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Cannot map to a network folder

Posted on 2006-06-12
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Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Hello experts

This one has me tearing my hair out.  

The machine has XP Pro SPT with all the updates current.  I need to map to two folders on another machine in the workgroup.  Sometimes I can see all the PC's in the workgroup but no files or folders on the machines.  Sometimes I can only see the local machine.  I've tried mapping from start> run> \\servername\filename and I get the message that the path cannot be found.  I've turned off Norton, made sure the Windows Firewall is turned off, etc.  I even ran the recovery disks and still get the same results.  I can go to other machines in the network and they map just fine both from Windows and from the command lines.  I'd like to know what else I can try.

PLEASE offer suggestions!!!

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Question by:thedslguy
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 16891294
Hi thedslguy,

Sounds like you have a dodgy network connection in there somewhere.

Can you ping the server by name?
Can you ping the server by IP?

The fact that you say it SOMETIMES works makes me think that there is a faulty cable somewhere - I would be trying that first.  Plus, it seems like you know what you are doing and have done all you can software wise.

So yeah, change cable, change network port, change network card - you could also change IP address if they are statically assigned, but I doubt that is the issue at all.

Other than that, does it happen regularly, or is it seemingly random?  Randomness suggests hardware fault, again.

Hope that helps,

-red
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Expert Comment

by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 16891309
hmm at the times when you can't see the shares, are you able to get a consisten ping result? when the issue is happening, are you able to access the machines root \\machinename     ??
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by:thedslguy
ID: 16891424
redseatechnologies:  

the cable is fine.  I can access the network just fine even when this is happening.  

Please note, I didn;t sayd it sometimes works.  I said I can sometimes see the other PC's in the workgroup, but never can access them or their files.  Even when I can't see the other PC's I can access the network.

I'll explain:

There are programs and files on the server.  I can access those files and run those programs anytime.  Also I can always access the internet.  

The trouble is just with mapping.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jay_Jay70:

Yes I can consistently ping the machine that has the files.  I can't ever get root \\machinename to work.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 16891438
How many other machines are there in the network?

More specifically, how many other machines are also trying to access the share on the workstation in question.

WinXP is limited by the amount of simultaneous connections it can support - just want to rule that out!

-red
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by:thedslguy
ID: 16891453
red

There are probably 16 machines in the workgroup; 36 machines in the entire network in various workgroups and subnets.  There are a total of 4 machines accessing the files now.  This will be the 5th and probably final machine.

thedslguy
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 16891475
OK, how many shares are each machine connecting to on this workstation?  more than 1??

AFAIK, it is concurrent connections, it doesnt matter if those connections come from <10 machines.

I will confirm that now...
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 16891507
I haven't got microsoft confirmation about 1 computer creating more than 1 connection - but I am confident it is correct (although it may not be the issue)

Check the event log of the 'server' workstation and see if there is anything about it there

-red
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 16891533
red is correct, xp has a limit of 10 concurrent connections

with that many machines in your workgroup, i would highly reccomend looking at a server and domain environment
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by:thedslguy
ID: 16891546
This machine has 2 shared folders on the network.  The other 4 machines can all access those two shares consistently with no difficulty.  

See why this has me pulling out my hair??  I mean there isn't a good reason for it not to work.  But it doesn't.  I know I'm overlooking something simple, I just can't figure it out.

I'll check the event log tomorrow.  I can't get back in the building now.
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 16891561
If it were concurrent connections, I would expect it would randomly float around to all the machines...

Can you browse to this workstation by IP address?

Can you compare the IPCONFIG /all between the dodgy workstation and another working one?

"I suppose a format is out of the question?"

-red
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by:thedslguy
ID: 16896200
red:

I'm willing to format but I'm not sure that will solve the problem.  I took the machine to my office and stuck it in my network.  It saw all my open shares right away with no special configuration.

I'm going to cut the larger workgroup up into some smaller and more organized workgroups.  Would it help to assign specific addresses and create smaller subnets?

Jay_Jay:

We're replaceing the server next month so that's a consideration.  I'll do some looking at how to get that set up.  

In the meantime do you think the smaller workgroups and subnets will help?

Thanks

thedslguy
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 16897998
OK, this is all information that helps.

It still seems like XPs restricted concurrent connections fits in there - have you checked the event log of the "server"?

