I am trying to access my files on my home computer from my computer whihc uses dial-up, both of the system's have WIndows XP Home on them. I have a DSL connection, so I am always connected, is there a way I can make a network connection once I dial-up to the internet at her house.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) should do what you want. Win XP Pro allows you to set up connections to a VPN server on another machine (not sure about XP home), however I think you would need to purchase software to create a VPN server, or at least download it if there is a shareware version available.

Then you can run the VPN server on the dsl computer (which should remain connected to the internet) and connect to it from the dial up machine when you need to.

One or two things you need to be aware of:
The connection would need to be created by the remote (dialup) machine, so if you left the dialup machine online, but not connected to the VPN server, and went to work on the dsl computer you would not be able to initiate the connection.

If you do not have a static IP address it may be a pain because you would need to keep changing the dialup machine's VPN connection to point at the server's IP address. I think there are some web sites that could track your server's address and can forward connections on to it which would solve this issue but you may need to pay for this service and I'm not entirely sure about the security of this connection forwarding.

Other than this VPN uses fairly high levels of encryption so you can rest assured that nobody would be able to listen in to the network traffic.

Another, possible cheaper, alternative to this idea is to use FTP. Although now perhaps a bit dated, it would be possible to host an FTP server on the dsl computer which allows access to the areas of your files you need from the dialup computer.

Again if you do not have a static IP you would have the hassle of having to know which address the server is on when you wanted to connect. And again you could only initiate the connection from the client side.

Also, although (like VPN) you would require a username and password to connect to the FTP server (giving you some security), I do not believe FTP is encrypted in any way so it would be possible for somebody to 'listen in' on he files you are transferring.

The advantage of FTP is that it should be possible to do it for free. There are shareware servers (eg WAR FTP) and clients (eg cute FTP).

I apologise if I've used any 'tecno speak', and obviously post back if you're confused or if anything sounds interesting to you.

no, I understand completely what you are saying I have a bachelor's in computer engineering, but I couldn't think of how to solve this problem