In detail - I actually tried to figure things out myself, and managed to get somewhere, but don't really understood what I've done.
Firstly, on the PC, I created a folder "toshare" in "My Documents," right-clicked, and in properties -> sharing, I selected "share the folder on the network," in the hope that this folder would somehow become visible on the laptop.
Secondly, I also went to "My network places," and under network tasks, I selected "set up a small home or office network" and followed the network setup wizard through. I named my network IBNET, in the hope that this network would somehow be visible to the laptop. If I then click "view workgroup computers" under network tasks on the wired PC, I get the error "IBNET is not accessible. you might not have permission to view this network resourcre. contact the administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions. the list of servers for this network is not currently available." However, if I type "\\IBPC" into the address bar of any folder opened on my desktop PC, where "IBPC" is the name of my desktop PC, I can see the folder "toshare" that I created earlier. Also, under "Other Places," I can see the network "IBNET" that I created, though if I click on it, I get the error message above.
Thirdly, I went back to "My network places" and under network tasks, I selected "set up a wireless network for a home or small office." I followed this wizard successfully, and used a flash drive to transfer my details onto my laptop. I don't really know what to do after this, i.e. where to see the wireless network on either my PC or the laptop. If I go to Network Connections via the Control Panel on the PC, I don't see an icon for a wireless connection.
I tried to figure out what I could by using the ipconfig /all command from the dos prompt. From what I understand, the IP address of my PC is 192.168.1.64, and that of my laptop is 192.168.1.65. If I ping 192.168.1.65 from the PC, the request times out, so I believe the PC cannot see the laptop. If I ping 192.168.1.64 from the laptop, I get a response back, so I believe the laptop can see the PC. If I type \\192.168.1.64 in any folder opened on the laptop, then hey presto, I can see the "toshare" folder that I shared on the on my desktop PC, and I can access its files from the laptop. Hence, technically, I can share files on a network, but I don't really understood what I've done, i.e. is it sufficient to enable folder sharing through properties -> share folder on the network, or do you have to go through the Windows Network wizards, or are you supposed to set evereything up through your router? And how can you see a "map" of the network on either the PC or the laptop, to see what's connected to what?