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WorkGroup is not accessible


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brucedl's Avatar
brucedl brucedl is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Chicago, Illinois
12-Jan-2006, 02:58 PM #1
WorkGroup is not accessible
I have 3 WindowsXP SP2 boxes on my workgroup. Things had been working perfectly.
Today, I can no longer see the workgroup in my network neighborhood when I try to "view Workgroup computers." I tried rebooting and restarting my routers/switches/PC's. I can search for the machines by computer name and open the shared folders at least though. I have tried dropping Zone Alarm to no avail. There was one windows update last night but I tried removing it but that didn't help. I didn't install anything new on any of the machines either. Where did the ability to view all the PC's go?

Last edited by brucedl; 12-Jan-2006 at 03:10 PM..
JohnWill's Avatar
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Location: South Eastern PA, USA
12-Jan-2006, 07:19 PM #2
Checklist for networking Windows Machines with TCP/IP
-----------------------------------------------------
- PCs which are not XP must have TCP/IP installed.
- Each PC must have a unique computer name.
- Each PC must have a network share defined.
- ALL NICS must be on the same subnet (e.g. IP 192.168.0.* subnet mask 255.255.255.0).
- XP PCs must have Netbios over TCP/IP enabled (only essential for XP to talk to W9X PCs).
- MS Client and file & printer sharing must be enabled on each machine.
- All NICs must have their node type = anything except p-node (peer to peer, or point-point).
* To check, open a command prompt and type IPCONFIG /ALL.
- XP's ICF firewall is permanently disabled. (Only necessary for pre XP SP2).
- All 3rd party firewalls are disabled, uninstalled and deleted (until connection is working).
- PCs have the same workgroup (helps, but not essential for XP/2K, necessary for 9X/ME).

Allow 15 mins after rebooting a PC for that PC to appear in the workgroup, or
for it to see all other PCs. Or you can search for the PC by its computer name.


Additional things to check if you still have problems:
-----------------------------------------------------
- Check your Services are Started on all PCs: Workstation, Server, TCP/IP Netbios helper, Computer Browser.
- XP gives access to its shares via the Net Guest Account. (Note, not the same as the local guest account in user accounts which should be off). Net Guest Account is enabled by default in XP, but to check it, open a command prompt and type: NET USER GUEST
Should return a line with 'Account active yes'.


Check XP Security policies:
--------------------------
- Access this computer from the network: add guest
- Deny logon locally: remove guest
- Network access:Sharing and security model... -> Guest only
- Deny access to this computer from the network-> check Guest is not here.
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brucedl's Avatar
brucedl brucedl is offline
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13-Jan-2006, 04:50 PM #3
Never one to give up too easily, I SOLVED this by changing the name of the original workgroup and restarting the machines. With the new workgroup name, I was able to view the workgroup PC's at the top level on the two machines I tried this with. I then changed back to the original workgroup name and voila, all is well again.

This worked without disabling any firewalls or making -any- other changes other than renaming the workgroup as specified above.
JohnWill's Avatar
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13-Jan-2006, 05:42 PM #4
Amazing, you have to wonder what was happening there.
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seglea seglea is offline
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Location: Exeter, England
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23-Sep-2007, 05:11 PM #5
thanks for discussion, and a couple of questions
Thanks to all contributors on this topic, here and on other threads of this site. I had this problem in a very persistent form, on a home network where two XP-home machines attach to a router and I could ping from each to the other, or connect via the IP address, but could not use the computer names in any way. The renaming workgroups trick did not do it. I have now fixed it by going into the registry and setting the NetBT Node-Type to Broadcast (Decimal Value 1), as suggested on another thread of this forum - it was showing Unknown on one computer and Peer to Peer on the other. It was not necessary to force Netbios to Enabled, I stayed with the default of getting its setting via DHCP.
So it's working, but I'd really like to understand better in case this happens again.
(1) everything was working fine, then one of the machines (a laptop) did quite a bit of travelling and things seem to have gone wrong when it returned. What might I have changed accidentally while travelling to cause this problem to start up?
(2) is there any way of setting the node type without getting into the registry? I just hate doing that...
Thanks for your wisdom.
JohnWill's Avatar
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Retired Moderator with 106,412 posts.
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: South Eastern PA, USA
23-Sep-2007, 06:47 PM #6
Not really, but here's a script to fix it.

Create a file in notepad named NODETYPE.REG with the following contents:

------------------- Use text after this line -------------------
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\NetBT\Parameters]

"NodeType"=dword:00000001
------------------- Use text before this line -----------------

Double click on the file and say Yes to the merge into registry question.
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