Yet another XP file sharing question
July 27, 2006 8:24 AM   Subscribe

Can someone point me to a resource that will help me configure file sharing properly in XP?

I know there are other threads that asked similar questions about a year ago and while I’ve read them, I don’t think any quite address my specific problem (although at this point, I may be too dense to even recognize the solution) so I’ll apologize in advance if I’m going over old ground. I’ve tried most of the recommendations in the previous threads, but none of those seem to have arrived at a clear resolution, and the whole thing is continuing to drive me bonkers.

Here’s my situation: About a year ago I set up a simple little XP workgroup network. It consists of two laptops (call them L1 and L2) and a desktop (D1). Everything works great, or at least the way I want it to. The D1 machine basically has two shared folders. One that is writable by the other machines, and one that is read-only. Neither of the laptops has any shared folders on the network. All three machines are running XP-Pro.

A couple of days ago I tried adding another laptop (L3; also XP-Pro) to the mix. It had been a member of a domain, but I changed it to use the same workgroup name as the other machines (which is all I thought I had to do). The only difference is that I wanted to share one of L3’s folders with the other machines in the workgroup.

No matter what I seem to do, I can’t “see” a network path to L3 from any of the other machines. Not only that, and perhaps even more interesting, D1 can’t “see” L1 or L2 at all. If you go to “My Network Places” on D1 no other computers appear (this has probably been like this since the beginning, but I paid no attention since everything was working the way I wanted, and I assumed that since L1 & L2 had no shared resources D1 would not need to “see” them). Similarly, L3 can’t see any other network resources. L1 and L2 however happily see D1 and the associated shared folders.

Clearly, in the morass of wizards and sharing options I’ve mucked something up, but can’t for the life of me tell what (or on what machine). Can someone point me in the right direction? Shouldn’t this be pretty straightforward?

Oh, and I’m reluctant to start all over because I don’t want to break what is currently working.
posted by dragonbay to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Define "see." Can you not connect to D1 at all from the new laptop? Can you not ping it? Or do you just mean it doesn't show up when browsing your network, but you can connect to it otherwise?
posted by kindall at 8:47 AM on July 27, 2006

Go to Start, click Run... and type in \\L3\sharename and click OK.

Does this work? If so it may just be a browsing issue. Windows boxes depend on network broadcasts to build a list of machines on the local network and sometimes they take a while to build.

Do the machines have Firewalls on them? Is the firewall setup to allow file sharing?
posted by internal at 9:49 AM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: By "see" I mean that nothing shows up in "My Network Places" to even indicate that there are other computers on the network or resources to attach to. This is true of D1 and L3. On L1 & L2 I was able to browse for the resource I wanted and those have had a drive mapped and connect automatically.
posted by dragonbay at 9:52 AM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: Yes, all the machines have firewalls (different ones in fact). They have all been set to allow sharing. Actually, L1 even had its firewall changed after originally setting up sharing and it still works fine.
posted by dragonbay at 9:54 AM on July 27, 2006

OK, yeah, do as internal suggests and see if you can connect by name. This is the easiest way anyway when you know the names of the machines involved. I don't think I've even opened My Network Places on any of the XP machines I use regularly, I always just type the desired share path into the Location field, or else mount it as a drive letter.
posted by kindall at 11:22 AM on July 27, 2006

some questions...

1) which XP are you using?
2) make sure your computers all have unique names that you 'll remember.
3) can all these machine get to the internet?
3) a. if no, fix this problem first. b. if yes, try setting static IP address for all your machines.
i had this problem on my network, my XPPro machine wouldnt see my 2000 machine. i punched my 2k computers name into the address bar and it came up. you could also try punching in the various IP address youve found. when i was mapping some of my drives, this helped a lot.

if all that fails, say screw it and download Hamachi. it's simple, encrypted and requires no configuration. if you want a simple - but not very pretty - web solution try HFS.
posted by Davaal at 11:41 AM on July 27, 2006

Response by poster: Well, let me try to answer:
1) All machines are XP-Professional
2) All the machine names are known
3) yes

While its tempting to move to Hamachi, I have trouble believing that that its easier to use the internet to share resources that are less than 100 feet apart than simply file share using XP.

I don't suppose there's a Microsoft resource that provides a clearcut definition as to what needs to be set up on each machine?
posted by dragonbay at 5:09 PM on July 27, 2006

ok, i just had the same problem again. i punched the IP address of the computer i was tryign to get to into address bar. or you can call the computer by name. make sure to us //computername/filename/ect.

i dont know why the network esources dont refresh.

hamachi is pretty quick and windows file sharing is hella- slow. but hit me back and lemme know if you can get to your computers via computer name. i'm working on this as i type this
posted by Davaal at 3:36 PM on July 30, 2006

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