Setting up Networking between two xp machines seems to work easily and without problems.
However it is more difficult to get Windows 95, 98 and 98SE machines to work in both directions.
What I found is that the Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) was affecting the drive and file access from the 9x machines, where intermittently, they could not access the xp machines. The xp machines had no problems accessing the 9x machines.
I set the network up without ICS, and use a separate TCP/IP interface product for sharing the Internet connection. Set the network up on each xp machine as follows:
After doing this, you will be able to access all machines reliably.
Additional notes: Refer to www.ctas.co.nz tips and tricks for Windows xp, as there are other tips and problems with the networking. Eg installing NetBEUI on the Windows XP machine definitely made improvements. Also, you must change the Windows 9x to "Client for Microsoft Networks" as the primary logon rather than Windows Logon. Although I found that the Windows Logon did work after the NetBEUI was installed, it did not seem as reliable as "Client for Microsoft Networks" Protocol.