'Workgroup is not accessible' error when trying to get the list of available machines in workgroup

Posted on 2004-10-15
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hi all,

I have the following problem:
I have a small home network of 2 machines. I have a similar problem on both machines in my network - When I try to view the list of workgroup computers, I get the following error:
" Workgroup is not accessible. You might not have permission to use this network 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"

I wnat to stress out that I get this error when I click in the "View Workgroup computers" link in "my network places". I know that a common problem is that after you get teh list of all computers you cannot access them, but I fail a step before that - I don't even get any list.

Some relevant details:
* Both computers run WinXP Pro. Computer A has SP2, and computer B has SP1
* On both computers I work with the same user (Administrator) and the same password
* Both computer have Zone alarm Pro installed (the home network is in the trusted zone, and the DSL connection on computer A is in the internet zone)
* on both computers windows Firewall is disabled.
* NetBios over TCP/IP was enabled on both computers
* Computer Browser service is running on both computers
* Both computers can ping each other
* Computer A is a Windows ICS gateway, and computer B browses the Web through computer B - This works fine.

I'd be gratefull (lifetime grateful) to the one who solves this for me. My next step is to re-install XP on both machines, and I would really like to aviod this.

Thank you all in advance,
Question by:EladGanot
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LVL 20

Assisted Solution

Debsyl99 earned 50 total points
ID: 12319391
Make sure both machines have ip's in the same subnet ie,, then try adding your pc details in the lmhosts file as this may assist with resolution. Look for lmhosts.sam (sample file) here:


Edit it with notepad, add the following entry for PC2, add PC2's details on PC1


Save the hosts file as lmhosts (no extension - not .sam, not .txt)

See if that helps,

Deb :))

Author Comment

ID: 12319893
Thanks fo the quick reply :-)

I followed yoursuggestion, but for some reason I can now ping PC1 from PC2 but not vice versa. PC1 is and is the ICS gateway. PC2 was getting a dynamic IP so far. Both could ping each other. Now PC2 has a fixed IP, and can still ping PC1, but PC1 cannot ping it back...

Author Comment

ID: 12319952
Also, I lost the ability to surf the web on PC2 (via PC1) :-(
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 12319989
Ok - undo the hosts file fix - it's obviously made things worse!!! Just delete the entries from both hosts files for the pc names and addresses, or delete the hosts files themselves. I'll have a look for further info (am a domain admin).

You'll get more posts no doubt, but have you tried disabling simple file sharing?

Deb :))

Accepted Solution

georgecooldude earned 400 total points
ID: 12320066
Double Check windows firewall (windows SP2 seems to turn it back on sometimes- at least with my machines). And also disable your zonealarm firewall just for testing. then you can enable it.

OK, now just go over and give your PC new IP's. Overwrite what is there. Trust me will work even if it seems dumb. ;-) I use it as a short cut alot. Make sure you run over it, it may seem like a waste of 5mins but I spent 10mins writing this out. ;-)

I am assuming PC1 is the master PC that connects to the internet. PC2 is going to be the slave PC.

PC 1.
IP =
Subnet =
Gateway = Empty

PC 2.
IP =
Subnet =
Gateway =  - the IP of your master PC.

Now they should ping and as long as internet connection sharing is enabled that should work too.

Go to control panel, system, double click the computer name tab. where it says "to rename this computer to join domain/workgroup" click the change tab. Make the workgroup as "WORKGROUP" without quotes.

Got to my network places, browse! bingo! you should see your PC's.
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Author Comment

ID: 12320519
I'm willing to invest much more than 10 minutes in order to solve this :-)

Thanks for the advise. I can only continue worknig on this problem tomorrow, so I'll try that first thing tomorrow.

Deb - simple file sharing was disabled when the problem started. I enabled it since as part of my tries to find a solution, but I will disable it again tomorrow.


Assisted Solution

abu_deep earned 50 total points
ID: 12326854
it seems that DNS / WINS issues so here is what the greatest  "lrmoore" post in a question similar to yours…..

Troubleshooting the Microsoft Computer Browser Service;en-us;188305;en-us;136712;en-us;102878


Problems with workgroup networking in XP:;en-us;Q308007

Problems seeing workgroups when connected to a router:;en-us;Q315978

How to Write an LMHOSTS File for Domain Validation and Other Name Resolution Issues 

Windows 2000 server with Active Directory does'nt use NETBIOS for name resolution.

Windows 2000 DNS - Diagnosing Name Resolution Problems
FQDN = Fully Qualified Domain Name

Windows 2000 DNS - Solving other common DNS problems

Ping Utility Takes a Long Time to Return Results with NetBIOS Name;en-us;267963

NetBIOS over TCP/IP Name Resolution and WINS;EN-US;119493


Author Comment

ID: 12329471
Hi again,

Tried georgecooldude's advise, and it solved the original problem I had. I can now see both computers from each other, can ping them, browse theie files etc. (The network is set up as in georgecooldude's post).

The problem now, is that PC2 cannot surf the web via PC1 anymore :-(
When I look at the network connections of PC2, I see the Internet connection on PC1 as available and connecterd, but when I try to use any web application I fail.

Any ideas?

Thanks again,

Author Comment

ID: 12329969
Sorry - ICS problem was due to bad ZA settings. Everything works fine now.

Thanks you all!

Expert Comment

ID: 12330158

Glad your problem is fixed.


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