Network reachable, but (Suddenly) file sharing stops working. Any thoughts?
July 17, 2007 5:16 PM   Subscribe

My home network isn't cooperating. It worked fine for months, and then, unexpectedly (after a day of bad electricity (I hate my power company)), it isn't.

See, if I couldn't connect to the internet (wired or wireless, no less!), I'd assume that my router was simply fried. But no, I can get to teh interwebs. Thankfully, even to the far reaches of Ask Mefi :). However, my file sharing (and printers too!) isn't functional. It's SMB file sharing (though I'm running a couple of Linux machines on the network too with SaMBa). I can ping the rest of the network, there's just something STUPID that I'm missing (I assume). Or can a power surge/failure fry JUST THAT PART of the router (I find that hard to believe, it's all just TCP or UDP, right?).

Anyway, thanks in advance!
posted by TrueVox to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
i use SMB shares over my wireless network for my xbox and find that i have to re-set the xbox user's password on my windows2000 box after a power loss. heck if i know why. it doesn't cause a problem for my laptop connecting to it under a different username.
posted by noloveforned at 5:22 PM on July 17, 2007

I can't make many useful suggestions, because there's just not enough data in your question. At the very least, we'd need to know what machine is sharing the files (Linux or Windows, and which version of either), what machines are trying to connect, and the exact error message.

There are two separate services in Windows networking that can fail; the network browser (which gives you a list of machines to click on), and the actual network shares. The network browser maintains a list of machines, gives it to anyone who asks, and translates those names into IP addresses when people click. Even if the browsing is busted, you can normally still get to machines by IP address.

If you know the IP of your server machine, do a start/run and type in \\, putting in the IP in question. If you get any kind of connection prompt, it's probably your browser that's not working.
posted by Malor at 5:26 PM on July 17, 2007

Ok, no problem. I'm smart enough to monkey commands, but I'm sorry I didn't know quite what to ask. :)

ALL machines are trying to share files. And none of them can (anymore, once again, they were working fine before the weird power day).

Wow. You're freaking right. I guess my, uh, "Network Browser" is busted. On all the machines in my network (can that happen?). Because start/run \\ser.ver.I.P brings it right up (NEATO! Didn't know I could do that!).

The exact error I get when I click on "View Workgroup Computers" in "My Network Places" is:

Workgroup is not accessible. You might not have permission to access this resource. Contact the Administrator of this server to find out if you have access permissions.

The list of servers for this workgroup is not currently available.

So... my browser's broken all across my network (even the Linux machines!), can I fix that?

And NoLoveForNed, I appreciate it, but I'm not sure if that's the issue. My Xbox's password is hard coded into the XML file, and either way it's ALL ACROSS the network. Thanks though!

Thanks for the quick replies!!!
posted by TrueVox at 5:37 PM on July 17, 2007

you've slightly mis-interpreted me- it's the windows box that i reset the share password on, i don't touch the xbox. i had no idea you had an xbox. either way it's worth a try (it's like 10 seconds, you just set the same password) on whatever machine is doing the primary serving of files.

it's still not really clear which computers (and OSes) are serving files and which are just clients connecting to a share over SMB. i'm guessing your linux box(es) aren't the problem and that it's the windows box(es).
posted by noloveforned at 6:28 PM on July 17, 2007

Ok, your problem is that your browse service isn't running for some reason.

Any given subnet will have one 'local master browser', the machine that maintains the list. This is determined by an 'election', in which all the machines compare their versions. Machines get a 'score'; more recent versions of Windows are scored higher, and servers get more points than workstations. The machine with the highest point total wins, and takes over the browse service, at least until someone else comes along who scores even higher.

This gets more complex when you get Win2k and later in the mix, because they use a combination of DNS and the old browse service. I've never understood exactly how this works, to be honest.

I think one of two things is happening: either you changed passwords on the machine that's winning the election, meaning it refuses to talk to you (it shouldn't, but I think that's possible), or else you have a new machine winning the election, and it has firewalling of some kind turned on.

