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One computer on a network not accessible to any others - why?

Posted on 2007-11-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-22
I have a network of 8 machines.  All are new Dells.  All are running Windows XP Home.  One machine on the network (the last one I installed and the newest) is unable to access or be accessed by the other machines on the network.  As far as I can tell, all are running the same software with the same settings.  All machines are connected to the same router.  All machines (including the one I'm having a problem with) access the Internet just fine.  The problem network "sees" the Workgroup, but when I click on the Workgroup name, it gives me the message "[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 available."

If I try to access this problem machine from another, I get the message "\\[machine name] 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 network path is not found."

All users on all machines are at the Computer Administrator level.

All machines are running Norton Internet Security.  All machines have the network as a "Trusted network".  Turning the firewall on and off makes no difference to this problem.

Any help is most appreciated - this is driving me nuts!
Question by:etwod
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Expert Comment

ID: 20283593
Is the windows firewall turned off?

Also, check to see if simple file sharing is turned on (Windows Explorer - Tools - Folder Options... - View tab - Advanced Settings).

Author Comment

ID: 20283615
One clarification; I wrote "The problem network "sees" the Workgroup, but when I click on the Workgroup name, it gives me the message...".  I meant the "problem computer", not the "problem network".  I'm trying to figure out how to get this machine to behave like all of the others on the network.

Author Comment

ID: 20283679
Yes, the Windows Firewall is turned off.  On Windows XP Home (which is what all of these machines have), there is no "Simple File Sharing" option - it's only on XP Pro (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/304040).
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LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 20284773
Windows XP Home Edition allows a maximum of 5 other computers to connect to its shared resources simultaneously.  Could you be running into this limitation??

Author Comment

ID: 20285845
Oh wow, I didn't know this.  I went to the Microsoft website and looked and it looks like you're right.

I won't be back into the office until Friday - I'll set up a few of the computers into a different workgroup and see if that solves that problem.  Creating two workgroups will create a different problem, but at least I'll know what's going on.  We have some XP Professional licenses floating around - maybe we'll have to upgrade to that...

Thanks very much for this information - I'll be back to post (and hopefully award you the 500 points) on Friday.
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 20286225
As RDAdams stated XP home has a 5 connection limit, as XPpro and Win2000 have 10 connection limits, however your error message does not indicate that is the problem. If too many connections is the issue the message would be more like; No more connections can be made to this remote computer at this time because there are already as many connections as the computer can accept.

Also breaking the computers into different workgroups will not solve the problem. Connections are considered to be devices simultaneously connecting to shared resources on one PC, such as connecting to file shares or printers.

Can one machine ping the other or visa-versa?
Have you created matching user accounts on all machines (exact same user name and password, and not blank)?
Is file and print sharing enabled on the network adapter?
LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 20295588
Check MAC addresses on each machine's NIC. I have had two NICs with the same MAC, even though it is rare, it happens. This will definitely mess things up. A bad NIC can also cause such weird behaviour but having had this same problem twice in my career, same MAC or weak/flakey NIC card, check each MAC and compare.

One thought, if there is a duplicate MAC address, the PC you are focused on can be seen when the other 'good' PC, with the same MAC is off line.

Might help. Something to look into.


Author Comment

ID: 20301937
Finally got back into the office today - thanks, everyone, for the suggestions.  Unfortunately, I'm still stuck with the same problem.

I have no duplicate MAC addresses - checked all 8 machines.  However, when doing so, I noticed that the Node Type on the 7 machines that could see each other was "Unknown".  On the problem machine, it was "Hybrid".  I looked up how to change this and changed the bad machine to "Unknown" also - just so they would all be the same, and rebooted - still the same problem.  Should this setting be something else?

From the problem machine, I can successfully ping all the others.  However, none of the other 7 can successfully ping this problem machine - I get timeout errors.

I notice that, on the problem machine, I cannot do an ipconfig /release or ipconfig /renew - I get the error message "The operation failed as no adapter is in the state permissible for this operation."  Maybe I just have a wierd adapter?  But it accesses the Internet just fine.  Anyway, maybe it's a clue.

I have double-checked - file and print sharing is enabled (via the Network Setup Wizard - once I ran this I had to turn off the Windows Firewall again).  Is there another place to enable this / check this?

Thanks everyone, again, for the help.

Also, RobWill, why do I need duplicate accounts on each machine?
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 20302316
>>"The operation failed as no adapter is in the state permissible for this operation"
Usually indicates the network adapter has been assigned a static IP, rather than using DHCP. If this is not the case, this and the issues you are having may indicate corruption in the network adapter drivers. Try updating the drivers, un-installing and reinstalling, or rebuilding the TCP/IP stack completely. The later is done by running at a command line (DOS window):
netsh  int  ip  reset  c:\reset.txt

>>"file and print sharing .........  Is there another place to enable this / check this"
Control panel | Network connections | right click on the network adapter and choose properties | File and print sharing option will be in the open window

>>"Also, RobWill, why do I need duplicate accounts on each machine?"
Not duplicate accounts but the same account on both machines so that you have permission to access the shared resource.

Author Comment

ID: 20302645
RobWill - Actually yes, I do not have DHCP - we just had too many problems with it in the past (it's difficult for me to get to the router and modem to reboot them - I found it easier to just give every machine their own IP address).  I didn't know that would preclude those ipconfig options - but on thinking about it, I can see why.  Sorry for the red herring...

The network adapter doesn't show up in the Network connections - just the "Local area network" shows.  When I click properties on that, I get the window with four options, one of them being "File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks".  It's checked.

I don't have the same account on any of the 8 machines (every one has a unique Computer Administrator level account).  But all of them can access a shared folder on any other machine (which is all I need) EXCEPT for this problem machine.
LVL 77

Accepted Solution

Rob Williams earned 2000 total points
ID: 20304890
>>"The network adapter doesn't show up in the Network connections - just the "Local area network" shows. "
That is correct, "Local area network" is the named assigned to your network adapter by windows.

>>"I don't have the same account on any of the 8 machines "
Sorry that is fine, I forgot you have XPhome which uses "simple file sharing" unlike Win2000 & generally XPPro.

Are you certain there are no software firewalls running on the problem machine? Possibly McAfee or Symantec security suite, Windows Live One Care, Zone Alarm, or anything similar?

Author Comment

ID: 20306157
RobWill, yes I do have a firewall on the "Problem" machine (as I do all the others).  I'm running Norton Internet Security 2007.  On all machines, the wired network we have has been classified as a "Trusted Network".  None of the machines are running the Windows Firewall, only the Norton one.
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 20306342
Sounds to me like the Norton Firewall is still blocking access somehow. Is it possible to temporarily disable as a test?

Expert Comment

ID: 20962190
Forced accept.

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