-red
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by:thedslguy
ID: 16898300
I'm thinking that, too.

I was in the store today but on a different issue and didn’t get to even look at the "server"  I'm out of town now until Thursday but I'll check the log then and let you know what I find.

This weekend I'll cut up the workgroups and create subnets.

Let you know what I find then

Thanks

thedslguy
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by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 16898595
might be worth a look at for sure, i hadnt thought of it as i primarily work in Domain environments but certainly worth a play, damn xp!

if you need help with domain config let us know
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by:thedslguy
ID: 16980443
Well, I apologize for the hiatus.  I was dealing with a much more serious situation.  Now things are back to normal and I can now map to the folders!!

Here's what I found:

There are two pc's in the network with fixed addresses.  One is 10.100.100.5 and the other is 10.100.100.105.  The .105 unit took a power spike (someone took the UPS and used it on another device *damn*).   In the process of changing the power supply I pulled the network cable out of the Ethernet port, damaging it.  SO even thought it was back up and running after I replaced the power supply it was out of the network.  

While that machine was "offline" so to speak I was fooling with the problem I was addressing here.  I found the fixed address and thought I'd remove that and see what happened



Well I apologize for the hiatus.  I was working on a much more serious situation and didn't have time to address this until this weekend.  I did get it to map, but only when Norton Firewall is disabled first.

Here's the scenario:


I was apparently unable to map because the host machine had a fixed address.  When I changed to property of the connection to DHCP, on the host machine, I could map to it.  But only if disable Norton Internet Security.  So this is what it now looks like:

If I disable Norton I can connect.  then after I enable I can still connect.  But if I go back to the machine a while later (15 or 20 minutes) It errors out.  If I disable Norton again I can connect again.  Then re-enabling Norton allows a connection.  But after 15 or 20 minutes it disconnects again until I disable Norton again.

this is actually a different scenario than the original question so I'll defer to the more experienced of you with EE.  Should I close this question and open a different one?  If I can keep this one going I will and aware points accordingly when I have a solution.

So I'd like a solution and an answer.

Thanks all

thedslguy
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by:thedslguy
ID: 16980448
Oops............  I blew that post..  Please ignore it.  This is what I thought I was posting:





Well, I apologize for the hiatus.  I was dealing with a much more serious situation.  Now things are back to normal and I can now map to the folders!!

Here's what I found:

There are two pc's in the network with fixed addresses.  One is 10.100.100.5 and the other is 10.100.100.105.  The .105 unit took a power spike (someone took the UPS and used it on another device *damn*).   In the process of changing the power supply I pulled the network cable out of the Ethernet port, damaging it.  SO even thought it was back up and running after I replaced the power supply it was out of the network.  

While that machine was "offline" so to speak I was fooling with the problem I was addressing here.  I found the fixed address and thought I'd remove that and see what happened



Well I apologize for the hiatus.  I was working on a much more serious situation and didn't have time to address this until this weekend.  I did get it to map, but only when Norton Firewall is disabled first.

Here's the scenario:


I was apparently unable to map because the host machine had a fixed address.  When I changed to property of the connection to DHCP, on the host machine, I could map to it.  But only if disable Norton Internet Security.  So this is what it now looks like:

If I disable Norton I can connect.  then after I enable I can still connect.  But if I go back to the machine a while later (15 or 20 minutes) It errors out.  If I disable Norton again I can connect again.  Then re-enabling Norton allows a connection.  But after 15 or 20 minutes it disconnects again until I disable Norton again.

this is actually a different scenario than the original question so I'll defer to the more experienced of you with EE.  Should I close this question and open a different one?  If I can keep this one going I will and aware points accordingly when I have a solution.

So I'd like a solution and an answer.

Thanks all

thedslguy
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Expert Comment

by:redseatechnologies
ID: 16980782
Hi thedslguy,

This is still kind-of the same question, you cant map to a network folder - you just know more about it now.  I am happy for this to stay open and just divert a little (it would not be the first time!)

Is there a way to let norton firewall accept file and print sharing?

Failing that, uninstall it - you can use the windows firewall

Software firewalls on internal machines acting as servers - or worse yet, actual servers - is never going to work out well, it is labour intensive to manage, and should be avoided like a red hot poker!

-red
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by:thedslguy
ID: 16981186
Red

It's not on the machine acting as the server, it's the machine that's trying to access.  

