Home Network Problem

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wolfworx

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This is a very frustrating problem.

A Friend just added a new computer to his home network and the network has not been working since the addition.

The new computer we’ll call Computer #1 is running Win XP Pro.

The other two computers #2 and #3 are running Win98SE.

1. I have double checked all three workgroup names they are the same.
2. I have checked all connections and cabling. The cables go into a hub and all lights on the hub are lit.
3. Firewall software is off.
4. Usernames and passwords are the same.
5. All three systems have been set to share files and printers.

But…non of the three computers show any other computer in the workgroup and files on the other computers cannot be accessed.

I get no indication that other computers are on the network with "net view" and "net use". I cannot ping the other computers by name.

However. Computer #2 can successfully print on the printer connected to Computer #3 and Computer #3 can successfully print to the printer connected to printer #2. Computer #1 cannot print to either of the printers connected to the other two computers.

I set up IP addresses as follows with subnet mask 255.255.255.0
Computer #1 192.168.0.1
Computer #2 192.168.0.2
Computer #3 192.168.0.3

No help in file sharing.

I can successfully ping the other computers IP addresses from computer #1, but pinging Computer #1 from the other 2 computers fails.

I have run out of things to try. It seems strange that #2 and #3 can share printers but not files. The network was working prior to the addition of the new computer, but now we have a problem that I have not been able to solve after almost two hours. Can anyone offer a suggestion for something else to try?
 

TerryNet

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"I can successfully ping the other computers IP addresses from computer #1, but pinging Computer #1 from the other 2 computers fails."

Maybe firewall on the XP PC. I know you said that firewalls are "off," but others have had problems with 3rd party firewalls; they had to completely uninstall them or get them properly configured. No point in looking at XP's file sharing until you can ping it.

On the other two machine's have you tried Start - Run - \\IPaddress - OK where IPaddress is the IP of the other W98SE? What is the error message?
 

wolfworx

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Thanks for the suggestions.

As far as I know there are no 3rd party firewalls on the new system. I assume Dell does not add any to their new computers.

I have not tried run \\IPaddress on the Win 98 machines, but I did try to ping the IP address of from #2 to #3 and vice-versa. No success. The fact that they can share printers is puzzling.

I have suggested my client physically disconnect the new computer from the network and restart #2 and #3 to see if they work by themselves.

I could also try a crossover cable between two computers to see if it makes a difference.

I will not be able to visit my client for the rest of the week, but I am hoping to have some new ideas to try on my next visit.
 
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also what i think it happen here is that after he added the windows xp machine now the xp box want to be the master browser and im sure one of the windows 98 machine is doing that best way will be to make the windows xp pro the server for the windows 98 clients

also is your client also your Friend ?

you can also setup a host file on each machine
 

wolfworx

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Yes, he's a friend and CPA. He does my taxes and I do his computers.

Sometimes I think that networking is more VooDoo than technology. One day the network doesn't work the next day you reboot and everything works fine.

I'm collecting a few more things to try on my next visit.

What do you think about obtaining an IP address automatically vs. specifying an IP address?

Could a bad NIC in the new computer cause this problem?

What about repacing the hub with a router?
 
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I really doubt that plugging in an XP system would bring a workgroup setup to a screeching halt. What network protocols do you have set up on each PC, all you should need is TCP/IP with file and printer sharing enabled. If there is also a router for internet connectivity you may be using it's address on Conputer 1 because gateways are ususally set to the .1 address...just a thought (set it to .5)
Computer 1 is obviously the problem child in this setup and it is more than likely a configuration issue.
http://www.practicallynetworked.com/sharing/xp_filesharing/11trouble.htm

Also make sure the XP box can ping itself and its local addresss 127.0.0.1
 

TerryNet

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The My Network Places folder and the "view workgroup computers" command work in a "learning mode." After the entire network gets "stable," they'll show you what you expect. But for awhile after you add or subtract or change a computer, they are not accurate. Nor predictable.

It often takes a few restarts and "view workgroup computers" before you begin to like them.

One way that seems to force a computer to find another (instead of waiting for the workgroup to work as desired) is to search for it. In My Network Places click on the Search icon at the top, and search for whatever computer is causing problems.
 

wolfworx

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Yes, restarting each computer several times in different sequences really chews up the hours, but alas, to no avail. :( I'm beginning to think it may be hardware, but it's worth one or two more tweeks of the OSs.
 

TerryNet

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Three days ago you said, "I assume Dell does not add any [firewalls] to their new computers." No doubt you have good reasons for your assumption, but I still advise you to (on the new XP): Start - Control Panel - Add or Remove Programs and search for McAfee or Norton or other firewall. If you find one, remove it.

Quoted from the June 2005 Dell sales booklet: "Security: All Dell systems include a 90-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2005 (AntiVirus, Firewall, AntiSpam)." Surely that policy changes from time to time; last year my new Dell came with a trial of McAfee. [I omitted a whole slew of TMs in the preceding.]
 

wolfworx

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Thanks. Just heard recently that Norton AV can cause network problems. I have been using Norton AV on my home network for years without problems and am currently using the 2005 version. However, I will attempt to do a clean up of Norton on my friend's system to see if that solves the problem.
 

TerryNet

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It's not Norton (or any other) Anti-Virus that blocks access over a network. It's Norton (and other) Firewalls that block network access. That's their purpose in life.

Since Microsoft is responsible for the Windows XP Firewall, when you run their "set up a home or small office network" wizard and specify 'file and printer sharing' that wizard opens the appropriate holes in the XP Firewall to allow such. If you specify ICS, it will open another hole to allow internet access from another computer.

However, you are responsible for configuring all other firewalls with the necessary "holes" (often called "trusted zones"). Or, to initially get the network going, uninstalling the 3rd party firewalls.
 

wolfworx

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Hmmm. Thanks TerryNet. Looks like Norton or my set up in Network Wizard is not the problem.

I did not try "ping 127.0.0.1, but it will probably work. pinging other computers by name does not work. I can successfully ping the IP addresses of the Win98SE computers, but they cannot successfully ping the IP address of the XP computer.

I wish their were better diagnostics for problems such as this. I still cannot be sure if it is a hardware problem or something in the OS that I have overlooked.
 

TerryNet

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Services to check would include "TCP/IP NetBIOS Helper," "Windows Firewall/Internet Connection Services (ICS)" and maybe "Workstation."
 
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