Happily, we have a pile of network cables along with a hub and a bright son who claims that networks were created for transferring data.
More details: the computer is Windows 2000 and the laptop Windows XP. The network is just a hub with the cable modem plugged in.
Ok, so. If I plug both in and let both use DHCP, they get assigned IPs in different subnets and so they can't see each other. If I assign manual local IPs to both they can see each other and transfer files, but then she gets no internet access. On a real computer, I'd be able to say "use DHCP along with this static IP", but as far as I can tell we have to buy Windows XP for the desktop system for this to actually happen.
Can anyone please prove me wrong? I hate computers so much. :(
(Bonus question: what are my options for firewalling? Just minutes after I plugged the laptop in, she got a popup from BONER.BIZ or whatever. I know it's the winpopup stuff and you can firewall it but is that the best way to go? I'm scared to think about security of file sharing on this network...
I'm trying to not swear about Microsoft too much but this is making it really hard. To add insult to injury, I clicked on a website in Google and I got a popup. How does anyone tolerate this shit?)
Update: thanks to snej, I just stuck my wireless box in there. I had been using it as a hub, but his comment reminded me that it does the whole router/firewall/NAT thing too.
And as a final insult: the file she wanted to transfer was an Excel file. The laptop doesn't have Excel anyway.