1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

XP Pro computer can't access network drives/folders

By TheGr8Schlotzky · 9 replies
Apr 24, 2008
  1. I'm running a small office network of 11 computers. Only one computer that I'm aware of has the problem. The computer has full access to internet and all network printers, but is unable to access the server or any shared files on the other computers. I can ping all tested computers over the network without problem, as well as the default gateway, but get the error message "MsHome is unaccessable" when I click "view workgroup computers" I've reconfigured the network on this computer using the Network setup wizard, and after tweaking a few other things, I was able to get full access of the network from the computer, but upon the next start up, without any software changes, I'm again unable to acess the network. I've tried repairing the connection both with the dropdown menu and through the cmd prompt. The network troubleshooter was no help, and I'm running out of ideas! Help me out!


    EDIT: I'll also add that all computer on the network are running XP Pro.
  2. infusion

    infusion TS Rookie

    i had this on a xp machine years and years ago turned out to be some kind of stuff up in my wmi service windows management thing.
    there is a way you can repair it but when i attempted to do that it still failed
  3. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +186

    There are many things to check, but if you've run Network Wizard and checked they're all on the same workgroup, suggest best thing is check firewalls first as they are so often the problem
    1. Unplug from the Internet
    2. Turn off computer firewalls on your computers
    3. You must wait at least 5 mins or so as firewall changes aren't seen immediately on Microsoft Network
    4. Check to see if problem exists
  4. TheGr8Schlotzky

    TheGr8Schlotzky TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    I know that if there were a firewall problem, it would be in that computer in particular, because all others had no problems from the get go connecting. I disabled all firewalls and tried connecting and still had no luck.
  5. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +186

    Yes, saying "all" was overkill BUT is important that at least the two firewalls on the computers you want to communicate are turned off AND you waited at least 5-10 minutes (no more then 10mins),

    Better yet, do / check the following. Then turn off all your computers (this time i mean all). Then power [*]up ONE of the two. Once it;s started, start the other. And by rebooting with firewalls turned off should take care of "waiting 5 mins" problem. There is a second issue about only one Master Browser among your computers but verifying below and then only starting the TWO in sequence (with others off) should spare you the effort of the add'l checking.

    Turn off firewall on both computers.

    Check NetBIOS
    Make sure that NetBIOS over TCP/IP is turned on for each computer in the workgroup.
    1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Network and Internet Connections.
    2. Click Network Connections.
    3. Right-click Local Area Connection, and then click Properties.
    4. Click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then click Properties.
    5. Click the General tab, and then click Advanced.
    6. Click the WINS tab.
    7. Under NetBIOS setting, click Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP, and then click OK two times.
    8. Click Close to close the Local Area Connection Properties dialog box.
    9. Close the Network Connections window.

    Verify the Computer Browser service
    1. Click Start, right-click My Computer, and then click Manage.
    2. Double-click Services and Applications.
    3. Double-click Services.
    4. Scroll to the entry for Computer Browser. Verify the Startup Type is set to Automatic.
    5. Verify Computer Browser Status = Started. If not started, check again after reboot. Should be starting if Startup Type = Automatic
  6. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +186

    By the way, when checking the Local Area Net Connection properties you may as well double check that File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks appears in the list (and has checkmark to its left) as well
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 12,674   +1,478

    All systems MUST have the same Workgroup NAME; including UpperLowerCase sensitivity.

    Which firewall(s) are on your systems? Assuming just one system is failing to share,
    that firewall needs Print/File Sharing enabled on the Exceptions tab (for the windows firewall).

    Your failing system also needs to enable File Sharing.
  8. TheGr8Schlotzky

    TheGr8Schlotzky TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    The only firewall on the computer is windows firewall. The virus protection has no firewall. I doubled checked case sensitivity, but I can only type in caps when designating the workgroup name.

    LookingAround, I enabled NetBIOS over TCP/IP. (it was off) but nothing changed. I will try the first thing mentioned with the two computers after the day is over and everyone else has left. thanks for the help
  9. LookinAround

    LookinAround Ex Tech Spotter Posts: 6,430   +186

    TheGr8Schlotzky: Note, this is still a draft (so, for example, don't mind some of the odd color changes!) with additional troubleshooting info still to come but I figured you could use what’s already documented. In particular, follow the steps to look at Computer Browser as well as errors in Windows Event Log. I suspect a browser error and am still in process of fleshing out the “how to” guide which includes basic info and step-by-step for that situation as well


    PART 1​

    Troubleshooting Files and Printer Sharing can be frustrating with all the mix-and-match variables that must be just right across computers on a network. These posts initially focus on troubleshooting these variables on XP Home and XP Pro based systems.
    Troubleshooting is organized into two parts:
    Part 1, Verify computers on the network can “see” each other
    • Don’t be concerned with access privilege errors when computer A tries to access computer B
    • Only be concerned that computer A can simply see computer B on the Microsoft Windows Network
    Part 2, Addresses file and printer access privileges across your computers
    Follow the steps in BASIC TROUBLESHOOTING. It includes instructions on how to test each computer to confirm it can see your other computers. If needed, you can also use the instructions listed under Extended Troubleshooting.

    These instructions assume your Control Panel is set for Classic View (all control panel applets displayed in a single list). Look in upper left of Control Panel to click/switch between Classic and Category View.


