Last Updated: March 16, 2022
Have you ever connected your phone to a computer to transfer files? You can also connect your computer to another computer to do the same. But connecting computers isn’t only done for file transfers. It also enables you to work on the same thing with both computers, acting as backup. This guide addresses the various ways of how to connect two computers.
How to Connect Two Computers Wirelessly
The task of connecting computers wirelessly can be done in various ways and quite easily, and you don’t even need the internet for some of these ways.
One of the most popular ways on how to connect two computers or devices is via the wireless network, which enables your connection to be strong, irrespective of where you are. And you can roam around since the connection is wireless.
Your device can be kept far from the router but remain connected to the network via access points that amplify Wi-Fi signals. For example, you can connect to a business’s wireless network when you connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot in a cafe, hotel, airport lounge, or another public location.
A wired connection—a cable linking devices to the internet or another system—does not provide the freedom of mobility that a wireless connection gives. Therefore, leveraging an existing wireless network is the most convenient option if you wish to connect two computers wirelessly.
While other options (described below) will allow you to connect, they will not provide you with the same level of stability as a well-established network. A network with a dedicated wireless router will provide the fastest speeds, WiFi range, internet access, and connection to other network devices, such as a network printer.
This is the optimal way of how to connect two computers through the internet. It’s simple to exchange files, play local games, and do much more once two devices are connected to an existing network.
Putting Together an Ad-Hoc Wireless Network
If you don’t have access to an existing local network, you can construct an ad-hoc wireless network with your PC or laptop’s wireless adapter. This is a created temporary network using a built-in or USB WiFi adapter connected to other devices. The following steps demonstrate how to connect your laptop to a PC via WiFi.
STEP 1: In Windows 10, you need to use Windows PowerShell to create an ad-hoc network. You can do so by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting Windows PowerShell (Admin) from the menu that appears.
STEP 2: Type ‘netsh wlan show drivers in the open Windows PowerShell window. This displays information about your accessible WiFi devices, including if they support creating a virtual access point. If the Hosted network supported option is ‘No’, you may need to upgrade the driver or try a different device.
STEP 3: To create a virtual WiFi network, type ‘netsh wlan set hosted network mode=allow ssid=adhoc key=password’, replacing the SSID and key parts with your own desired network name (SSID) and WiFi network password if your device allows it (in ‘key=’). Next, execute ‘netsh wlan start hosted network to start the network.
STEP 4: The ad-hoc wireless network you’ve created should be visible to other devices if there are no issues. To finalize the connection, connect to it using the network password you chose.
STEP 5: When you’re done, execute ‘netsh wlan stop hosted network’ in the open Windows PowerShell window to turn off the ad-hoc network. At this point, any connected devices will be disconnected, and the ad-hoc network will no longer be visible to other devices.
If you’re wondering how to transfer programs from one computer to another, you can do so through an ad-hoc network. This enables you to distribute files between devices or share an internet connection.
While a WiFi network (permanent or ad hoc) is an excellent way to connect two computers wirelessly, Bluetooth can be used as an alternative. At the same time, speed and range are different from WiFi, as both devices need to be close together. But this isn’t much of a disadvantage since Bluetooth was created for connections of shorter duration.
To connect two Bluetooth-enabled devices wirelessly, you must first ensure that both devices are Bluetooth-enabled. Many recent laptops and PCs have Bluetooth built-in, but if yours doesn’t, you can connect with an external USB Bluetooth adapter.
STEP 1: Make sure that the devices you want to connect have Bluetooth switched on. In Windows 10, you may do this by going to the action center icon in the bottom-right corner of the taskbar and turning on the Bluetooth card. (If you’re looking for how to connect the laptop to the desktop, Bluetooth is also a good option. But you might need to get a USB Bluetooth adaptor.)
STEP 2: Then, by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting the Settings option, you may access the Settings menu.
STEP 3: Go to Devices and select ‘Bluetooth & other devices in the Settings menu and click the ‘Add Bluetooth or other device’ button.
STEP 4: Select the Bluetooth option in the ‘Add a device’ window.
STEP 5: In the following menu, you’ll see a list of nearby Bluetooth devices. To start establishing a connection, select the other computer you want to connect with. (You may be required to verify your identity by entering a PIN code that will appear on both screens.)
