Originally posted by: confusered
not being able to 'see' the other computer if I just connect the LAN cable without restarting. [. . .] it takes a long time and I have a slow system.
XP (H and P, alike) ordinarily takes in stride whether LAN cables are unplugged or replugged and whether machines are down or up, for short or long terms, reestablishing connections when its scanning detects broken or restored connections. You leave us to guess that you're not using XP + SP 2, and that maybe you're using 98SE or even 3.11 (or even something other than Windows), so please tell us your os.
TCP (at least with XP) should suffice. NetBIOS opens vulnerabilities (use firewall and router settings for protection).