Peer to peer LAN on WinNT

Small isolated PC setups consisting of a few PC's may be run as
peer to peer LAN. There is no central server, neither a domain
controller. There are resources to be shared such as drives,
directories and printers. This page is based on the experience with
a couple WinNT workstations.

Chaning something usually requires booting.

Required hardware

Each PC requires a Network card. Nowadays 10/100 MBit Ethernet cards
are sufficiently cheap to be the preferred solution. They have a PCI
interface and are busmasters. For an older PC, when there were problems
with the PCI disk controllers, I've choosen an Adaptec 10/100MBit card,
as the disk controller was also from Adaptec (2940). I never had a problem
with either of them.
Newer PC's may already have an Ethernet card built in.
When the card is inserted and the PC is able to boot up, then there seems
to be no hardware problem.

Required software

WinNT may or may not automatically recognize the new card. Anyway,
a driver needs to be installed. Whether the card is known to WinNT,
or not, the driver on the CD coming together with the network card
may be newer. When there are problems try the other if possible.


A rightclick on the network icon let us select the network properties.

Getting it to run

  1. Selfcheck : in a CMD window (start, run, CMD) type :
    ping 192.168.0.x      // x= the own number
    If there is a reply, the internal TCP/IP stack is working.
  2. Connect the cable : a cross-over cable between 2 PC's or
    straight cables between PC's and hub/switch
  3. from one PC ping the other :
    ping 192.168.0.x      // x= the other number
    If there is a reply, the connection seems to work.
    If there is no reply, there is a problem with the cable :
    -does the LED blink ?
    -is there signal on the cable (if you happen to have a scope)?
the network seems to run on the lowest level now

Sharing resources

drives, directories and printers may be shared. In order to make these
resources accessible from other PC's, they have to be prepared.
Rightclick on the appropriate icon in the WinNT explorer or in the list
of printers. Select sharing.
Drives have a default share C$ and so on, which are for the OS and cannot be
removed. Add a new share, give it a name, and think about the permissions.

Only a shared resource can be accessed, provided the access rights are

Accessing a shared resource

WinNT explorer should now list 'Network Neighborhood' below the local system
on the left side.
If not, rightclick the network icon, find computer or
leftclick on the network icon to explore the network.
A rightclick also allows to map a network drive.


the following newsgroups are discussing problems :

feedback about this page is welcome


last updated: 26.nov.99

Copyright (99,2000) Ing.Büro R.Tschaggelar