Thank you to those who have responded to my previous posting. I have made some progress, but need some very specific advice.
To recap, I am trying to connect a W95 and a W98SE computer, with a crossover cable. I have failed so far, except in one strange instance.
By repeated experiments, I find that when I have TCP/IP installed, and use the same IP address on each machine, I get the following error message on boot-up on both machines, as you would expect:
"The system has detected a conflict for IP address 192.168.0.1 with the system having hardware address 00:80:AD:00:A3:8A (different hardware address for both machines, obviously)."
On the W95 machine, the line "The interface has been disabled" is added.
This means, obviously, that there is some basic connection between the machines. The message appears before logging on to the network. This is, however, the only sign I can get that there is a link.
When I reboot with different IP addresses, there is no network: With TCP/IP installed, I can't ping the other machine (can ping same machine fine). Net Diag fails on NetBEUI if I'm using that as the default, etc. In Network Neighborhood I can see the same machine, not the other one. Same with Start|Find|Computer. As I have said before, I have tried every protocol, in isolation, and together. I have also deleted everything from Network Neighborhood, including the network cards, on both machines and started all over again. Nothing. Except when I revert to using the same IP address on both, and I get the above message.
So I have dug deeper, and come up with the following possibilities. As the options are becoming more drastic, I would appreciate some advice on which to go with first.
1. That the two systems just don't like communicating by crossover - I should use a hub.
2. The W98 uses IRQ steering for the CNET Pro200WL network card. It shares IRQ11 with my video card. This, I suppose, could be a problem in itself. But also, when I boot into Dos and run the card's diagnostic program, it seems to suggest that the "system allocated interrupt" is 9. Is this a possible cause? The BIOS PnP option is set to No. The card on the W95 is the Netgear EA201 (ISA). I am wary of switching off PCI steering on the W98 machine becuase I am not certain of the consequences. As with all modern systems, the IRQs are crowded.
3. The cards simply don't like each other - I should maybe stick an ISA card in the W98 or a PCI in the W95.
To restate some other basics from my previous message: I have used two different crossover cables. I know one of them works, and I know that the network cards function because both of the machines have recently been connected to the Net via an Ethernet DSL modem (using one of the crossover cables I'm currently using - both are Belkin). The ethernet modem is now gone from the system.
Thank you in anticipation for your help.