The procedure which allows users of a computer system comprising a plurality of computers connected in a local area network to share both file resources and application programs on the local area network without modification to existing programs which were designed to run in a non-network environment is disclosed. The local area network comprises a server computer and at least one remote computer. Starting the network comprises an initial program load of the operating system for each of the computers, loading the local area network control program, and then loading a hypervisor or "node enabler" program. At each of the remote computers, a request to load a program or access a data file is converted by the "node enabler" to a file sharing and record locking protocol message with is transmitted to the server computer. The server computer stores a program matrix with entries indicating which programs can be run on the network without conflicts with other systems including the server computer. The server computer also maintains a list of currently running programs and accessed data files. By comparing the remote computer request with the program matrix and the list of currently running programs and accessed data files, a decision to grant a remote computer's request is made. In addition, by recording a unique identification number for each remote computer signed on to the network at the server computer, control of access to licensed programs is maintained.