I'll look tomorrow and see if I can configure file sharing.

Thanks for the tip.

thedslguy
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 16981292
So, the client machine has norton security on it, and with that enabled it cannot access the remote share

funky.

there should be either a way to enable all outbound traffic on the norton firewall - if you leave it disabled, does it continue to work?

if you MUST have it installed, i would reinstall it - or patch it to the latest - or both...

-red
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by:thedslguy
ID: 17180451
Well, here's the latest:

The machine in question now connects to the mapped locations with no difficulty.  Nothing changed.  I just tried it again one day and it worked.  Go figger.

But now I'm having the same problem on another machine.  I've established a new share and I can't see it from the other machine.

I'll elaborate:  It's a new machine in the network.  I created a new workgroup of 2 machines.  Both have XP Pro.  Both have NIS 2006.  When I disable NIS I can see all the workgroups from either machine.  But I can only see the machine I'm on when I expand the workgroup.   When Norton is enabled I can only see both machines (no other workgroups) but cannot access any files on the other machine.  These are the same symptoms I was having when I first asked this question.

Would a separate machine strictly as a file server correct this?  

Thanks

thedslguy
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Accepted Solution

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redseatechnologies earned 500 total points
ID: 17180478
>> Would a separate machine strictly as a file server correct this?

Yes.  For a few reasons.

1. You wouldnt install NIS on the server
2. You wouldnt have problems with 10 concurrent connections as with XP Pro
3. You would be able to have greater control of permissions by using a domain instead of a workgroup

I still think you could solve this current problem without using a file server, but there is no telling how long that would take.  I hate NIS on networked computers - protect yourself at the gateway and enforce strict policies on external laptops/software and you should never need it.

-red
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by:thedslguy
ID: 17180625
red

Do you mean a file server in a domain?  Or would it help in hte current environment?

thedslguy
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17180740
If you are going to go to the effort of having a dedicated file server, then spend the extra money and buy windows 2003 server

If you are going to go to the cost of buying windows 2003 server then you should create a domain

-red
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by:thedslguy
ID: 17180975
Thanks, red.

However here is the deal:

Windows Server 2003 is $600+.  Then there's the CAL's.  AND the additional maintenace of a domain.  I have a box that I can use to run Windows XP Pro ($185 and no CAL's) or Red Hat Server ($100 or so and no CAL's).  If it solves my problem it seems more sensible.  The point is it solves the problem.

It's the same effort to install an OS on a machine.  If that effort results in needing even more effort and then requires more maintenance, why woud I prefer that solution?

I'm not thinking cheap, butg I'm trying to think practical.

Thanks for the input.
thedslguy
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by:thedslguy
ID: 17180986
I'm going to try a Linux server of some sort and see how that works in the current multi-Workgroup environment.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thanks again

thedslguy
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17181195
>> I have a box that I can use to run Windows XP Pro ($185 and no CAL's)

Won't work, you are limited to 10 concurrent connections

If you dont want to spend money, go linux - you dont even need to spend any money if you dont want.  Buy a linux mag and use the free distro on that - or go to www.linux.org and download any flavour you want.

As for domains being more difficult to administer or maintain - I disagree for oh so many reasons.  That is the point of domains, they are easier than workgroups (just more expensive)

However, there will be configuration time involved, which will be a pain.  You will have to join all workstations to the domain and then reconfigure the users desktop profiles.  Once that is done, what maintenance and administration do you think there is?

Either way, good luck with the linux solution - if you are going that path because it will be easier to maintain and administer, then (Dislaimer: My opinion) you are mistaken, linux is not as straight forward as MS - i am even tempted to remove the disclaimer on that, i doubt the linux guys would argue...

-red
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by:thedslguy
ID: 17348058
My apologies for letting this sit for so long.  

I've consultetd with a couple of network guru's here locally who have said pretty much the samt thing as the adive I've gotten here:  GET A DOMAIN SERVER!!!

The one difference, I guess is that they recommend we bite the bullet and get Windows along with the necessary CALS.

Red, you've been saying that from the beginning, so I'm going to award you the points, along with my thanks for not only the advice, but the patience yku showed as I made my way through this.

I hope we get to work together again
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by:redseatechnologies
ID: 17349185
Thanks thedslguy,

I hope we work together again as well, feel free to email me a link to another question as and when you ask one!

-red
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