STEP 6: Right-click the Bluetooth icon in the notifications area of your taskbar once you’ve established a connection. To transmit or receive files, go to the menu and select Send a File or Receive a File. To join or build a shared network that allows you to share an internet connection with the other device, join or create a Personal Area Network. (This is one of the ways on how to connect two computers wirelessly with Windows 10.)
|You can connect computers in many ways, one of which is through wireless networks.|
|A wireless network is beneficial since your devices can remain connected without affecting your mobility. The most common example of this would be WiFi (seen above on how to connect two computers using WiFi in Windows 10).|
|If you don’t have access to an existing local network, you can construct an ad-hoc wireless network with your PC or laptop’s wireless adapter.|
|Bluetooth is a solid alternative for using WiFi to connect two computers.|
There are three different ways you can connect two computers via WiFi.
If your ad-hoc WiFi or Bluetooth connection isn’t working, you can utilize WiFi Direct to share files instead. Windows fully supports the WiFi Direct standard, but you’ll need to use the third-party tool, Feem, to share files and create connectivity. This is one of the most convenient ways to understand how to connect two computers wirelessly with Windows 10, even within WiFi. (You can read more on how to share files between two computers here.)
If you wish to use WiFi Direct on Windows, you’ll need to ensure that at least one of your WiFi adapters or devices supports the Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport Adapter. You cannot create a WiFi Direct-capable network for another PC if this isn’t available.
Download and install Feem for your operating system to send files using WiFi Direct. Feem is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
Launch Feem after it has been installed on your PC or Mac. Next, select the ‘Turn on Wi-Fi Direct’ slider in the Feem window to turn on the Direct WiFi network.
Ensure you’re connected to Feem’s network, which starts with FeemWiFi (e.g., FeemWiFi-EducatedPelican). Other devices will be listed in the Feem window once you’ve connected. Select the other PC in the Feem list, then choose Transmit File to send a file to that computer.
The file being sent will appear in the Feem conversation log on the other device. When you select a file, you can open it or view it in Windows File Explorer.
Creating a temporary wireless network (as shown in Windows’ ad-hoc mode) can be a good way to understand how to connect one computer to another wirelessly for a short time. But you’ll need a PC with Windows to do it.
Using your smartphone or tablet to build a temporary wireless network is a more convenient option. This transforms your tablet or smartphone into a wireless router, allowing other devices to connect to it to share files or connect to the internet.
Start by opening the Settings on your Android device. Then, select Network & Internet or Connections > Mobile Hotspot and Tethering from the settings menu for different Android devices and versions.
Tap the Mobile Hotspot option in the Mobile Hotspot and Tethering menu (or ‘Hotspot and Tethering’ on older devices), then slide the slider to the On position. Make a note of the password or, if necessary, change it.
Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad. Tap Mobile Data or Personal Hotspot (depending on the device) in the menu, then slide the Personal Hotspot slider to On. Take note of the Wi-Fi Password (or change it) because you’ll need it to join your temporary network.
Connect to the network with the selected password on both devices once the WiFi hotspot has been activated.
While a mobile hotspot can only connect a few devices wirelessly, it can connect at least two. You can then use current services to distribute files between platforms or use shared services once you’ve been linked.
Portable WiFi Router
You may wonder how to connect two computers using a router. While a smartphone or tablet can build a rapid, temporary mobile network, a portable WiFi router is better for many devices.
These routers are intended for setting up basic temporary networks while you’re away from home, but they can also be used to link two PCs or laptops daily. Most portable routers require no configuration; simply plug them in and connect. Others include a smartphone app that allows for quick device configuration and monitoring.
Other Ways of Connecting Computers
There are increasingly more ways to connect computers if you think the previous methods are a bit too techy or have special requirements because of the specs of your devices. Consider the following additional methods.
If you have two PCs with USB ports, you can connect them with a USB cable known as a ‘bridging’ cable. Technically, you can link two Macs via a USB, but you’ll need a USB-to-Ethernet adapter and an Ethernet cable.
Make sure the PCs are compatible before you connect two computers with the USB. You can link devices with different versions of Windows, but you can’t connect them with other operating systems. A different operating system, such as Windows, OS X, and Linux, employs distinct file formats.
Connecting incompatible computers, however, will not harm these devices. But you can connect them to a KVM switch, which joins many PCs to be controlled from a single console (monitor, keyboard, or mouse).
Regarding the USB: Even if the connection is established between different systems, you may be unable to access the files once they have been transmitted.
