File Sharing Not Working Though VPN That Is Connected  (2x Win XP Pro)

Posted on 2006-06-13
Last Modified: 2010-04-12
Ok here's what we've got goin on.  Me and My Friend have set up a VPN between our 2 computers for the purpose of sharing files were are working on together. The VPN connects shows he is connected and on his end it says its connected.  But if i go to My Network Places it doesn't show anything about him and if i click on view workgroup computers it doesn't show him either.And Vice versa (He doesn't see me). So i was thinking it just wasn't working till we played a game and used that LAN function of the game not the Online function and it put us in together no problem (It Listed the IP of the VPN not of my router or my internet IP) so i guess thats a good sign.  I just need to know what exactly to do to get us to be able to share Files and Folders as if we were on the same router. Both PCs are using Win xp Pro. File sharing is turned on, on both machines, no firewalls on either machines, they are both on MSHOME group, we even tried turning off all norton antivirus functions (anti virus, Worm protection) so nothing should be blocking any connection. Thanks for taking the time to help me out

Question by:billetwound
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 16899342
Your problem is likely NetBIOS names  (computer names) are not broadcast over most VPN's.
There are numerous ways to resolve this but assuming you do not have your own DNS or WINS server the following 2 options are likely your best bet:
1) Use the IP address (of the computer you are connecting to) when connecting to devices such as;   \\\ShareName   or map a drive at a  command prompt using  
 Net  Use  U:  \\\ShareName
2) An other option is to use the LMHosts file which creates a table of IP's and computer names. LMHosts is located in the Windows directory under c:\Windows (or WINNT)\System32\Drivers\Etc\LMHosts.sam , instructions are included within the file. Any line starting with # is just a comment and is ignored. Open the file with Notepad and add entries for your computers as below;      CompName       #PRE
Hit enter when each line is complete (important), then save the file without a file extension. To be sure there is no extension ,when saving enclose in quotations like "LMHosts". Now when you try to connect to a computer name it should find it as it will search the LMHosts file for the record before connecting.
More details regarding LMHosts file:

Author Comment

ID: 16899383
Okay i read about that before but all the descriptons are rather vague do you use The actual internet IP address, or the one that the VPN connection says they are ( they are completly 2 different numbers) i tried to do that with both numbers but nothing showed up still
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 16899399
Use the actual IP address of the computer you are connecting to.
One problem you can run into is the two networks should use different subnets. For example if you are using 192.168.1.x then the friend should use something like 192.168.2.x. The VPN will look after the fact that the two are on different subnets. It is required for routing, so you may have to change the router's DHCP and LAN configurations. Once done though, if your friend's PC has an IP of then that is the IP you want to connect to, not the WAN/public IP.
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Author Comment

ID: 16908287
Ok so we tried that and still nothing.  added the line "  (<--- His numbers)  timpc   #PRE" to the LMHOSTS file (without the .sam)  and added " (<--My Numbers)  billetwoundstwr  #PRE"  to his file and still we aren't getting anything.  Since that didn't work i also tryed replacing the numbers with the Internet IP's on both of them and got nothing, and then tried the VPN's IP numbers and didn't get anything.

Author Comment

ID: 16908464
And now i went back and looked at the vpn connection and its listing Server ip as and Client IP as, and before it wasn't listing them on my routers setting but like  so i tried typing in \\ in Start/Run and it said "Network Path Not Found".  So as Vice Versa I had him type in \\ and it actually popped up and showed all my shared files.  But when he went to open up one to look deeper in the directory it said "Network Path Not Found" and now it doesn't let him see what he saw the first time.  If i type in either or it shows me all my files and if he types in or it shows him all his stuff but we can't see each others. We went through all extremes to make sure nothing was blocking us out.  Both pc's are exposed to the net (DMZ), all windows/third party firewalls are deactivated, and no antivirus/spam/adware/worm protection are running.
LVL 77

Accepted Solution

Rob Williams earned 500 total points
ID: 16908566
Maybe should start with basics.
-Is the VPN created with the built in Windows VPN?
-Based on last post subnet at one site is 192.168.2.x and the other is 192.168.8.x, correct ?
-Can you ping the LAN IP (not public/WAN)of the remote router?
-Can you ping a PC on the remote network
-From the PC creating the VPN on each site, go to and test for port 1723 to verify it is open.


Author Comment

ID: 16924658
Ok we've got it, we opened the wrong port on the client computer.  We opened 1732 instead of 1723.  They still didn't show up into my network places or the workgroup but we were able to just go to start/run and type the ip's (the VPN's ips) and it popped right up no hesitation. Thank you for your help RobWill.
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 16924693
Ah, that is easy enough to do by mistake. Glad you were able to resolve.
Using IP works well and is common but if you want to work with names try the LMHosts file as suggested above.
Thanks billetwound,

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