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Computers do not appear in Network Neighborhood under Win 98

Posted on 2004-10-20
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-10
I know it's an old question but it just hasn't been answered before in a way coherent to me.

We have 4 computers under Win 98 hooked peer to peer via a hub. They all function on the network except for one that sees nothing except itself and of course it is not seen by anything else. Just a straight TCP/IP and Client setup over ethernet used everywhere including the bad node. Previously, no troble for three years. Of course, everything seems OK except it doesn't work. I know PCs but networks I know not as well. So I would appreciate a step by step diagnosis procedure.


Question by:athair
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LVL 79

Expert Comment

ID: 12360264
Do you have NETBEUI enabled on all 4 computers? This will certainly solve the problem, if it's not the network card.
Can you backtrack to anything that changed lately on that PC?
Have you tried getting the latest drivers for the network card for this PC?
Can  you ping other computers on the network? Can other computers ping this PC?

Sometimes network cards just go bad. Try putting in a new one?
LVL 31

Accepted Solution

moorhouselondon earned 1500 total points
ID: 12360289
Do you get a green light on the hub for the trouble pc?
It's not on the Uplink connection of the Hub and the button is in the wrong position?
Try swapping cables.
Check that the TCP IP settings for the network card are set correctly.  Are you using DHCP or are you hardwiring an IP address?
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12360340
By DHCP I mean: on the IP Address tab, does it get an IP address automatically or is an address defined?  What is that address?  What is the address of the other pc's?  What is the subnet mask set to?
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Expert Comment

ID: 12360520
Before trying a new NIC, remove TCP/IP and re-install it by deleting the LAN adapter in Network Neighborhood properties, reboot, re-install (should detect hardware for you and may or may not install all the needed protocols).  Sometimes 98's TCP stack gets corrupted.  Have your 98 disc handy if the .cab files aren't on the drive.

Expert Comment

ID: 12362154
Several things must be in place for NetBios Browsing to work.  Network browsing is the basis of Network Neighborhood.

First, there must be physical layer communication between the computers.  Depending on the protocols that you are using, you can use a variety of diagnostic tools to verify physical layer communication.

At the most basic level, you need to have green “link” lights on at all computers.  If you have a link light on at the computer, also check the networking device (hub/switch) to make sure that there is a link there as well.

A nice networking tool in Win98 is NetDiag.  If I recall, it is part of Win98’s normal install process.  It is also available on http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/techinfo/reskit/tools/existing/netdiag-o.asp

Use Netdiag on one computer, and set it in “server” or “listen” mode.  Then go to the other computer and run it there.  If there is physical layer connectivity, and there is at least one protocol installed that NetDiag can handle (Netbeui or IPX/SPX), then this will help you to verify that the connectivity works.

If NetDiag fails, that means that you either don’t have physical connectivity right, or you don’t have protocols installed correctly.

Next, as we move up the OSI Data Model, we get to the Network section.  We might already have this set up at a basic level, but there are lots of options.  Make sure that you have properly configured Netbios to work on this computer.  Decide what protocol you want to use:

Make sure that you “workgroup” name is set to the same value on all computers.  The Workgroup name should be short and should contain no spaces.  Computer names should also not contain spaces, and should be short for simplicity.

1) NetBEUI – the easiest, but chattiest of all network protocols.  If it’s installed on each of the computers, it should work.  No configuration is required.  You can use it in addition to the TCP/IP that you have installed.

2) IPX/SPX – if installed and NetBEUI is not, then it should also have “Netbios support over IPX” configured with one of the checkboxes in that protocol’s setup.  Again, follow the rules for the workgroup name, above.  No address configuration should be needed for IPX/SPX.  Once IPX/SPX is installed, you should be able to ping between computers using “ping {othercomputername}”

3) TCP/IP – again, if NetBEUI is not installed, make sure that you have Netbios support over TCP/IP configured.  IP requires that the IP addresses be configured.  If you do not have DHCP running to provide you with an address automatically, use the IP Address range – 255 with the subnet mask  Avoid using the addresses 0, 1 and 255, but any of the others are OK.  You should be able to ping between computer IP addresses, but you may not be able to ping by computer name.

You should, at this point, be able to type the command \\{othercomputername} in the Start | Run dialog, and get a list of resources available on the remote computer.  If there are no resources shared by that remote computer, then this command may return an error.  Go to the other computer and share a resource like a folder or a printer.

If this all works, and things aren’t showing up in Network Neighborhood, you have a Network Browsing problem.  There are two possibilities:

1)      The workgroup names on the computers are different, or the computer names are the same.  It may take 10-15 minutes for the computers to fight out who is the “browser master”.
2)      There is a network browse master election problem.  If the computers don’t agree on a browse master after 15 minutes, then you might have to manually select a master browser, and tell all others to NOT attempt to be browse masters… repost if this is the case.

Expert Comment

ID: 12362186
Ah, I just re-read your posting.

I'd look at the workgroup name as the likely culprit.  If they are the same, it's possible that you are using Netbios over TCP/IP on all computers except the bad one.  Make sure that you are using the same protocols on all computers.  Like I said earlier, the simplest way is to install NetBEUI on all of the computers on top of the existing network protocols.

Since you only have 4 computers, I don't think that will be a big deal in terms of wasted bandwidth that the chatter of NeBEUI will create.
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12362722
athair mentioned using TCP/IP.  I assume Netbeui is not present, it's not usually installed as a default these days.  With IP the Workgroup names don't need to tally to be able to do a test using PING.  If using DHCP though you will need to run IPCONFIG to find out the IP address of the pc.  If it's not in the same range as the others then it's likely to be cabling.  I still have a funny feeling about the Hub (I will repeat my previous comment):-

**Check whether the pc having the difficulty is connected to the Port that doubles as the Uplink port.  If it is make sure the Uplink button is in the correct position.**  (or preferably move it to a different port!)
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12362758
Sorry.  amend my sentence

...likely to be cabling or a faulty NIC card or faulty drivers (as suggested by lrmoore et al).
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12362832
Do you know?  Nobody has mentioned the V word yet.  You could have a v-v-virus on this pc, but presumably you've ruled that out and that's why nobody's mentioned it.   Sometimes the antivirus programs interfere with network cards.  I think I got some points recently by suggesting moving the network card to a different PCI slot.

Expert Comment

ID: 12363276
I agree that most people do not install NetBEUI, but by default under all versions of Win98, it is installed.  It may have been uninstalled unintentionally, but the problem is if NeBIOS support over the TCP/IP protocol is not configured, it won't work.

Also, if different protocols are used - like say, IPX/SPX on one computer, NetBEUI on another, and TCP/IP on a third, even if NetBIOS support is installed on all 3, they still won't talk to each other.  They'll all end up in their own little zones, seeing only the computers that are using the same protocol.

So, that's why I recommend, in this small network, to put NetBEUI on all four computers.  It's quick and simple on Win98 to do it.

... and I doubt it's a virus.
LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 12375099
does the 'bad one' work ok when all the pc's are rebooted

this is the usual way out of this situation

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