You can swiftly move files from one computer to another once the systems are connected.
A USB-to-USB bridging cable is required. Because there are several types of USB-to-USB cables, it’s critical to use the correct one. A ‘bridging cable’ (or ‘USB data transfer cable/networking cable’) is the only USB-to-USB cable that should be used to connect two PCs.
THE FIRST STEP of connecting two computers via a USB is to install the software on both PCs. This should be done before connecting the cable to the PCs. A CD or DVD was most likely included with the cable. When the installer shows on the screen, insert the disc and run it.
- Double-click on the ‘setup’ or ‘installer’ file;
- If the cable didn’t arrive with software, look for a section named ‘Software’ or ‘Drivers’ on the manufacturer’s website. Download the software that is tailored to your cable;
- Carry out this procedure on both PCs;
- If you’re given the option to choose ‘mode’, select ‘link’ mode (also known as ‘bridge’ or ‘transfer’ mode).
THE NEXT STEP:
- Connect one end of the USB cord to each computer’s USB port. Extend the cable as little as possible. To avoid breaking the connection, position the computers closer to one another.
- On both computers, start the transfer software. There should be a Start menu entry for the software, regardless of how it was installed. Select the software from the menu by clicking Start, then All Programs (or All Apps). (You won’t need to switch between computers to transfer files because everything can be done on one machine from this point forward.)
- From one computer, look at the files on the other. The software resembles a file manager, with two windows: one for each computer (labeled ‘local’ and ‘remote’). The files on your current computer are displayed in the Local window, while the files on the other machine are displayed in the Remote window.
- Files can be shared. Drag the appropriate file from the Remote window to the intended destination in the Local window to copy something from the remote computer to the one you’re using. In the same way, you’ll be able to drag files from your local computer to the distant machine.
(If you wish to know how to transfer programs from one computer to another, a USB cable is your answer.)
An ethernet cable is the simplest way to link two computer systems without using the internet. The two systems will be enabled to share files and view and modify them once the connection is established. Note the 10 steps (below) on how to set up an ethernet connection between two computers. (This is another way on how to access another computer on the same network.)
- Check to see if the two systems you’ve chosen support Ethernet wire.
- You must have an external ethernet adapter if one or both the systems in use do not support an ethernet cable.
- Connect one end of the ethernet cable to the first computer and the other to the second. You can also connect two computers with a crossover cable as Windows 10 supports the same.
- Open the Control Panel once the ethernet connection has been inserted into both systems. Press the Start button, hit the ‘+ R’ key, type ‘Control Panel’, and press Enter.
- Select ‘Network and Internet from the control panel, then ‘Network and Sharing Center from the drop-down menu (seen below).
- Select ‘Change advanced sharing settings in the upper left side of the screen.
- Select the ‘Turn on file and printer sharing option under ‘File and printer sharing.
- Finally, click ‘Save changes.
- To allow the two connected systems to see or update shared data, first select a folder, click the share tab, select the recipients, and click ‘Done’.
- Open file explorer on the second system, select the shared system, and input the password if the file is password protected. Edit or view the contents of the shared folder.
|NOTE: A crossover cable is also known as an ethernet cable—one of the ways on how to connect a laptop to a PC.|
What Can You Do With Connected Computers?
As noted, computer networks are made up of two or more computers linked together by cables (wired) or WiFi (wireless) to transmit, exchange, or share data and resources. Hardware (routers, switches, access points, cables) and software are used to create a computer network.
Computer networks allow for communication in all areas of business, entertainment, and research. These networks are essential for internet online searches, email, audio and video sharing, online shopping, live-streaming, and social networks.
Computer networks use cables, fiber optics, or wireless communications to connect computers, routers, and switches. Devices in a network can communicate and share information and resources through these links. And we’ve presented a workable list of how to connect two computers wirelessly by following the steps given in our guide.
Yes. If you have two PCs with USB ports, you can connect them with a USB ‘bridging’ cable.
Open File Explorer, right-click the file you wish to share and select Sharing from the drop-down menu. Under the ‘Find additional people’ section, you’ll see all the computers that have Nearby Sharing enabled. When you select that remote computer system, a message that a file has arrived will appear on the other computer.
A USB to USB cable is a simple way of how to connect two computers. You can use this cable to link two PCs, transfer files between them, create a small network and share your Internet connection with a second PC.