    1. Verify computer and workgroup names
    • Click My Computer -> Properties. Click Computer Name tab.
    • Check (These are uppper/lower case sensitive)
      • Computer Name: (Must be unique for each of your computers)
      • Workgroup: (Must be identical on each your computers)
    • To change Computer Name or Workgroup, click Change. You must restart before changes take affect.
    2. Verify Local Area Network Connection properties
    Your computer may have several ways to connect to a network. Verify the settings / properties assigned to your computer’s Local Area Network (LAN) Connection
    • Control Panel -> Network Connections. You’re presented with a list of available network connections
    • Check the Status shown for your LAN connection is Connected
    • Right click your LAN Connection and select Properties. Review list of items “used by the connection”. Verify the following are listed and checked (see Extended Troubleshooting for instructions uninstall / reinstall an item)
      • Client for Microsoft Networks
      • File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks
      • Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) (this should always be present and can not be uninstalled. If corrupted, see Extended Troubleshooting)
    • Verify NetBIOS over TCP/IP enabled
      • Select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) -> Properties
      • Click General tab -> Advanced
      • Click WINS tab. Under NetBIOS setting, click Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP
      • Close the property dialog boxes
    3. Verify Computer Browser Service is Running
    Computer Browser service is a required component. Confirm it’s started on boot and is still running.
    • Right click My Computer then Manage
    • Double-click Services and Applications, double-click Services
    • Scroll right pane to Computer Browser. Confirm Startup Type = Automatic (this starts Computer Browser on system boot). To set it
      • Right click Computer Browser, select Properties
      • Set Startup Type to Automatic, hit OK. Reboot and check Browser settings again
    • Confirm Computer Browser’s Status = Started (ie it’s running). If it’s other then Started there’s a problem causing it to fail. Check Event Log (next step). Look closely at conditions I’ve listed under Event Source:Browser

    4. Check for errors in the Windows Event Log
    The Event Log service records significant events in the Event Log. (Event Log service Startup Type should = Automatic so it’s starts on every boot.) See step 3 above about setting service startup type)
    • Right click My Computer -> Manage
    • Expand System Tools -> Event Viewer -> System
    • Click View -> Filter. Uncheck Information, then OK
    • Review events of last couple days. In particular, events since last boot. For more info about event
      • Double click event for a description. Click on link within the description.
      • Use Microsoft Help and Support to search on event source and ID
    • Review events. Some known events (and their problems) to look out for (listed by event source)
      • Browser - Check for these common causes on each computer
        • Firewall is blocking ports needed by File and Printer Sharing
        • File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks not installed on LAN connection
        • NetBIOS over TCP/IP not enabled on LAN connection
      • MRxSMBMay indicate Browser error. In particular, Event ID: 8003 indicates “Master Browser” error (see Extended Troubleshooting)
      • Service Control ManagerMay indicate Browser error. Event ID: 7036 occurs if a service couldn’t start. Check event description to see which service. If Computer Browser, check causes listed above under Event Source:Browser.
      • Tcpip - TCP/IP protocol errors. Look at Event ID and description. If TCP/IP or Winsock might be corrupted you may you want to reset them. (see Extended Troubleshooting)

    5. Check if firewall misconfigured / interfering with communication
    Firewall changes may take time before you see it have any impact on the Microsoft Windows Network. You can:
    • Reboot so changes are effective at startup, or
    • Be patient. Allow at least 5 (no more then 10) minutes for firewall changes to influence the Windows network.

    A mis-configured firewall is often the problem. It can also result in error messages which seem to point elsewhere. The best way to rule out firewall issues is to turn off every firewall on every computer. IMPORTANT! Before turning off all firewalls, first disconnect from your ISP. When the firewalls are off, you want the outside world to stay outside. For each computer
    • Verify only one firewall running (e.g. Windows Firewall sometimes manages to get re-enabled and runs in addition to your own firewall)
      • Control Panel -> Windows Firewall
      • On General tab, check Off, click OK
    • Turn off any firewall you installed
    6. Test each computer’s view of other computers on the network
    To complete Part 1 Troubleshooting confirm each computer can see other computers on the Microsoft Windows Network. Must repeat test on every computer
    • Disconnect from ISP. Make sure every computer firewall is off
    • Right click Windows Start, select Explore
    • Scroll Explorer to My Network Places. Expand My Network Places -> Entire Network -> Microsoft Windows Network (if you don’t see Entire Network, right click My Network Places, then Explore)
    • See workgroups listed under Microsoft Windows Network
      • If more then one workgroup: workgroups names on computers are not identical. Go fix.
      • If only one workgroup, expand it. Verify every computer is listed by the name you assigned it
    If the test above succeeds on each computer, turn on firewalls, reboot all computers. Repeat the test (with firewalls now on). If a computer fails now, you have a firewall problem. Otherwise, you can continue to Files and Printer Sharing, Part 2
    Another approach (if you’re still having failures) is to repeat the test but this time start with just two computers. Add a computer incrementally to help isolate the problem to specific machines.
    • Power down all computers. Then only power up one computer
    • When Windows desktop appears you can start one additional computer and test they are ok before starting / testing with another
  10. TheGr8Schlotzky

    TheGr8Schlotzky TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 27

    Thanks for that last writeup! It appears it was multiple problems with multiple machines. There were two separate workgroups and for whatever reason, I couldn't access any of the other computers in the other workgroup that the computer was a part of. I'm going to reconfigure all computers to ensure no future problems and eliminate the other workgroup (which I wasn't aware of in the first place). The workgroup problem in conjunction with some smaller configuration discrepencies fixed the problem. Thanks again!
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...