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Network strangely stops functioning correctly

I have a home network that has been working perfectly for well over one year. Suddenly, it has stopped working properly and I don't have a clue why.

Here is the network:
1. Computer 1 with XP Home.
2. Computer 2 with Linux with Samba.

About two weeks ago, I added temporarily another Computer 3 with XP Home.

The two XP systems could share files with each other, and the Samba server was visible from both.

The problem: yesterday, Computer 1 can no longer see the Samba server. Also, it gives an error when trying to access the Workgroup (that is, click "Entire Network", click "Microsoft Windows Network", click "Workgroup"--gives "Workgoup is not accessible. You might not have permission ..." error message).

However, computer 3 can still see the Samba server, and computer 1 and 3 can still see each other. In addition, Computer 1 can still ping the Samba server on Computer 2.

Because of these last results, it is proven that networking is working, and the Samba server is still configured properly because Computer 3 can access it.

Any ideas on how to recover the ability to access the Workgroup and the Samba server from Computer 1?
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jasimon9
Asked:
jasimon9
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1 Solution
 
anupnellipCommented:
just change the workgroup name to some other name & change it back again after a restart . This eill usually set the problem right .
 Also make sure that the netlogon service is runing . POst any errors you get in your event log .
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jasimon9Author Commented:
I have tried both suggestions but I still get the same result.

Here is some additional information: when this problem first appeared, the error message described in my question appeared when I clicked on the "Workgroup" workgroup.

Later (after posting the initial question), after restarting all the machines, disconnecting mapped drives and reconnecting, the behavior changed slightly. Then after clicking on the "Workgroup" workgroup, all three machines on the network were displayed, including the Samba server. However, clicking on the Samba server then gave the error message.

Here is another strange twist: the Samba server can multiboot into NT, and I often run it that way during the day as a spare windows workstation. For well over one year when doing this, I have also been able to share drives--that is Computer 2 as a Windows workstation is visible from Computer 1 (and Computer 3), and both Computer 1 and 3 are visible from Computer 2.

However, when booted as a Windows workstation, computer 2 is still not visible from Computer 1 (giving the same error message), but is still visible from Computer 3 and can see Computer 1.

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jasimon9Author Commented:
I have solved the immediate issue, but not the mystery, and will still award points for the proper understanding of what is going on.

In MS knowledge base article 301030 "You Cannot Access Shared Files and Folders or Browse Computers in the Workgroup" there is some explanation, which shed some light. I tried the steps indicated in the article (1. Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP; 2. Start the Computer Browser Service) on BOTH XP machines, as they were not enabled on Computer 3, as it is a new machine which will only be here temporarily while I configure it.

It still did not work, but got me thinking. There was a power failure earlier in the day when the workgroup access problem first showed up. So I am thinking that the exact network configuration that was created as I added Computer 3 to the running network was somehow not reproduced after a cold start of all hardware.

My next step was to simply power off Computer 3. After this step, Computer 1 can once again see Computer 2 when running as the Samba server. So I am back in business, but the mystery of what happened and how to control it is not yet solved.

My next step will be to power up Computer 3 and see what happens.

Depending upon what happens, I may revert some of the changes I have made: 1. Revert "Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP" to "Default" to get the setting from the DHCP server (speculation: this may have been affected by the power cycling), 2. Disable Computer Browser service (speculation: this may be needed on one system with two XP systems in the network to recover after a power failure); 3. Disable NetLogon (apparently not needed at all because I am not running in a domain).

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jasimon9Author Commented:
More information: in response to the request from anupnellip, here is the event log info, which appears helpful:

anupnellip

Warning:
The browser was unable to retrieve a list of servers from the browser master \\BAREBONES on the network \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_{8FB1E218-B92F-40D7-AC60-A54E518D7E43}. The data is the error code.

Error:
The browser service has failed to retrieve the backup list too many times on transport \Device\NetBT_Tcpip_{8FB1E218-B92F-40D7-AC60-A54E518D7E43}. The backup browser is stopping.

Note: BAREBONES is the name of the Samba server.
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jasimon9Author Commented:
Here is yet additional information, which should allow an explanation:

Due to problems in my ISP, unrelated to this question, I have had to power cycle all the computers yesterday. When the computers come back up, the same inability to access the shares on the other systems occurs. The workaround is that Computer 3 cannot be powered up while Computer 1 and Computer 2 and starting.

If Computer 1 and 2 are rebooted while Computer 3 is off, the network comes up normally. Then Computer 3 can be turned on and all computers will have the expected peer-to-peer access.

Both Computer 1 and 3 are XP Home; Computer 2 can boot either Linux or NT.
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jasimon9Author Commented:
The immediate fix for the problem is to power off computer 3. Then everything works normally. Computer 3 is just here temporarily, so it this is not a problem that will continue.

Since there is no satisfactory explanation, I am going to request this question be closed.

However, I expect to face the same problem when we do need to add another XP system, so a real solution is still desirable.
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GhostModCommented:
PAQd, 500 points refunded.

GhostMod
Community Support Moderator
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