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Issue #427: September 27 – Oct 3, 2015

Q: What is the best way to connect two computers? I recently bought a new desktop with windows 8 on it and I want to use it as the main computer. I have a wireless network connecting with 3 laptops already. Would I be able to connect a wireless adapter to the old desktop or would I be better off using an USB or Ethernet cable?

– Jack W.
Odessa, Texas

A: Well, Jack, it really depends on why you want to connect them. There is very little reason for the typical home computer user to connect two computers with anything other than regular home networking, either wired or wireless. Computers which are interconnected and properly configured can share resources with each other, including their disk storage and attached peripherals, such as printers. Sharing their disk storage gives you the ability to do things like copy files from one system to another, or to stream music or video from one PC to another.

In a modern home network, concepts such as which computer is the “main computer” are obsolete. There is no master/slave relationship, and unless you’re running software which implements such behavior, not even client/server relationships. From the perspective of the network, all the attached PCs are essentially equal.

Unless the old desktop is positively ancient, you shouldn’t have any problem connecting a wireless adapter to it. Wireless Network Interface Cards, or NICs, as they are called, are available in the form of cards that plug-into the computer’s internal card slots, or as devices that plug into a USB port. These devices function exactly like the wireless NICs that are built-in to almost all modern laptops, most likely including the ones in your own home network.

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Q: I’m running Win 7 on new Dell PC. I rebooted today and when I went to go into my iTunes, I got the error “The iTunes Library.itl file is locked, on a locked disk, or you do not have write permission for this file.” Say whaaat??? I googled the issue and got instructions from on how to go to the iTune Library.itl file on my computer. I was prepared to see the check in the box that says “read only”, but it was NOT checked. iTunes worked fine last night. How do I get back into my program and access my audiobooks? The only thing I did today prior to re-booting was to clear my cookies & history.

– Crystal G.
Baker, Florida

A: The read-only status is only one of the things that can prevent you having write access to a file. Windows tracks user-level permissions for each file and directory on your system, and “WRITE” permission must be enabled on the file either for your user account, or for a security group of which your account is a member.

File security and how to properly set permissions is a very complex topic, and effective discussion is way too lengthy for my column. However, if you care to visit you’ll find a Windows Technet article that spells out all the basics for you. Using that knowledge, you should be able to revisit the offending file and make sure you have full permissions to do what you need with it. Good luck!

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