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Remote Connecting a Laptop with a Desktop

Want to transfer data between your laptop and a PC, or between two PCs? Here are some tips that can get you cracking

For those of us who lug a laptop around, updating and backing up (or transferring) your precious data on a PC or any other storage medium plays a vital role. Fortunately, the process of transferring data from a laptop to a PC or from one PC to another is relatively simple, all you need is a LAN card enabled PC, and some software that makes this task a breeze.

Over here lets have an overview of the various protocols required for establishing a connection between two computers, then have an overview of the various freeware/commercial software available that lets you transfer data easily.

Direct Cable Connection (DCC) is the most common way of connecting two PCs for transferring data. For using DCC, the following network components play a vital role:

1) File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks is used when one need to share a drive/directory/file over a network.

2) Dial Up Adapter using an enhanced mode (32-bit and 16-bit) NDIS driver. The NDIS driver is automatically installed on installing Dial Up Adapter.

3) IPX/SPX compatible protocol. Similar to TCP/IP, but it is installed to avoid conflicts between the two, so TCP/IP can be used for Internet and IPX/SPX for data transfer.

Once these protocols are installed, reboot your PC.

To enable file sharing during a remote connection go to Network option in Control Panel and click File And printer sharing for Microsoft Networks. Then select File and Print Sharing. Select the option that you want to share.

Now start Windows Explorer and right click on the drive/folder/file you wish to share. A sharing option will ask you the for access type (read only, full, password dependant). Select the appropriate option as per your requirement.

Your PC is now fully prepared to share files and folders via remote connection.

The connectivity software
Plenty of freeware and shareware software is available that allows you to transfer data between two PCs. Many are available for free on the Web, but the better have to be paid for.

Microsoft's Direct Cable Connection happens to be one of the oldest one around. Since it comes along with the operating system you only need to make a few minor adjustments to get things going.

Direct Cable Connection can be accessed via Start - Program Files - Accessories - Communications. If you are using DCC for the first time, you might need to tweak around with some of the settings.

On starting DCC click on Change. Since you shall be using your desktop as a Host, select it and click Next. Plug in your serial/parallel cable and choose the appropriate port. Click Next and enter a password if you wish to enable security. Use the same configuration for your laptop (or the second PC), except that it should be configured as a guest.

It should be noted that both the ends of the cable should be similar. A serial pin at one end and a parallel at the other just won't work! Microsoft's DCC supports serial/parallel port connection only. There is no support for transferring data using an USB port.

LapLink (www.laplink.com) allows you to transfer data via a parallel/serial port at a rate of about 4 min/ MB. LapLink also provides USB support thus allowing you to transfer data via USB port at much faster speeds as compared to parallel/serial port transfer. Along with that, it has a plethora of options that makes the overall task simpler. LapLink informs you about the network components that are mandatory for a remote connection.

The software includes variety of options of the like added security, remote connection via modem, DUN, network, cable or even wireless (using Bluetooth enabled devices) connection. A task scheduler and facility for voice chat adds icing to the cake. And if you get stuck around, there's a comprehensive help menu.

The only downside to LapLink is its cost; it's priced at around Rs 7500. Plus the entire package is a whooping 11MB. So if you are always on the move and need to download data from various PC's, you are forced to have a backup copy of the software and you need to install it every time on the second PC.

Link Maven is a shareware that can be downloaded from www.briggsoft.

com/lmaven.htm. There isn't much difference between Microsoft's Direct Cable Connection and Link Maven, except the fact that it has a different interface and configuration options and it is a non-Microsoft product.

Anurag Phadke can be reached at cbca@mantraonline.com
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