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XP Pro network suddenly not working

I have an XP network that has worked perfectly using a seperate network card or connection for each computer. The IP address for each connection is set to Obtain Automatically and has worked fine. Each connection, on either end, says it is connected. I have changed nothing. And yet, just now, the networked computers cannot access the hard drives on the main computers. "An error occurred. The network path was not found. The connection has not been restored.".

Help!!!

I set this up myself, and it is pretty easy to maintain, but some setting has changed or been changed, that I am not aware of. All NIC cards are working, all cables have been replugged, some NIC cards have been uninstalled and reinstalled, the little network symbol on the taskbar says everything is connected on both ends but i get nothing.

Any ideas are appreciated as where to start looking. I am used to managing the same network on W2K and know my way around a little better on that OS. When I upgraded evrything to XP Pro, it all connected fine, and this is the first time this has happened.

How do i check user permissions on XP Pro? The main computer does not show up when I "Search for Computers" in My network Places like it used to. Neither does it show when I try to Map Network Drive from My Computer.
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RogerBeck
Asked:
RogerBeck
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3 Solutions
 
Jay_Jay70Commented:
did you ever have any routing setup between the two cards?

any new updates setup? windows firewall turned off on all xp machines?
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
did you ever have any routing setup between the two cards?

No.  There is a DSL setup for all of the same computers and it uses a router and works fine, but uses different cards and connections, dont see how it could affect the LAN.  The main box was redone with XP Pro only 2-3 months ago at most.  

any new updates setup?

Not on the main computer, that i remember in recent memory, but it is set to update automatically, not sure if it is with or without my permission, so it may have been done while i was asleep.  One of the networked computers did a big 41 step Windows security update today, dont remember if it was beofre or after I noticed the networking problem, but it is on a networked box, not the main box that is having problems.  

windows firewall turned off on all xp machines?

Yes, but only becaseu i have Panda Antivirus.  Everything always worked with W2K and XP Pro with and without the Windows Firewall turned on or off.  I had problems downloading or connecting DSL, but not the LAN.

I work so much, and do so many program updates, installs, uninstalls, downloads, etc on 4 computers, that i cant rely on memory to know what specific update or install happened just before the disconnect happened.  

I need to appoach this from the beginning, check the user Permission settings, which i cant find.

Lets assume that it is a Windows update that is causing the problem.  Now what do we do?
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
Funny thing, i checked Windows Firewall and in theSecurity Center it says it is turned on, but when i click on the sub menu for Firewall settings, it says it is turned off.  ???

Havent recently changed this setting, if it was changed then windows changed it.
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
I was looking at recent updates and Windows media Player 10 was indeed installed today.  But I dont know if it was before or after the problem.  let me uninstall Media Player 10 and see what happens.
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
there were 5 Windows security updates on the 16th, but the problem happened today.  Windows media Player 10 was updates on the main and networked computers today on 3 boxes.  I "uninstalled" Media Player 10 by unchecking the box in Add/Remove Windows Cmponents, but as soon as you play an MP3 file, it reinsalls it, so it is not really removed.  But still, after "removing" Media Player 10 i tried reconnecting and it did not work.
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
media player shouldnt affect you   however the secity centre is a hunk of rubbish  i woiuld disable that service

netbios is configured on all machines yes?
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
how often do you restart the macines? since the last set of updates?
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
what is netbios and how do i check?  have seen it but not familiar with it.  Also, checking the Networking compnent in Windows components it is checked but also grayed out.  havent touched this setting ever.

however the secity centre is a hunk of rubbish

Agreed, all anyone ever needs is Panda! ;+)
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
machine restarted several times today after checking disk, updates, checking network settings etc.
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
Yes, it is SP2 ;+)
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
it has to be something simple, suggest some setting i shoud check.
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
umm simple things..

check that the computer browser service is running on all machines

disable ALL firewalls

reinstall file and print sharing - under lan properties uncheck f & p sharing  reboot and re-enable

disable simple file sharing

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Jay_Jay70Commented:
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
:)  and if you wish to understand Netbios, read the other article on the site:

http://65.24.134.81/KipSolutions/NetBios/netbios.htm

I would suggest you start simple, like trying to ping the server's NIC..  Power down all devices, including your switch / router, and reboot..  

Are you running a workgroup, or a domain?
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
You are the one and only main man.  Excellent link.  All computers must belong to the same workgroup. I knew that but diditn know how to fix it or check it.   Networked computers had belonged to the MSHOME workgroup and the main computer was on the WORKGROUP workgroup.  I could find the networked computers before by searching for them in "Search for Computers . . ." in My network Places, but not in "Map Network Dive" becasue they werent mapped in the correct network.  12 hours later the problem is solved when do i get my XP Pro Networking Consultant Certification?

