Actually, it can be that simple if you’re running Win 95/98.
On Win 95/98, when you install the NICs, they will generally install the TCP/IP protocol automatically. Hook up to the hub, and you’re hardware is communicating.
After the hardware hookup, you’ll probably want to share some resources (folders, entire drives, printers, etc.) on at least one of the systems, otherwise you don’t get much use out of the network. Enable sharing on any one PC by going to network properties (right click on Network Neighborhood) and select the “File and Print Sharing” button. Choose to share files and/or printers, and click Ok a couple of times. You’re PC will be need to be re-booted before the share will be effective. After the re-boot, you can mark folders, drives, or printers to be shared using Windows Explorer or My computer (look carefully at the share authority when sharing files, folders, or drives).
There are other options you can get into, but that is usually enough to get you into a basic home network.