Assuming you have a hardware router/firewall protecting you from the outside, I'd suggest disabling all your internal firewalls and double-checking your username/password on all the machines to make sure it's the same. Then restart all the machines. Start the servers first, and add the workstations in afterward. Give the browse service about ten minutes to get itself straightened out... if it's still busted after 10 minutes, you'll have to get more insistent.

Since you're running Linux, I'd probably try to configure one of the Samba machines to be the local master browser. To do that, on ONLY ONE machine, put the following lines in your [global] section in smb.conf:

domain master = yes
local master = yes
preferred master = yes
os level = 65

With those lines in place, Samba will win any election, and hopefully your browse list will reappear.
posted by Malor at 6:51 PM on July 17, 2007

Ok, that sounds like good advice. I'll try that tomorrow (I don't wanna wake my roomie), and repost here tomorrow night.

Thanks SO MUCH!
posted by TrueVox at 8:30 PM on July 17, 2007

Malor, you sir positively REEK of Batmanery. THANK YOU *SO* much!!!!! It works!!! I can now get to all of my sweet, sweet network!
posted by TrueVox at 5:54 PM on July 18, 2007

Great, glad to hear it. :) Did you have to do the Samba fix, or was the firewall/password thing enough?
posted by Malor at 7:02 PM on July 18, 2007

Well, as it turns out (I did the Samba fix), it was only temporarary. I awoke this morning, AND IT WASN'T WORKING AGAIN! ARRGGHH!!! /me smashes compluter!

So, uh, what would cause it to work for a little while? I DID shut everything down after putting that clip in my SMB.CONF file, then restart them one by one (SMB server first, of course :D). Yet, it all has stopped working. Maybe my network hates me?
posted by TrueVox at 4:43 AM on July 19, 2007

You did do the firewall and password thing, right?

I just did a little digging in my own Samba server. I think you may need to add one more thing. In the globals section, make sure it says:

wins support = yes

I don't think Samba will win elections if you don't include that.

If you're still having trouble after that (don't forget to restart Samba on that machine), it'll be time to get into the Resource Kit utilities.
posted by Malor at 10:41 AM on July 19, 2007

Interestingly enough, I added the wins support, and now I can browse other computers, just not through the network neiborhood interface. Like, if I just have a link directly there it works (using host name, no ip needed). Also, yes, I've done the firewall and password thing, but hell, I'll check it all again though, just to be on the safe side.

Thanks so much for all your help!
posted by TrueVox at 3:43 PM on July 19, 2007

We should be able to get this working. I'm confused about why it isn't. Willing to keep poking away at it awhile longer if you are. :)

The next step: go into /var/log/samba, and look to see what the log.nmbd file says. (use the 'tail' command.... tail -20 log.nmbd will print the last 20 lines of the file.) It should claim to be the master browser. Does it?
posted by Malor at 5:12 PM on July 19, 2007

It does. Both for my local 192.e.t.c network and for some other network. Oh, wait. It's quite likely that's just a "fake" VM network (at least, I'd assume so). At least, that makes sense to me.

And thanks SO much for helping me with this. I can't express to you how much I appricate this.
posted by TrueVox at 7:33 PM on July 19, 2007

Ok, that 168 network could be a problem. There's a number that Windows uses when it can't talk to the DHCP server. Samba shouldn't be seeing numbers in that range unless ... well, you mention VM, are you running VMWare on that machine? And do you have it set to Bridge mode or NAT mode?

This is getting complex enough we should probably take it to email. Any further troubleshooting is probably not going to be of general interest, so it would be safe to take private.

Drop me a note if you'd like.... my email's in my profile.
posted by Malor at 10:27 PM on July 19, 2007

Well, thank you very much! In the interest of helping anyone else who comes along, I'll mark the best answer yet, and I'll also post what we come up with.
posted by TrueVox at 4:40 AM on July 20, 2007

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