Re: connectivity problems
Laptop wireless card requires an access point (wireless router) be connected to your internet service. ICS -Internet Connection Sharing needs to be involved here, if you want to connect these 2 pc's (laptop & tower) without a router.
Honestly though, you're much better off spending $25-$30 on a wireless router (will have 1-4 hard wire ports on back) to get all the services you want.
Your limited or no connectivity issues are probably a result of APIPA, Windows Automatic
Private IP Addressing. It uses this when it can't get a dhcp address or doesnt have a static ip address. In command prompt, type ipconfig /all and you will probably see an address like: 169.x.x.x. APIPA allows you to connect your 2 pc's and share your files, but without ICS or a router, you wont get access to internet on both pc's ... just the one connected to your ISP.