp. I got the xp computers to share files, and even got the vista computer to show up in the right workgroup, but everytime I try to access the files in the vista computer on the xp laptops it gives me an access denied and says that I don't have permission to do it.

simogof 7 years ago

hey, this is very helpful, best ive come across..however, i just need a little more info on what to do with the XP pc.... ur help is greatly appreciated...tnx mate..

TopCap 7 years ago

your instruction have been followed to the 'T' by me for the above, but unfortunately, it doesn't work. been up late night following them. doesn't work. I am not exactly a novice or a beginner.

Sansana 7 years ago

Make sure you create identical user name accounts on each system if your using work groups. This will allow file access (must have user name and password)

Falker 7 years ago

Finally someone who can write really useful HOW-TO. Thanks a bilion!

Roxy 7 years ago

hey thanks dude, i spent half a day doing what your whole tutorial did in 10 minutes. saved me from running to my more knowledgeable friends. i was kinda tired of that! thanks a bunch

Ethan 7 years ago

I did it. It worked but only for a while. When I explore the other computer for about 30 seconds, it goes back to limited connectivity.

Phred E 6 years ago

I agree with Ethan just above. this is about sharing Vista with XP, ie getting XP to see inside Vista.

I have all access permitted as above, but passwords reqd, and when I reboot the Vista box XP has access, but for only a while. Same w/grp name, same u/names, same u/passwds. Both up to date. Feb'10.

Like most advisors Raj DOESN'T SAY what type of account is logged on. Too many assume an admin is running. Very bad practice.

Summary: after a while *XP* can't access Vista.

rajkishor09 profile image

rajkishor09 6 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA Author

You can create new account with admin privilege, and assign a password. Next when it asks for username & password just use account which you created earlier. I think this should solve ur problem.

DONNELL 6 years ago

im tryna share file from one vista laptop to another can u help me

RuDogg 6 years ago

Im trying to play the same game on two different computers, each playing each other. xp and vista. how do i set it up. please help.

tushar 6 years ago

how i setup lan work between two pc with windows 7 and windows xp

kevin maroun 6 years ago


mpho 6 years ago

is this how you will share a 3 G card connection as well between this computers

rajkishor09 profile image

rajkishor09 6 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA Author

@mpho: this tutorial is only for networking, to share 3g internet please check this tutorial.

Paresh 6 years ago

Hi, thanks man, it was very helpful. I was able to share files through the LAN but was unable to use the internet once I entered the IP address manually. To access the net I have to again set the IP address to automatic. How can I access internet on both the computers? I have XP on my desktop and vista on laptop. Also I want XP PC to be host.

IoDS 6 years ago

i've done all that .. file sharing works , when i ping the IP it works as well but still no internet ..

the server is win XP and the client is win VISTA

Joe 5 years ago

Ah, great hub, I always have problem with LAN setup, this is helpful, thanks a lot :)

Parvez 5 years ago

Hello Dear,

Hope you can resolve the issue.

I have two PCs. Vista on Desktop, XP on Laptop. Both are running fine when i am connecting Internet individually.

I tried to connect them through LAN so i can use internet on both the PC at a time. On 8 port switch, Internet cable on Port 1, Desktop on 2nd and Laptop on 3rd one... under the same workgroup "MSgroup".

IP assigned to Desktop "" Laptop "" both are on "

LAN is acting fine, but the Problem Is,

1: I can Access XP to vista by providing password, but cant access Vista to XP even after supplying the user name and password.

2: Cant connect to Internet Since IP is changed from default to ""

Please help how to configure or what changes needs to be done.



rajkishor09 profile image

rajkishor09 5 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA Author

@parvev: u can try last section named '"Access is denied" error message when you try to access a folder on LAN'. i hope this will help u

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OTOBONG 5 years ago

in my office, we had 26 computers. am directed to setup a LAN with the 26 Pcs and divded them into groups. They will shared the same server. how will i do this?

dukzz 5 years ago

gud day .. can u please teach me how to share internet connection btween vista and xp? vista is my server pc tnx..

hiader ali of sherghr 5 years ago

qasucelsyher eixvte

tapesh kumar 5 years ago

I have lost my Administrator pass. and I can't format this.

what I do, plz help me.

rajkishor09 profile image

rajkishor09 5 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA Author

@tapesh kumar : download hiren boot cd "" there you can get password cracker. But use this software cautiously because lots of tool is there. Please go through there website.

javeria 5 years ago

i cnanot enable my wins proxy

hafiz 5 years ago

from,bangladesh,in dhaka city. we are internet protocol very nice, so i'm want to networking detils information.

my mail address,

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