Even in the days of wireless networks and Gigabit Ethernet it's still sometimes convenient to directly connect two computers together to copy files using parallel or serial ports. Not all computers have an Ethernet card or LAN connection built-in so it's sometimes the only option, or maybe you don't have a hub or cross-over RJ45 Ethernet cable lying around ready to use.
Using a parallel or serial cable can be very useful for connecting two PC's together. You can reach up to 4Mbits/sec using a direct parallel connection. It's ideal for copying files to a new computer or laptop.
Windows XP Set-up
To set-up a direct parallel or serial connection in Windows XP on the Start menu select 'My Network Places', then under the 'Network Tasks' panel on the left-hand side select 'Create a new connection', this will launch the 'New Connection Wizard'. Select Next and then select 'Set up an advanced connection'. To set up a direct connection, whether you wish to create a parallel or serial connection you must specify whether the PC you are currently using is the host (contains the files you wish to access) or guest (The computer used to access the information on the host PC). On this screen you have to make this decision, choose either 'Accept incoming connections' or 'Connect directly to another computer', depending on your selection you will be asked whether to connect using your parallel or serial port or you will be either asked to enter the name of the computer you wish to connect to or select the users who you wish to give permission to access you machine. Once you've set up the connection on one machine you will have to do the same on the other machine before you can successfully connect, remembering if you've made the first machine the Guest to make the other machine the Host and visa versa.
If you are using a software firewall such as Zonealarm, you will need to make sure you add your computer's IP addresses if applicable to the 'trusted zone' to allow your connection to be established between your two machines.