Windows 7 home network problem- HELP!

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I have HP desktop and Acer laptop both using win 7. I have problems setting the home network connection. The two are connected directly to the hub (no wireless connection). When the home network is started, the desktop recognizes laptop but does not appear on the screen and gives an error for the connection. The laptop on the other hand, recognizes the desktop and does show it on the network list of computers. Thus I can access files from the desktop via the laptop, but not the otherway around. Additionally, i seem to loose the connection from time to time. So I can be transfering data from the laptop and loose the connection in the middle of the whole thing. This is driving me nuts. Please help.
possible windows firewall issue with the laptop. disable windows firewall to confirm. if confirmed you can add exception for file and print sharing in windows firewall on the laptop.

download and install newest drivers to combat connection drops.
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