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How to Create a FireWire Network between two adjacent Computers

Today I’ve got a quick tutorial on getting together a lightning fast, 2 computer, 1 cord network that can have you copying movies, music and any other kind of major gigabytage in a flash.

What you’ll need:

  1. Two computers running Windows XP or Mac OS X (in any combination.) Both must have a FireWire port.
  2. A FireWire cord.

I’ll demonstrate how to connect to a Mac from a PC using a FireWire network to mix it up on the OS front a bit. Keep in mind that Mac to Mac and XP to XP will work as well.

Set up your two computer network

  1. While both machines are powered up, connect them to each other with the FireWire cord. (I used the one that came with my 2nd gen iPod.)


  2. Configure each machine to see the other.
    On Windows XP
    1. A “Found New Hardware” dialog will pop up. Repeatedly. Cancel it. Repeatedly.
    2. In Control Panel, go to Network Connections. You will see a “1394 Connection.” 1394 is FireWire. (I don’t know why they didn’t just call it that either.)

      Right-click to get to the Properties panel of that connection.

    3. This is called “IP over Fire Wire,” so select the “TCP/IP” listing and press the Properties button.
    4. Here we have to assign an internal IP address to this machine. Select the “Use the following IP address” and enter The Subnet mask can stay, as pictured.


      Hit ok to get those settings to stick.

    On Mac OS X
    1. In System Preferences, choose the Network settings. From the Show dropdown, choose “Built-in FireWire.
    2. Set the IP address to – notice a pattern here? – as pictured. (Click to enlarge.)

    3. Hit the Show All button to go back to the System Preferences menu, and choose Sharing. Now we have to set up a way for the Windows PC to log onto the Mac. Under Services, check off “Remote Login.”


  3. Now that the machines are networked, it’s just about browsing the files on each. Since we’re going PC to Mac here, we’ll have to employ free software to use that Remote Login we opened up on the Mac. Download WinSCP. After it’s installed, set up a new connection to the Mac’s FireWire IP address (, as pictured. (Click to enlarge.)


    Use your Mac’s username and password and the SCP protocol. When you hit the Login button, if all goes well, you’ll be looking at the contents of your Mac’s hard drive.

  4. Copy or move files back and forth to your heart’s content. FireWire transfer happens at either 400 megabits or 800 (depending on the type of FW you’ve got going on) compared to my wireless network which gets about 48Mbps transfer. That’s 15 times as fast!

When going PC to PC or Mac to Mac, seeing the other machine in your network places is a lot easier, and WinSCP isn’t required. Also note that Remote Login/WinSCP is only one way you can transfer files between machines. FTP and Windows Sharing are also possibilities.

With a FireWire network, you can share printers and Internet connections as well. Consult the XP or Mac OS X help for more on getting that set up.

For more on IP over FireWire set up, see:

Ever had the bytes flying via 1394? Tell us about it in the comments or in an email to tips at lifehacker.com.

Gina Trapani, the editor of Lifehacker, loves the sight of a quickly-moving progress bar. Her semi-weekly feature, Geek to Live, appears every Wednesday and Friday on Lifehacker. Subscribe to the Geek to Live feed to get new installments in your newsreader.

All Copyrights – credits of this topic are of Gina Trapani’s.

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