Blog Entry - 2nd July 2008 - Programming - General

Connecting an Asus EEE PC to another laptop's DVD drive

I wanted to install Microsoft Word on my Asus Eee 900.

The easiest way would be to use the DVD drive on my main laptop.

As both computers have wireless networking, there must be some way, I thought, to enable the EEE PC to access the laptop's DVD drive.

The answer: ad-hoc networking.

The steps were as follows:-

  • My laptop is running Windows Vista; the Eee PC, Windows XP.
  • Both have wireless networking built in.
LAPTOP(Vista): Identify its Workgroup name
  • Both computers need the same Workgroup name.
  • Find the Workgroup name for the LAPTOP
  • Go to Control Panel > System and Maintenance > System
  • Look in the Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings section.
  • In my case it was simply WORKGROUP (in capitals). How dull.
EEE(XP): Change its Workgroup name to the same as the laptop
  • Go to Control Panel > Performance and Maintenance > System > Computer Name (Tab) > Click on the 'Change...' button next to 'To rename this computer or join a workgroup..'
  • Restart the EEE to apply the change.
LAPTOP(Vista): Create a user account for the EEE PC to use
  • This is what the EEE PC will use to log in to my main laptop.
  • Go to Control Panel > User Accounts and Family Safety > User Accounts > Add or Remove User Accounts
  • Make sure you set a password for the new account
  • Alternatively, you could just log-in using an existing user account
LAPTOP(Vista): Allow the DVD drive to be shared
  • Right click on the DVD drive letter and click on Properties at the bottom.
  • A dialogue box will come up.
  • Click on the Sharing tab.
  • Click on Advanced Sharing
  • Tick the tick-box marked Share this folder
  • You can optionally set the permissions if you want, but as it is a DVD-ROM in most cases, it should be read-only.
LAPTOP(Vista): Set up your new ad-hoc network
  • Go to Connect To > Set up a connection or network > Set up a wireless (ad-hoc) computer to computer network
  • Follow the wizard to Give your network a name...
  • Network name is whatever you want it to be called in your list of networks
  • For Security Type make it a "WEP" network, as this is what Windows XP on the Eee will expect.
  • Give it a 5 or 13 character password (WEP requires one or the other)
  • You can save the network for re-use later by ticking the box on the same page
LAPTOP(Vista): Activate your new ad-hoc network
  • Go to Connect To
  • You should see the network listed - highlight and click Connect
  • It will say Waiting for users to connect
  • This will mean that it is active and broadcasting, and is listening out for the EEE PC to try to connect
LAPTOP(Vista): Adjust firewall permissions
  • Before my EEE PC can access a folder or drive on the laptop, I needed to ensure that the laptop firewall would permit this.
  • The chances are, it probably will.
  • However, rather than getting into the detail of configuring the firewall, I simply switched it off temporarily, making sure at the same time that I was not connected to the internet on either machine.
EEE PC(XP) : Connect to the ad-hoc network
  • Make sure the WLAN is enabled
  • Go to Settings > Network Connections
  • Single click on Wireless Network Connection on the right hand side of the dialogue
  • On the left Network Tasks will now show View available wireless networks
  • Click on this and you should see a list with the Laptop ad-hoc network showing
  • Connect to the network, using the WEP password.
  • It will say Acquiring network address
  • Wait a while until it is connected, takes minute or so.
  • Remember it may not connect properly if the Laptop firewall is on and not correctly configured.
EEP PC(XP): Navigate to the network folder
  • Click on Folders in the toolbar, to reveal the folder list on the left hand side.
  • Go to My Computer > My Network Places > Entire Network > Microsoft Windows Network > Workgroup > [Laptop PC Name]
  • Click on the last of these, and a login box should appear.
  • You log in using the using the user account for the laptop you created above
  • The folder for the DVD drive should then appear in the right hand window.
  • To access the DVD you must put a disk in the DVD first otherwise an error message will come up.
  • Proceed to watch the DVD drive operate as if by magic, with a press of a button on the EEE PC!

Quite easy I suppose - but fiddly.


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