Thanks!  You Aussies make a great Database program called Legrand CRM that I use also.
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
haha im glad mate, i thought there were no changes so i didnt even bother with no workgroup :) glad your all good now, havent heard of that Legend CRM product, but if its aussie.... Must be good!!!

all the best mate

oh and for the record that site that i posted was Fatal_Exceptions :)

Hello FE :)
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
*grin*  Hello, Jay!
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jasfoutCommented:
you asked about user permissions and i didnt see an answer so
>Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Local Security Policy
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
>Control Panel>Administrative Tools>Local Security Policy

It doesnt look like the "Network Permissions for Dummies" options that i am used to on W2K but it wasnt the problem so i dont have to fool with it for now.

But now that the network and Workgroups are set up properly, Panda Antivirus Firewall is interferring with the connection.   It didnt before, somehow, when the networked computers were on a different workgroup.  There is an advanced setting tab for LAN connectiosn in Panda that can be allowed but it is still blocking.  if i turn the panda firewall off the connetions work fine.  I know this is now a Panda issue but this seems like a prettycommon problem, using a firewall with LAN connections.

Any info on this?

thanks, Roger  
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jasfoutCommented:
unblock portts in panda for file and printer sharing

UDP 137,138,445 and TCP 139, 445
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
It doesnt have those number options.  Just a list of internet connections that are allowed and a list of internet/LAN connections and you have to choose which type of connection it is, Internet or LAN for it to work properly.  

"This list shows the network adaptors detected on your PC.  For certain operating system services to operate correctly (such as shared folders) the type of connection of each adaptor must be identified, Internet or LAN."

and i did, they are all LAN except for the Interent connection.

Roger
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Question:  Does a client computer really need an internal, software firewall running, IF the LAN has a good perimeter firewall?

My answer:  No, if you protect your LAN with a good firewall (Sonic or even better, a Cisco PIX), you don't need software firewalls at all...  they only interfere with your internal LAN...    So, I suggest you harden your perimeter, and do without software firewalls completely..  besides the interference, they take up valuable system resources..

Just my humble opinion..  :)

FE
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
this is one of those technical areas that it looked like i couldm't easily set up myself.  I hacvet considered it for a while becasue it looked expensive and Panda has stopped everything for 5 years.  

I have inerent connectiosn on all computers, and so need antivirus/spamware on all of them, including the main computer.  I am not completely clear what a firewall does.  As it is, Panda detects spyware as it comes in to the machine about 10% of the time.  The rest it catches when i scan manually.  I havent seen a real virus in 3 months, just spyware, maybe they quit trying.

You are right, a hardware firewall has always been receommended as the way t go, but this is still just a home-office setup.  So the question is, what does a firewall do that antivirus doesnt do?

Roger  
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
Very different appliances...  Firewalls stop intruders, and you want this setup on your permimeter, just as a castle and a moat...   whereas AV solutions stop Virus (and sometimes Spyware)...  Always run AV locally on your Clients, and if you have a central Email Server (Exchange, for example), run it there too..  

So, Firewall your perimeter, and AV your clients..

Additionally, since you are certainly running a router as your gateway to the WAN (internet), you are already somewhat protected, as you are running private addresses behind the Gateway, whereas the Gateway has the Public IP Address.  It uses NAT to translate internal IP Addresses to external request replies..

Can get a little complicated, but we can help you with this also!

FE
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
You mean hackers?  Come and get it you slackers! ;+)

OK, there are

Virus - teenagers and disgruntled ex-Microsoft employees trying to get a big one - not really a threat anymore unless you dont have good antivrus software or updated windows regularly or use IE6.

spyware - data collecting harmles little bugs -  Panda seems to catch everything, they snoop everyday and i catch them everyday, its like a game.  Not all are caught right away but almost all are caught eventually.

Hackers/security leaks - feared by companies and corporations who set up hardware firewalls and monitor emplyees online useage for porn and gossip.

What did i miss?  What else should a closed minded person like myself need to know about computer security?  Is there something i can buy and plug in and it will work perfectly?
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RogerBeckAuthor Commented:
thanks you guys, you have been extrememly helpfull.

roger
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
pretty sure you covered the majority of it!

glad you are back up and running :)
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Fatal_ExceptionCommented:
*grin*  >>glad you are back up and running<<

and that is the important part of this discussion!
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Jay_Jay70Commented:
true that :) Have a good on FE
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